These are the moments I live for; at table with my beautiful wife and my wonderful parents, before an unimaginably fine spread of food, and a bottle of 1997 Monte Bello gently decanting. Truly magical, heart-warming, and soulful. Let’s begin with the decant, shall we?
Tasting notes should rightfully follow I suppose, but Tasting Notes seem so, I don’t know, base at a time like this! I think I’d rather just describe the food, and let the wine be experienced by proxy.
So, to begin with, we must discuss Haig’s. Haig’s Delicatessen. I first discovered this most holy of pilgrimage destinations when I lived in the Richmond District some 17 years ago. It was just a tiny, almost innocuous Middle Eastern deli in the Middle Richmond, near Green Apple Books, where one could obtain, for a laughably small amount of tender, truly the finest falafel and hummus sandwich on the face of our earth. Haig’s Hummus! They shouldn’t even call it hummus. Or all other hummus should be re-named. The two substances just bear no resemblance to one another. Haig’s is just that much better. Back then, you could only get it at the deli. Now, Whole Foods has it, Staff of Life has it, New Leaf has it. Fortunately, there’s been no sacrifice in quality, though the packaging is a little more mainstream now. Anyhow, from Haig’s we had the following:
-Falafel with tahini sauce
-Muhamarra (a blend of pomegranates and roasted red peppers mixed with ground walnuts and spices)
-Roasted Red Pepper Hummus & Original Hummus
We also had a remarkable array of olives:
-mixed olives marinated in cracked blood orange
-mixed late harvest olives
As well as smoked jalapeno sauerkraut from Farmhouse Culture.
From Nugget in Davis, we had both basil pesto and sun-dried tomato pesto, as well as locally-grown organic green grapes, plums, romaine lettuce, and baby carrots. In addition, we had organic avocado slices spritzed with fresh lemon, and diced English cucumber.
Ah, and then the cheese. Such cheese! We had the following:
-Red Dragon (welsh mustard and ale cheddar)
-Purple Haze (chevre with lavender and fennel pollen from Cypress Grove)
-Midnight Moon (also from Cypress Grove)
-Mike’s Farmouse Cheddar (with habenero and jalapeno peppers)
and the classic, Tillamook Sharp Cheddar!
For the grains portion of the fest, we had sweet baguettes from Acme Bread, and chips from Food Should Taste Good, (who more than live up to their company name with both their Olive Chips and their Jalapeno chips). It all looked a little something like this:
I won’t soon forget this meal. I loved every minute of it! And what joy to test each and every pairing with the 97 Monte Bello. From Tillamook and Muhamarra on sweet baguette, to smoked sauerkraut and avocado wrapped in romaine; from an olive chip dipped in roasted red pepper hummus to a cracked blood orange olive, it was all so beautiful. And what a wine! Unimaginable complexities! Every pairing a re-education for the palate!
I can’t urge you all enough to contact loved ones and arrange a night together, with delicious food, and fine wine. As with what happened to The Grinch, your heart will grow three sizes that day. I promise.