My Bride got excited and bought a bunch of filet mignons at the butcher counter and each was almost the price of a gallon of gas. OK, not at nineteen cents a gallon during the gas wars that occurred during my first real job in the late Sixties, but like almost five dollars today, a couple of weeks ago. She was excited and who can blame her, as we are approaching full retirement and the rampant inflation was not one of the factors that we had seriously planned on about three to four years ago as we were working with financial planners. She decided to splurge, actually, she almost had to, at that price, so we were going to have a nice dinner with an appetizer, a salad, potatoes and vegetables and a dessert, just with out a waiter or a waitress.
I went into the cellar, looking for something interesting and looked at the collections of dwindling splits, which is alright. A split, for wine is a half-bottle and we used to be able to find them, but they have seemed to disappear. When I saw the bottle, I knew that I had to open it up, and see if she remembered the wine and the memories. She remembered the wine and the restaurant associated with it. On our first trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea we dined one night at Casanova’s. A couple of things stand out, it was the first time I had Abalone, which is legal there, as an appetizer, the first time I had free-range chicken which made me realize how wonderful a simply prepared dinner could be, and they issued Laguiole steak knives, those perfectly balance knives adorned with a bumble bee. The following year, when we went back, they were not using them and when I mentioned it to our waiter, he said that if I wanted one, he could bring me one, but that the knives “disappeared” even in such a fine establishment.
We were enjoying Georis Winery Estate Merlot Carmel Valley 2000. Walter Georis immigrated to the USA from Belgium in 1956 at the age of eleven. He spent his early years in Southern California and ended up opening a family restaurant that became internationally famous as Casanova’s both for the cuisine and the wine cellar. In 1981, he bought a ranch in Carmel Valley and began planting grapes. The fourteen-acre estate has terroir of sandy clay loam, gravel, river rocks and one small pocket of chalky soil. Alas there is nothing to glean about this wine, but I have to say that the wine still had a beautiful deep purple-red color with notes of red and black fruits and spices. On the palate this twenty-two-year-old still had a jammy finish of plums and cherries with silky tannins and a nice long finish of fruit and terroir. I can’t help it, but I will always be in love with Merlot, since my High School days, because the Right Bank of Bordeaux was more affordable then, until the world discovered the majesty of Merlot, the beautiful and feminine grape of the Medoc.