Once in a while, out of a clear blue sky, we get really fancy and it is just the two of us. My Bride has been working daily, in fact she never missed a beat, because she is considered an essential worker. Of course, she has a job, that makes her a road-warrior, but that has more or less ended in the last year, and I think that may be the hardest part of her acclimating to her new work environment. She has taken over the library with all of her computers, monitors, telephones and printers. It looks like another year, of her not physically touching base with her clients in the Upper Peninsula and that was a trip that she really enjoyed. The good news, is that there may be a real Board Meeting that will be held in the fall, we shall see.
The reason that I said that we were getting fancy, is that she wanted to practice again using her Joule Sous Vide immersion circulator. The concept is low temperature cooking where the food is placed in a plastic pouch or glass jar and cooked in a water bath for a long period of time to get the meat at the proper temperature and then it is finished using the broiler or a pan. It was a bit frustrating, because the unit is controlled by a cellular phone, and at first, it wasn’t connecting properly, even after reloading the app and making sure the Bluetooth was set. I suggested that perhaps she should do a hard close on her phone and then turn it back on, and we were finally in business. We were going to have Filet Mignon medallions at Medium Rare setting with no guess work. She took a cooking pouch and made a marinade and the meat had to cook for almost five hours according to the controls that were now on her phone. She also decided on making a version of Israeli Couscous with mixed vegetables.
I decided to go down to the cellar and find something interesting for the filets. I found a bottle of Chateau La Croizille Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 1983. My thoughts were that this forgotten bottle should be opened up, to see if we had neglected it for too long, since I knew that we had plenty of back-up options. The other thing that I immediately noticed was that there was still a price tag, the price had been scraped away, but the price tag was from the shop that we bought all of the wine and liquor for our wedding and this bottle would have been perfectly aged for that night of celebration. Now that I am a pseudo-authority and maven on wines after my crash course on ullage, I used that knowledge to look at the bottle. The capsule top, was a bit spongey (and I am sure that is not the proper term, but it works for me) and the ullage level was low, usually a bottle of wine is filled up to the capsule, this is not always true, because some wineries still fill the bottles manually; whereas this bottle had the wine level now below the shoulder of the glass. I removed the foil and the top of the cork was blackish, and I wiped it away and did an old fashion smell test and everything seemed proper so far. I then went and got my Durand corkscrew, because I felt that I needed the best tool for an old cork. The first step with the screw was fine, but the second stage with the metal foil apparatus was difficult, to insert, as it seemed that the cork was welded to the bottle. I finally got the second part of the tool inserted, and I turned and twisted, finally placing the bottle on the floor and slowly I was getting the cork to uncork. This was perhaps the hardest cork removal in some fifty years, and when it finally worked free, only part of the cork was removed and it basically crumbled as I was looking at it. The final step was to get a decanter, a funnel and a coffee filter and I poured the wine into the filter, as I had created a hole in the cork, but it was still adhering to the glass in the perimeter. The good news was that the room was immediately filled with a charming aroma of an aged Bordeaux, and we had wine and not wine-vinegar.
Chateau La Croizille Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 1983 is one of many of the hundreds of wines that carry the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru designation. In 1955 Saint-Emilion created four designations, similar to the 1855 Classification of the Medoc. In Saint-Emilion there are: Premier Grand Cru Classe A with four chateaus, Premier Grand Cru Classe B with fourteen chateaus and Grand Cru Classe with sixty-seven chateaus. Some wags have opined over the years that there are more Grand Cru designations than there are just standard Saint-Emilion designations. There is not any early history on this chateau that I could find, but it was bought in 1996 by the De Schepper – De Mour family who have had Chateau Tour Baldoz since 1950. The estate has five hectares of vineyards and produce only one wine and the indicative blend is seventy percent Merlot and thirty percent Cabernet Sauvignon. They use new oak barrels every vintage and the wines are aged from eighteen months to twenty-four months. All I can say, is that we were pleasantly surprised by the mellowness of the wine and so glad that it held up so well.