Carey and I got the opportunity to sample an exceptional wine this weekend: a wine that I have picked up many times, spun around in my hand, brushed the dusted off of, acknowledged the cool, tribal sun and soil-matching rusty/brown bars, but inevitably set back down and moved along. So you can imagine my surprise and joy when I was presented with this celebrated Super Tuscan by a generous friend and fellow wine lover.
A spectacular wine—especially an Italian one—deserves a spectacular meal. As long as you have someone to share it with, you can’t go wrong. In this case, I had Carey on the line, working the asparagus and chanterelle mushroom risotto station in cork platform shoes. I spackled lamb chops with a butter, garlic, rosemary, and Aussie sea salt mucilage, cooking them in 3 minute shifts on my trusty antique Griswold cast iron skillet. The ’96 Lupicaia took in some decanter time while we prepared.
From my notebook:
Striking color—vibrant ruby, showing only a hint of aged brick tones. Peppery nose, showing beautiful raspberry notes and a striking resemblance to the unique cherry twist that I recall from my earliest memories of being a Luden’s cough drop loyalist. Distinctly layered, very approachable, but by no means a powerhouse, the bouquet carries an impressive steely, menthol coolness.
The palate, on the other hand, delivers a red fruit invasion laced with mint and cocoa, and plush mouthfeel moments alongside another decade worth of tannins still structuring this wine. The midpalate has a nice vegetal flesh, like the meat of a very fresh tomato.
At the 3-hour mark, Lupicaia was really starting to sing. Subtleties were popping up like mushrooms—my favorite of which, a shortbread on a finish that didn’t ever seem to end.
Carey’s risotto was al dente and flavor-rocked as usual—she has become a master of the slow stir/add liquid patience that this dish requires. I think we connected the dots on a vinous/culinary triple threat—there was some serious harmony at our dinner table. You will be the first to know the next time we recreate such joy!