Thursday, July 10, 2008

Anything but cycling . . .

As I was getting ready to write my next post, my wife reminded me that my blog description states that I plan to write about things other then cycling. So being the good husband that I am (a result of nearly 23 years of training), I decided she was right.

So let me ask you this. Have you ever experienced an impromptu moment inside a planned event? Allow me to explain.

Last Thursday Sherry and I had dinner with our neighbors and good friends Bob and Karin. We share a passion for fod, wine and good company. They have a wine cellar that is stocked with Bob's years of wine experience. In my personal circle, Bob knows more about wine then anyone else. And he is a willing sharer of his knowledge and his wine.

Bob was making us his famous Spaghetti Carbonara for the first time. Being carbonara virgins, he decided to go all out. I mean The French Laundry all out! He used butter from France, purchased all the fresh ingredients that day, and even cooked the pasta in Italian bottled water. It was simply fabulous. Much better then any carbonara I have ordered in restaurants. And of course there was wine.

We started with a great Preseco, an Italian sparkling wine, with appetizers. We then opened a Barolo from the Piedmont region of Italy for dinner. I learned about Piedmont from Bob and it is now one of my favorite wine regions in the world and I now have a healthy supply of Piedmont wines in my own cellar.

During dinner we talked about anything and everything you could imagine. At some point, Sherry asked about Vin Santo, an Italian wine she recently read about. And as always, not only was Bob familiar with it, he had some in the cellar. How cool is that? We read about it - he has it.
We wrapped up dinner, after opening a second Barolo, just in time to head outside to watch the fireworks. The city of Santa Rosa does a large display each year that we can see from the house. What a way to celebrate our nation's birth. Standing on a sidewalk with good friends and a glass of Barolo in my hand. So, show over and back inside for dessert.

The wine with dessert was not spectacular in Bob's opinion. So he decides we need a different bottle. At this point Karin says "I feel like some Vin Santo." So off to the cellar and back with the Vin Santo. The bottle we opened was a 1994 Avignonesi Vin Santo. Hugh Johnson, the wine writer, listed this as one of the top 20 Italian wines to drink before you die. I now have to try the other 19.

This wine was amazing. Beautifully aged with surprisingly subtle complexity. It had the perfect acidity to offset the sweetness. It is perhaps the best dessert wine I have ever had and may well be one of the top 5 wines I have tasted in my life time. Karin described it as ethereal. We have already ordered 1 bottle, it is very hard to find, and we hope to hunt down a few more.

So there you have it. A wonderfully planned event made even more spectacular by an impromptu decision.


1 Comment(s):

Sarah said...

I'm oozing with envy. You know, Sherry's right - you do have to write about other things than cycling given your title.


Bob & Karin are easily one of the most fantastic hosts I've ever had the pleasure of having dinner with. And you live next door. Lucky you.