From Vintage Burgundies to Heartache
When I started Dallas Wine Chick, my goal was to write about the experience of wine. Wine is illuminated by the food you eat, the people who share it with you and your surroundings. Many times this is why the wine that you buy at the winery, that tasted so good in at the time, does not taste the same when you drink it at home. One of my top wine experiences was in Santorini, Greece, on a trip after my husband received his MBA. Through Fodor’s, we found this intimate, family-owned and highly-rated (very inexpensive) restaurant. As we sat in the courtyard with flowers blooming everywhere, they served us whole fresh fish, vegetables, Greek salads and a wonderful local white Greek wine. If I was even able to find that wine today in Dallas, it probably wouldn’t register as special (and frankly it might not taste very good), but against the backdrop of a dream trip with my husband, it was spectacular.
One of my first emails after the blog began came from Larry Shapiro. Larry was the former owner of Marty’s, a gourmet wine and food store that closed almost ten years ago. I have a very special place in my heart for Marty’s as its wine tastings were the primary training ground for me in European wines many years ago. Larry’s father sent him to Burgundy as a wine primer and his love affair with the region and the wines began.
Larry invited my husband and me to his house for dinner with his fiancé, Ronnie. We eagerly accepted and knew we were in for a treat when he said he had some special wines he’d like to share. Immediately it was like we were reunited with old friends. The conversation was great, the food was gourmet and the wine, oh the wine.
We started with my husband’s famous spicy shrimp martinis, which is primarily a blend of shrimp, fresh avocado, Roma tomatoes, onion and serrano peppers garnished by blue tortilla chips. Larry paired it with a 2000 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru – and even though he didn’t know what appetizer we were bringing, it worked. It was what a white burgundy should be – with an intense and creamy finish. The spicy appetizer meshed well with the mature fruit, the acidity of the citrus, nuttiness and minerality of the wine.
Our next course was a simple but delicious Mediterranean style salad with thinly sliced tomato and onion, olives and a Texas goat cheese sprinkled with balsamic vinegar. This was served with a 1966 Pommard Les Epenots Remoissenet, which had a wonderful satin texture. I was surprised by the vibrant color in the glass. The mocha and notes of truffle were a wonderful match with the wine. Absolutely spectacular.
Next we enjoyed a 1979 Remoissenet Père et Fils, Vosne-Romanée, which had notes of dark chocolate and hints of coffee. Earthy, yet balanced, it paired well with lamb chops with wild rice, pine nuts, mushrooms and shallots. To die for, enough said.
We finished out delightful meal with a Sauternes matched with an Italian zabaglione dessert. Much to my delight (and after clearing each course), I found out it was a low fat dish.
You know I am a strong believer in seizing the moment and not waiting for a special occasion to have that glass of champagne. When I contacted Larry the next day to tell thank him for the evening and to plan our next dinner, he delivered some awful news about the death of Ronnie’s son early Sunday morning. I know that if Ronnie’s son was anything like his mother, we all suffered a loss of a fantastic young man. I’ll be praying for Ronnie, Larry and their families.
In parting, I’ll leave you with a quote from the philosopher, Horace, that I am going to adopt as my go forward philosophy:
“Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.”