Saturday, January 25, 2014

La Fiorita Brunello and the hot date at home

“Shall I open the wine?” my friend asked as he began preparing a magnificent dinner for two.  I was about to jump in the shower. “No that’s okay.” I had only been thinking of not getting started on this bottle as an aperitivo – I wanted to make sure we saved it for the duck confit to come. 

The wine in question was a lovely bottle of 2007 La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino. By the end of the night I had learned two things.  One – that I don’t drink enough Brunello.  And two – that this was a wine that needed to breathe to be fully enjoyed. 

After I primped for a “hot date at home,” I stepped into the kitchen on improbable stilettos, breathed in the wonderful scents, and tipped small pours of wine into tall stemware.  And that’s when the grainy tannins and the tightness hit me.  This wine needs oxygen!  I spun the stems of our glasses.  He sipped and liked it.  “It will improve,” I assured him.  “It needs to breathe.” 

There was no decanter in the rustic kitchen that weekend, but I spied a large Mason jar and unceremoniously dumped the lovely Italian into it.  Dinner was almost ready, and I wanted oxygen to start doing its work on the wine for as long as possible.

Throughout the candlelit meal of duck confit with white truffle, mixed green salad, haricot verts, and potatoes gratin, I poured small portions of wine and spun the glasses each time – willing it to evolve. 

At the end of an exquisite dinner, I poured two final glasses of this King of Wines from that lowly workhorse of the kitchen, the Mason jar.  We adjourned from the table and curled up on the couch.  A roaring fire cast dancing lights on the bowls of our glasses.  I crossed my fishnet-clad legs and took a sip.  I smiled at my companion.  “Now,” I declared, “it’s perfect.”

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