15 October, 2007

The '91 private reserve cabernet

I had a four day proposal writing meeting at NASA-Ames outside San Francisco last week. Let's just say it was a lot of work. Late nights and early mornings. When Saturday rolled around and we were still working at 2pm, I couldn't wait for the moment when my little interdisciplinary team parted ways so that I could visit my good friend from graduate school, Lisa. Lisa and her husband Jeff have a gorgeous home in Menlo Park and treated me to one of the best evening respites in my life.

I walked in to see Jeff sauteeing porcini mushrooms for a pizza appetizer complete with taleggio cheese, fresh sage, and shallots, a little truffle oil on top. Instantly a glass of white Rochioli appeared in my hand, before the official home tour. FYI: I love Rochioli. Anyway, Lisa and Jeff are an inspiration for landscaping. These photos are only of the back yard since I was having too good a time to take many pictures

Dinner was here with a fire and candle light.
One gigantic aloe.
I haven't mentioned the best part though, dinner. After we sampled the crunchy perfect pizza, having switched to a black market Napa cabernet blend (black market meaning no label; these bottles come from the "extra" wine not legally sold by wineries; see my Vinify post for more) which was excellent, rare, and fun, we went back to another white (I think it was Australian since we needed something to open for cooking) for the pizza and traditional Venetian salad of asparagus, hard boiled eggs, fresh parsley and hot and sweet peppers from the back yard. Then the main course, Saltimbocca which literally means "to jump in the mouth". Whoa, I can't wait to try this out myself. Just imagine prosciutto wrapped around aged cheese, fresh sage leaves, and a pounded veal tenderloin, lightly seared then served quickly. And, as if i hadn't been overwhelmed by hospitality at this point, Jeff allowed me to decant the 1991 Beringer Private Reserve. A 16 year old Napa Valley Cabernet that was so beautifully smooth and layered with complexity that I had to just admit I was satiated with food wine pleasure. (It's worth noting that not all Beringers are amazing. But the Private Reserve is world class). The wine opened up a bit more while we tore through the saltimbocca, and remained the highlight for me. But let's not forget the pears baked in brandy wine, or was it something else. By this point I was loosing track.

Thank you Lisa, thank you Jeff, for an amazing evening. I am taking notes on your hospitality, cooking, wine choices, and general ease with which you pulled of such a treat.

The morning cup of Peet's coffee. I had two.

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