20 July 2009

2006 Aurielle Cabernet Sauvignon

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.


Allen said...

That is a breakfast/brunch/late night dinner to remember. Class act.

Benito said...


I've had several memorable late-night meals with you as well. In particular, I remember eating mushrooms for the first time (on a pizza) sometime after midnight when I was around six or seven. I think we watched a Marx Brothers movie while we ate.

Those who have never had to work the odd hours can't truly appreciate how much a good hot meal means at those lonely times. It's why we'll tip 50% at Waffle House if we find ourselves at a yellow booth at 3 a.m.


Allen said...

To all the late night eating places over the years.
Steak and Eggs Kitchen, The Gridiron, CK's and yes the best of all, Waffle House.

Late night movies were always fun. The smoked salmon and Cognac was pretty good Christmas eve of '88.

TWC said...

I couldn't stay up til 4:00 am if Sandra Bullock or Ms September was coming over but I am enthralled with you dedication and the finesse with which you have, apparently, pulled this off.

BTW, this simply cannot be the same Waffle House that exists in some places in the southwest. Or, you were drunk.

John Carter said...

This was a spectacular meal, and a far cry from my normal breakfast routine. As I have said before, I am lucky to have Ben as my brother.

Thanks again, your cooking is pure genious.

fredric koeppel said...

smoked salmon and cognac on Christmas Eve, '88!? wow, wish I had been there! what a family ...

Samantha Dugan said...

Okay first of all, Awe, how sweet, all of it, the breakfast, the pizza and a movie and the "best brother"...Fredric is right, what a family. Secondly that breakfast looks delicious and what is the Saran Wrap egg method? Lastly, like the new color on your header thing, looks crisper. Thanks for warming my heart this morning Carter men!

Benito said...

Quality varies at Waffle Houses, but when you find a good one it's worth it's weight in gold. Not a lot of late night options around here.

I wrote about the Cognac story in a previous post--it was a lucky confluence of gifts and timing, not a regular part of our Christmas celebrations. Still incredible, though.

The linked instructions explain the plastic wrap poached egg method with pictures. Just put them in a basket or something so they don't touch the bottom of the pan. Much better results than the sad, soggy, floppy things you get from just dropping them in the water.


Michelle said...

That breakfast looks fantastic and even more so knowing you stayed up to do something nice for your brother. Funny the wine label shows the "golden mean" symbol. On my marker tour, tomorrow's marker will mention the "golden section" in reference to the NBC building.

Benito said...


The marker tour has been fascinating reading so far--can't wait to see this next one. And maybe drag myself downtown to check them out in person.


Big Mike said...

My friend you always teach and inform. I love the egg thing will try it this weekend. I also agree with all the others what a specail family the Carters are from Grand Dad to Dad to you two! I am bless to have called you all my friend for fifty years!! I promise your Dad and I have had numerous late nights together, all special. Ask him has he every seen a grown man sleeping on a 2X4???!!?!?! in the back of Rusty with dew on his glasses....and it wasn't your dad..

As always enjoy reading your stuff

Big Mike