I’ve gotten cocky, lately, about my ability to cook. Once I knew my place, understood how very limited I was in both creativity and talent, and as such stuck primarily to making breakfast foods. But over the past several months I’ve made a number of meals, ranging from baked salmon to stir-fry to steak, that have earned the accolade of “Hmmmm… you could actually serve this to other people,” from my wife. With such high praise artificially inflating my ego, I didn’t hesitate to tackle a from-scratch surf-n-turf “recipe” that I thought up in my head on the drive home the other night… and serve it to some new friends who were visiting our home for the very first time.
To make a long story short, my pasta stuck together, the shrimp and scallop marinade was briny, and the steak tips were roughly the consistency of thick leather, almost un-chewable, and damn near tasteless. The saving grace of the night was that the salad turned out okay, our guests brought with them a beautiful homemade flour-less chocolate cake and were as gracious as they could possibly have been, and finally, I paired the steak tips I’d managed to destroy with an utterly incredible bottle of wine. A nice wine and pleasant conversation can salvage almost anything.
Owned by Hank McCrorie, a “Burly” former football player and lover of big, burly wines, the 2012 Burly Napa Cab from Coombsville is something pretty special. Artfully crafted by Massimo Monticelli, this giant of a wine is smooth, balanced, and full to the brim with the flavors of deep purple fruits. Notes of leather and delicate spices lend complexity, while the structure assures me that it will cellar well for decades. There is an elegance to this wine that I haven’t seen in many big, aggressive Cabernets this young. I decanted it for about half an hour, and it drank beautifully, doing its part along with laughter and understanding to salvage an otherwise sub-par meal. It gets 93 points on my scale, and comes highly recommended. (sample)