Recent Food and Wine

I’m slammed at the moment getting ready for an academic conference in a few weeks, so I haven’t had time to much lately outside work and research.  But I did manage on Friday to take the afternoon off, and go to lunch with a regular group of friends at Nell’s.  The group as a whole has met for 20 years, and I participate when I can (which isn’t nearly as often as I’d like).  Phil cooks us lunch and we have the restaurant to ourselves. 

Yesterday was "Great 1980’s Wines" as a theme, and the group dug reasonably deep and came up with some good stuff.  My 1988 Raveneau Vaillons Chablis to start was slightly oxidized and we’ve all had better bottles; you win some and lose some.  Highlights were the 1980 Jaboulet La Chapelle, which was mellow, pretty, but with some spice and weight left, the 1988 La Chapelle (superb), and a slightly advanced bottle of the 1989 Aldo Conterno Barolo Cicala (absolutely superb, despite being a little mature for its age). 

Probably the wines of the day for me were the 1982 Montrose Bordeaux, of which I still had a bit left and am sipping on while I write this a day later.  Incredible — beautiful Bordeaux nose, but lacking the brutality and tannins of the 1970 and 1990 Montrose, the latter of which probably won’t be ready to drink in my lifetime. 

Tonight I’m having dinner (paella!) with another group of friends, and I’m bringing some old Spanish wines to go with the dinner, and a special appetizer.  I don’t have the bottles in front of me here, but there are two 1976 Riojas, and a 1970 Marques de Riscal Rioja.  I’m planning to finish things off with a 1910 Solera Pedro Ximinez sherry — a bunch of it hit the market some years back at very reasonable prices.

But the exciting thing for me will be an appetizer — a small slab of thinly sliced Jamon Iberico "reserva" — the fabled pinnacle of serrano hams, aged 24 months and only recently imported into the United States.  I’ll let you google for the going rate on a whole leg of Jamon Iberico, but let’s just say that you can fly to Europe and eat it cheaper, probably.  I have 4 precious ounces of the stuff, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with folks (and saving a little slice for Madden at Steps) tonight.

Then it’s back up the island to hunker down for a few days and bang out some simulation results.  I’m doing most of my numerical work on Amazon EC2 clusters these days, so I don’t have to worry about where I am or whether I have computers available, which is sweet.  I’ll post more after the old Riojas and the Jamon Iberico…