Chef Rob and I were discussing menu upgrades at COBBLESTONES. I mentioned the amazing job they do with side dishes at Strip-House; The modern, sexy steakhouse in Manhattan–where my cousin is currently the beverage manager, while working on his Sommelier License. (Level 2 of said license requires that the student taste wines and identify them by grape and region. No. Seriously.)
Chef said: “We should go”
I said: “How about Sunday?”
He said: “This Sunday?”
I said: “Sure, why not?”
He said: “Ok. Sounds good”
Fast foward to Sunday. As (7) of us sat around a table (we picked up some “hitchikers” along the way), awaiting samples of many dishes to taste, examine and discuss, my cousin Nathan brought out a bottle of wine. (He loves wine, and knows it better every day)
Nathan explained that the bottle had lost it’s label along the way, making it difficult to sell–and therefore we would now benefit. (Weeks earlier, said cousin chose the wine for Mayor Bloomberg..who I am told, had to pay for HIS wine)
Cuz asked us if we wanted to try and determine the wines origin. Of course we would, we said. He poured. We tasted.
At this point, I am certain I immediately said “I think it is Italian” though I have yet to received confirmation of this fact from the group…and sometimes I just say things in my head…when the voices stop. But I SWEAR I thought/said it was Italian.
The reason that maybe nobody remembers that I said “Italian” is because the Chef sitting to my right, sniffed, tasted, sniffed again, tasted again…looked up and said: “It could be an Italian Nebbiolo. But, the considerable earthiness makes me think now that it is a Brunello. I’d say perhaps from Montalcino…2010″
All heads turned to my cousin. Who, actually, truly looked a little dropped-jaw amazed– He gently tilt-nodded his head in agreement (and respect) and said, exactly this:
“2009. I am impressed.” (While the voices in my head played out Mike Myers:Wayne’s World: We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy)
Free (Italian) Wine. Cheesey potatoes and creamed spinach. Surrounded by genius. Does it get any better than that?