The other night, Laura Beth and her family were kind enough to host a lovely dinner for Dr. GP and me. Her family are big wine collectors and wanted to share some of their precious bottles with us. They have been collecting wine for a long time and have bottles that I never imagined being able to see in my lifetime, let alone taste!
We went down to their wine cellar that looked like the Beast’s library from Beauty and the Beast:
Row upon row, shelf upon shelf, the cellar was stocked full of wines of all varieties, years, and countries. It would make anyone jealous! My wine cellar is literally a 30-bottle rack that I keep next to my shoes in my closet because it’s the coolest spot in the apartment, so really any cellar would make me envious, but this is exquisite.
In the middle of the cellar was a table with four wines that Laura Beth and her family picked out to go with the night’s dinner. I was to choose one of the four. There was a Bordeaux, two Cabs, and a Pinot Noir. All of them were barely younger than me, so no matter what I chose was going to be well worth the wait!
The wine that I couldn’t stop gravitating towards was Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon from 1992. Caymus is a Napa, California winemaker who produces nothing short of fantastic wines. While they produce many varietals, their Special Selection Cabs are considered to be the most luxurious. Because of its profound reputation, I had to choose it.
Often times, old bottles of wine need to be decanted for hours before they are ready to drink. After being cooped up in a container for years, the flavors are dormant and need breathing time to wake up. However, for some reason, the Caymus was ready to go right away. We opened the bottle immediately. A ruby, almost purple color poured out. As we swirled the glass, the smell was immediately apparent. Vanilla, plum, and campfire smoke were the most prominent scents, with cherry, cedar, and baking spice on the palate. There was a soft and velvety finish that was so smooth and easy to drink.
Older bottles have a tendency to need lots of breathing time before the flavors come through, and even when they do, the spicy tannins are often the first thing I taste. This was not the case. It was surprising how much fruit came through and how smooth it finished for a wine of this age! Caymus reminded me of the last few nights of summer camp as everyone sits on logs in front of the campfire. No one is ready for the summer to end, but they are holding onto this precious moment for as long as they can. I wasn’t ready for this wine to end, and was relishing every moment!
Dinner was ready, and not only was it delicious, but it was a great meal to showcase the wine! We had marinated grilled chicken, salad, mango salsa, and Brussels sprouts. Whatever the chicken was marinated in helped the vanilla oak come through, and the mango salsa brought out the sweeter flavors of the wine. With the meat being cooked on the grill, the smoky flavors from both the food and the wine were well matched. What made this wine and food pairing so perfect was that no one component was stronger than another. To me, the wine was the focal point, but it didn’t take away from how well prepared the meal was. The chicken and salad were a fantastic canvas for the Caymus.
Dr. GP and I cannot thank Laura Beth and her family enough! Not only was this a 5 grape pairing meal (and the Caymus!), but we enjoyed seeing you again and catching up! THANK YOU!