Like many weekends, the most enjoyable part of this past one was spending quality time with friends. As it happens, this quality time included many, many great wines. Friday night we had dinner at home with friends visiting from Miami. While we munched on grilled rib eyes, and drank 1982 Grand Puy-Lacoste, their six year old was happily engaging our dogs and noshing on chicken nuggets. (We also had a 2002 Piper-Heidseck Rare Millesime, a 1999 Vincent Girardin Charmes-Chambertain Grand Cru and a half bottle of 1996 Chateau d’Yquem. It was a very good wine night, indeed.)
Saturday night we had arranged for a wine dinner with old friends and new at Azur. Along with The Flaming Buoy, Azur is one of my favorite restaurants in Key West. Everything on the menu is delicious, orders are customized based on allergies, or other dietary needs, the food is fresh and expertly prepared and the service is always great. We took over the entire front patio of the restaurant and enjoyed a spectacular meal.
Wines for the night included 1998 Ployez Jacqumart Liesse d’Harbonville Champagne (largely regarded as the wine of the night by many of us), a Kunde Estate Chardonnay, 2005 Archery Summit Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, 2012 Guarachi Pinot Noir, 2004 Poggio Il Castellare Brunello di Montalcino, 1998 Fontanafredda Barolo La Villa, 2004 Sandrone Nebbiolo d’Alba, 2003 Genium Priorat (from a magnum) and 2009 The Maiden.
There was not a bad wine in the bunch. Normally, when we have dinner with the wine geeks, the theme is Wines that Don’t Suck. We do that because we often host dinners at our house and it is way too much to plan a meal and figure out a wine theme. Plus, I get bored drinking twelve of the same type of wine over the course of dinner. At a tasting? Sure. At dinner? Nah. I would rather taste a bunch of different wines while enjoying the company more than concentrating on the nuances of the same varietal of wine from a bunch of different producers. Mostly that same reason I don’t usually take tasting notes: because I am too busy enjoying my time with friends.
The impetus for this meal was new friends coming in from South Carolina. Now they are just friends. It was a fabulous evening with great food, wine and conversation. I know many people who don’t get my wine obsession. That is okay, but I will say this: all good wine stories are really, in essence, good people stories. We have met so many great friends, traveled to parties and events and raised glasses with friends (who were all once “new friends“) more times than I can count. Each time has reminded me how fortunate we are to have such wonderful people (many of whom also have great cellars!) in our lives.