Happy Father’s Day from currentseams

I hope you had a good one. I certainly did. A little work this morning in the rose garden, then an afternoon watching Number Two son play in a soccer tournament, and finally off to my dad’s house for dinner. Grilled vegetables, a Caesar salad, and some succulent rib eye steaks (rare for me, please) paired with a delicious California cab with a little age on it (Atticus John 2007). After dinner, the traditional Culton men’s cigar (Flor de las Antillas Belicoso for me — outstanding smoke) and a wee drap (18 year old Macallan).

While we were sipping, dad retold the story of how he took me and my friends trout fishing on the Salmon River in the mid 1970s. There were four of us teenagers, and when we got to the river, dad asked us which way we were planning on fishing. We pointed upstream. Dad’s intent was to get some separation from us, and what with all our hormones, adolescent angst, and noise, can you blame him? He headed downstream. Five minutes later, he turned to see us all in a line, closely shadowing him. Can you blame us? We wanted to follow the master angler.

Happy Father’s Day, dad. Thanks for taking me fishing. And thanks for teaching me where trout like to hang out in a river.

Both of these things are old, but in a good way. He who taught me how to fish, his cigar, and his whisky.Image

 

Turning Gray-Green Water Into Red Wine

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.