Every now and then we open the doors, for family in for a quick trip. Of course, it has been a while, since we could do that, since we had a harridan that wanted everyone to be a Gladys Kravitz and report such evil going-ons. We actually have a four-bedroom home, but we are now down to the Master Suite, and a guest bedroom. One bedroom became an office for the two of us, and another became a dedicated gift room, Christmas and birthday shopping is a year long endeavor, as well as all of the requirements for wrapping and bundling gifts. It really is quite efficient. We also have a “hide-a-bed” sofa in the family room that unfolds to a Queen size bed.
I mention this, because we actually had company stay and it was fun. My Bride was all excited to have someone else to cook for. She made Chicken in Molé Sauce, and there are probably at least twice as many versions of the sauce as there are states in Mexico where the sauce hails from. Most people that are not from Mexico, if they know it, call it the “Chocolate Sauce” and that can be true, for certain varieties of it. The dark sauces like Molé Negro, Poblano or Colorado all have some Mexican chocolate, but it is not sweet like candy or even like baking chocolate. I prefer the hot and spicier versions that have chili peppers, black peppers and cumin. I first had it as a teenager with friends in Little Mexico when it was a city block in size and I was introduced to “Ribs in Molé” where the ribs were cooked all day in the sauce, and the meat would just fall off of the bone. Nowadays, I mostly encounter it as a marinade and sauce usually with a pounded chicken breast. My Bride earlier during the lockdown period, experimented and made it with Spare Ribs and they were so delicious, that she now is making the dinners with chicken and pork tenderloins. We had it with the pork tenderloin the night I am mentioning and the meat was so tender, one only needed a fork to cut the meat. We actually sat around the table just chatting and nibbling until everything was gone.
We started off with a wine, that might make you question my pairing ability, but it worked, and it happens to be the varietal that our guest prefers. The bottle of Tudor Hook Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2010 really caught our attention. Tudor Winery has become one of my favorite wineries from the area, as their Pinot Noir wines have all been outstanding and I hope this wine will continue to be counted among them. The Hook Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands runs along the west side of the Salinas Valley. The suggested aging potential for this wine is five to six years, and there was only six barrels of this wine produced. For an eleven-year-old, this wine was totally mannered and very mellow and a true pleasure for us to enjoy. Since this wine evaporated almost after uncorking it, I had to disappear to the cellar for another selection. I went for a bottle that I thought might be a stretch for our guest, but one that would make my Bride happy. We had as our second bottle Celani Family Vineyards Robusto Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley 2018. We have gone to Celani Family Vineyards wine tastings and we have some wines resting in our cellar from those events. Tom Celani is lauded in the Detroit area for his largesse for charitable organizations that he helps in a grand manner. He and his father ended up creating one of the largest Miller distribution companies in the United States along with other beers and wines. Tom Celani fell in love with wines, first as a drinker and a collector and finally acquiring a Tuscan-style estate with seventeen acres of grapes and one-hundred-twenty olive trees in the foot hills of the Vaca Mountain range in Napa Valley. As the proprietor of the Celani Family Vineyards he has chosen to bottle wine without costs becoming a consideration, to him wine is about quality and not quantity. This is truly a Proprietary Red Blend, as there is no information even on the trade notes, but the winery grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc and they are partial to new French Oak. This wine has been made to be enjoyed young and it truly is, with a fruit forward taste, but not a jammy Napa Cab, and softer tannins. We were literally chewing this wine to get all the flavor and the finish was excellent, and a perfect wine to have while we chatted into the wee hours.