hooray for grown-up furniture

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The best thing about finally setting up the kitchen, eating meals at home and living in a house that is actually large enough to have a dining table: Conversation.

It's amazing. Dinner is now an opportunity to catch up, to spend time with each other, to talk about abstract things (and concrete things too), to get totally carried away and lose track of time. I love it.

And I love the way we've been incorporating wine with every meal. Tonight we had meatballs and drank our last bottle of 2000 Quinta do Monte d’Oiro Reserva from the Estremadura region of Portugal.

This wine knocked my socks off. I absolutely loved it. (I also loved it two years ago when we shared it with friends at Tablespoon in San Francisco -- sadly, the restaurant has since closed.) A blend of 96 percent Syrah and 4 percent Viognier, the Monte d'Oiro Reserva is like a Côte-Rôtie, which is a Syrah-based wine from the Northern Rhone.

The Monte d'Oiro Reserva was just beautiful. A gorgeous, gorgeous Old World nose -- lots of black fruit, bramble, spice, earth and meat. And in the mouth -- power, power, power. And not the over-oaked, over-alcoholic New World power (this was only 13 percent alcohol!), but real structure and complexity. I admit that when I was opening the bottle, I was really afraid that this Syrah (from Portugal, which is better known for Port, not for dry reds) was going to be past its prime. But man, this thing could've cellared for even longer. There was so much muscle, the mouthfeel was so full, the flavors were so layered -- it was like we were experiencing something new with each sip. Really amazing. And another bonus: I paid only $21.87 for it (from Garagiste, my go-to).

Yet even greater was the fact that I could gush about this wine during dinner at a table. A real table -- not a coffee table. We could discuss this wine while sitting in real chairs. And there was no TV blaring in the background. Fabulous!

This experience? Pretty much 100 points in my book.

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