Thursday, May 11, 2006

Like dinner, only better

Mary had something very special she wanted to share, so we called John and Scotty away from the studio to join us. As expected, it was pretty ridiculous.

First, a puréed soup of celery root, leek, and jicama with a phenomenal 1993 Kalin Semillon, then John made unbelievable sashimi from more of that beautiful Kampachi plus a tartare from the trimmings and a ramp and micro-shiso and chives from the deck. (I grilled/smoked the collar for a couple minutes and we had that as an appetizer while the first courses got finished.)

Next came mung bean/ramp gnocchi (the purée from the other night plus eggs and flour) with a ragù of short ribs and tomato. The reds began with a 2004 Black Blend, which is made from the same field as Coturri's Albarello but isn't commercially available. It's darker and stranger than the Albarello, and really good. We moved on to a 1997 Quintarelli Cà del Merlo which was a perfect transition from California to Italy, and also into the main course.

Which was a smoked wild boar roast with braised cabbage, ramp/fiddle head sautée, and grilled maitake plus a drizzle of a short rib demi-glace (hence the sugo for the gnocchi.) For this we opened a 1997 Bricco dell'Uccellone which was pretty mighty Barbera, followed by a 1998 Montiano (better by far than the 1997 we had at Debi's birthday last month) and then a 1999 Barolo Marasco which we all agreed was excellent. It started to rain, so we retreated inside for the treat of the evening, Mary's 1986 Yquem (in 750) with cheeses, truffled foie gras pâté, and membrillo. Simply unbelievable; the flavors are so fused and seamless that it was almost impossible to isolate individual notes. We just sipped in awe.

And then, falling firmly into the "seemed like a good idea at the time" category, we came downstairs and drank a 1993 Heitz Bella Oaks, which I'm pretty sure we liked a lot.

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