John and I had plans to hit Grand Cafe for dinner last night, but a serendipitous end-of-day exchange in the copy room of Henson & Efron changed all that. Instead we were invited to dine a la chez Williams, with Debbie and Stu the Wine Genius, and we gratefully accepted. I threw together a quick tray of cheeses from our fridge (luckily some tasty things - roquefort, a firm, sweet goat's milk, and hand-dipped ricotta from Whole Foods), roasted red peppers, and crisp flatbread from the pantry, and we were out the door.
Once settled in Debbie and Stu's lovely, cozy kitchen, we dug into snacks (said cheeses plus olives and a delicious truffle mousse pâté Stu set out) and got around to sipping some serious wines. We opened with the 2007 vintage of a memorable Gewurztraminer that Debbie, Stu, and I enjoyed at Bouchon in Napa Valley a few years ago - Lazy Creek Vineyards Anderson Valley. We moved on to the most delicious Viognier I've ever had, a lush 2007 Melville Verna's Estate Santa Barbara that was selling for around $22/bottle until Robert Parker gave it 94 points and it basically disappeared, poof. Of course Stu had purchased it before all the fuss, so I count myself lucky, once again, that I got to try a wine with Stu that I'd never try otherwise.
Ditto for the two reds we tasted, both Saxum 2004 Syrah blends, one a James Berry Paso Robles, the other a Broken Stones Paso Robles. It was so fun to taste these wines side-by-side and note their (to me, pretty subtle) differences - as Stu pointed out, if we'd had them on separate occasions we'd think they were quite similar. Both were incredibly delicious, a huge treat. (Note in the pic that Saxum, like Stu-Fave Sine Qua Non, changes their label with every vintage - Stu pulled some bottles to illustrate. The two we tried are on the left. And speaking of Sine Qua Non - the papers lying in front of the glasses are Sine Qua Non catalogue pages for an upcoming wine auction.)
In case you were wondering, yes, we did eat something other than cheese, olives, and pâté. We had a delicious dinner of crusty, rosy pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, and steamed broccoli. We finished with slices of pear and blue cheese, along with a glass of champagne that hooooey! put me right on over the top. Yeah, baby, it may have been cold outside, but I was plenty warm and toasty.
Thank you to Debbie and Stu for another lovely evening!