A few evenings ago, it finally occurred to me...why am I waiting for a special occasion to enjoy a fine wine? Isn't life special enough to live every day to the fullest? This bottle of wine had traveled with me from the various apartments and houses that I've lived in, for probably close to 10 years now, if not more. Tonight was going to be "it's" night, my 1986 bottle of J. Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon. I know what pushed me in this direction - I was out of wine. This was the only bottle of red wine that I had, and I wanted some. I also wanted to add a splash to a chicken dish I was cooking. I can see you wincing, but honestly, it was just a splash, and I'm a firm believer of never cooking with a wine you wouldn't drink.
I opened the bottle, the cork started to crumble, and I thought for a minute that it might have turned. I mean, why wouldn't it have! This fine vintage has been housed in completely different ends of the temperature spectrum, exposed to light every day (I know, more wincing), and probably hasn't been laying to rest at the appropriate angle for all of these years. I gently wiggled out the cork and took a whiff of probably the smoothest wine aroma I had ever inhaled. My anticipation was growing, so I poured a small glass and sipped. Ahhhhh....my nose was happy, my mouth was happy, and I was happy. I immediately had to share a sip with Mark, but I honestly thought it would end there. As most of you may know, Mark is an avid craft beer drinker. He definitely has the palate to appreciate a good bottle of wine, but normally only sticks to a couple of sips here and there. I didn't expect he would be hooked. He was already in "beer mode", having had a Karl Strauss Fullsuit Belgian-style Brown Ale, so I never expected what would come next.
Mark was so overwhelmed by the smoothness of this full-bodied cabernet, that he asked for his own glass. It didn't stop there either. His enjoyment continued on until we finished the bottle together. For dinner that night, I made a simple tomato sauce and simmered drumsticks in the sauce as it cooked down to a thicker ragu. No pun on the word, but I did honestly use Ragu brand pasta sauce. I had a jar of Ragu chunky tomato garlic and onion sauce, so I doctored it up with more onions, Italian seasoning and a splash of...yes...1986 J. Pedroncelli Cabernet. The flavor turned out absolutely amazing, I served it over pasta, and everyone at it up, including the kids.
I'm so glad tonight was "it's" night. I'm glad I didn't wait for one of those over-rated special occasions. I couldn't have been happier enjoying the bottle with my man, eating dinner with my family, and appreciating life to it's fullest. Hopefully I don't have to spend $100+ each time I want to have Mark partake in a bottle of wine with me, but this evening was delightful.