There was nothing miraculous about it. I simply switched liquids. Let me explain.
I had an invite to a casual gentlemen’s (gentlemen being used in only the broadest terms) dinner at my brother-in-law’s Friday night. He was baching it for the weekend, and a few of us were gathering to enjoy the pleasures of food and wine. Since Ye Olde Striper Spot was on the way, I figured I’ve give it an hour before I made my way to Kevin’s house.
A cold front had moved through, bringing with it torrential rains and a biting easterly wind. The water was the aforementioned colors, stained, high, and chopped to pieces by the broadside gusts. To make a long story short, I saw one striper landed in 55 minutes of fishing, and that by a spin angler who was bombing casts a ‘way out there.
So, I decided, if I cannot catch stripers this evening, I shall now drink spectacular wine.
First, you need a brief introduction to Kevin. Kevin is passionate about wine the way I’m passionate about fishing. Which is to say it rules his life. I am likewise vino-infected, but only fractionally compared to Kevin. He has a stupid good wine cellar, and the only thing Kevin loves more than his wines is sharing them. Luckily, I am on the A-List.
The first wine we made love to was a 1999 Opus One. I certainly can’t afford it, but it is opulence in a bottle. If you’ve had it, my next sentence will blow you away: It was my least favorite wine of the evening. Of course, that’s like saying Giselle Bundchen isn’t as attractive as Brooklyn Decker. It’s all a matter of personal taste.
Next on the decadence docket was a 1997 Niebaum-Coppola (yes, as in Francis Ford) Rubicon. Utterly spectacular. We all thought that there was just a little more there-there than the Opus. Sorry, Bob and Phillipe.
I have to tell you at this point that I make a Tuscan-style steak that most definitely doesn’t suck. How much does it not suck? One of the guests had told Kevin that he wasn’t coming unless I was going to be manning the grill. (Isn’t that right, Joe?) It’s a simple combination of NY strip and flame and garlic and salt and pepper and olive oil and fresh rosemary and lemon juice. The wine we drank with it was a 2001 Fontodi Flaccianello. Wine Spectator only gave this bottle a 97 — churls — but if there is a more perfect bottle-to-food pairing, I have yet to experience it. The bite of the lemon and the rosemary and the texture of the beef melt seamlessly into the wine as it fills your mouth. I have goose bumps just thinking about it now. Absolutely stunning wine. My favorite of the evening.
Last but not least, a humble little 1998 Ornellaia to go with our pasta and sausage and veal. Since I can’t afford this bottle either, it was wonderful to create the illusion between sips that I was independently wealthy and dining in a private little restaurant in Bolgheri.
I don’t recommend that you drink several glasses of fine red wine and then go fishing. But the other way around — now that’s something I can heartily endorse.