Saturday, July 3, 2010


I could happily subsist on eggs, bread (butter), and tea every meal, every day. My palate, much like my brain capacity, is, for better or worse, a simple affair. I struggle with wine because of this, because wine seems like a pleasure of riches, that it need be paired with like food to be appreciated seriously. So that whenever I think of having wine with dinner I often decide not to because the meal is too unworthy of what wine is about. Also, good wine scares me. There's an innate immediate reverence about it, and a sort if Emperor's New Clothes pressure in it, in wine in general.

Every once in a while, though, I'm feeling a little bit randy, rebellious, and throw caution to the wind. Don't those Italian country food artisans eat simple-albeit-really good food? What's better than that? Nothing. (Quiet Cave day; I'm both asking and answering my own questions.)

So when I had eggs for dinner the other night - lightly scrambled in garlic-dill-butter and lots of black pepper, and coaxed to doneness on medium-low heat - I lived dangerously and opened a recent acquisition, a 1980 HMR Pinot Noir. One of the building owners (who both built The Cave and cellars here) gave it to me recently. My response was, don't give me the good stuff; I can't take the pressure.

HMR, (Hoffman Mountain Ranch) was a short lived winery in Paso Robles. They were the first Pinot Noir grapes to be planted in the region, but early success turned to eventual failure and by the early eighties the vineyard was abandoned. After a decade it was revived under the label Adelaida Cellars.

I was instructed to use a two-pronged cork puller and to let it breath at least an hour, both of which I did. It was my first try at the two-prong pull, no idea what to do, but it worked. Third try. Cork completely intact.

There was no decadent, velvety seduction here, no, just a clean, easy, pleasant glass of wine. Also, it went really well with the eggs. Then I was reading about Pinot Noir and that's what it does, it goes well with a variety of things, so I was a fortunate Emperor and didn't get called out on this one.