My brother works nights, and although he only lives 20 minutes away we don't see each other often. I've worked weird hours before, and your options are either terrible fast food or trying to cook something without waking up the "normal" residents of your domicile. With The Roommate out of town and the house to myself, I came up with a crazy idea. "John, why don't you drop by my place after you get off work and we'll have dinner." "I'll see you at 4:30." And that's how I ended up pulling an all-nighter and making Hollandaise sauce at four in the morning.
I thought a New Orleans-style brunch would be a good model for such an odd occasion. I considered making Eggs Hussarde, but I had no desire to make the Marchand de Vin sauce for just two people. (My brother can have one of my kidneys if he needs it. No Marchand de Vin in the small hours of the morning.) So this is basically Eggs Benedict with a slice of Cherokee purple tomato under the ham. Next up on the plate, baby Brussels sprouts with sautéed mushrooms, and a bacon-wrapped 4 oz. sirloin. I thought Bro John was going to break out in tears when the spread was presented to him.
By the way, this was my first time using the plastic wrap method of making poached eggs. I'm now a convert.
My initial plan had been to serve a light white wine, but there were enough strong flavors on the plate to stand up to a red, and my brother's birthday is coming up. So why not pull out something nice? There's a lot of wine out there that gathers dust and eventually spoils because people keep waiting for the perfect occasion. Well, sic transit gloria mundi, you've got to take advantage of these things during that window of opportunity. What's more special than a delicious dinner with your brother before the sun rises? I know that it's now a meal neither of us will ever forget, and with the help of wine, a cherished memory is forged.
The 2006 Aurielle Cabernet Sauvignon is the inaugural release from Aurielle Vineyards. The grapes for this wine came equally from the Howell Mountain and Mount Veeder appellations of Napa Valley. 98.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc, and .5% Merlot. $90, 14.9% abv. All French oak, 300 cases made. Lovely balance all around, with an initial nose of blueberries, plum, and a touch of spice. Medium tannins and a round body, with a smooth, lingering finish. Over time, hints of nutmeg, leather, and blackberries show up on the tongue. It's got that serious structure to it that makes you pause and contemplate before taking a sip. The wine is great now, but I'd really love to try it in about five years.
This may have seemed like an unorthodox pairing, but it's quite French in its execution. A little extra Hollandaise was wonderful on the sprouts and steak. I'm curious to try this wine with something like a rack of venison or wild boar--those luscious dark fruits always make me think of game.
P.S. For my math, art, and architecture fans, the logo of this wine is a representation of the golden mean or φ. You can find these proportions in nature, in doorways, in statues, all sorts of things. This is also reflected in the name Aurielle, of Latin derivtion for golden.