It's been a while since we've chatted and I feel terrible about that.
In the ten months since this little blog's been bringing us together, this was the longest that I'd been away. And I've missed you. Honest. Last weekend I was up in the Bay Area and when I returned from a few days in wine country, it dawned on me that I hadn't shared a very fabulous evening that I spent with a friend of mine a while back. So, while I'm putting other fabulous wine-related things together for you, let's consider this a little appetizer.
I adore my friend Jason and do not see him nearly enough, so when he called me up one Saturday afternoon to tell me that he had a bottle of wine he wanted to try (do you see why we're friends?) and asked what my plans were, I didn't think twice about instructing him to come by later that evening. Since the wine he had was Italian, we threw around the idea of picking up some dinner from an Italian place or making a full dinner, and I'm not exactly sure where those plans fell apart, but we ultimately decided that since we had all the ingredients between us, that we'd just throw together some Bruschetta. And let me tell you what a fabulous idea that was!!
My first experience with Orin Swift was with The Prisoner which I raved about earlier this year. I just recently found out that this label was sold in 2010 to Huneeus Vitners, but that Dave Phinney, the genius behind Orin Swift would continue to make the wine. I had a little freakout when I went onto the Orin Swift site in search of this wine and couldn't find it. I thought that perhaps it was no longer being made, but after a quick Google, I'm better now. Just passing the information along in case you also had the same concerns.
Moving on...the bottle that Jason brought over was also an Orin Swift, but was a bottle of the Locations label. In my opinion, the only winemakers that can hold a candle to the blending abilities of Dave Phinney at Orin Swift are those over at Thumbprint Cellars in Sonoma. And this bottle of I-1, did not disappoint. This bottle takes the best grapes from across Italy and puts them together to create something spectacular, as they describe on their site, "The result is a vibrant wine that captures the spirit of Italy with a touch of new world bravado." I'd say they were spot on in their assessment!
While I decanted the wine and Jason waited patiently while I snapped a few photos, we got going on the Bruschetta. Let me just say that I LOVE Bruschetta! And I was all too happy to be able to grab some basil from my then flourishing balcony planters! Something tragic has since happened to my greenthumb....but that's a story for a different day.
There are tons of Bruschetta recipes out there, but I really don't think that following a recipe is necessary. As long as you've got the right ingredients, you can doctor to your own taste. The ingredients are as follows:
-Vine ripened tomatoes, diced
-Fresh basil, chopped
(is anyone else as entertained with the fact that each ingredient has a different definition so far? Well, that's about as much fun as we're going to get from that)
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper
Combine ingredients (the Parmesan is optional, though recommended) and allow for the flavors to marinade for a bit and serve on Crostini.
I attempted to make my Crostini, but this is not something that I've mastered yet. If you feel you can master the broiler without burning your toast, you can try to make your own. But if you don't want to spend a considerable amount of time scraping the burnt edges, you may just want to buy some. Not that it's close or convenient, but the best Crostini I've ever had by far are those from Jimtown Store up in Sonoma. Each time I go, I bring back at least one bag. I can't say exactly WHY they are so good...perhaps they are sprinkled with a salt/pepper/crack mixture, but you're just going to have to trust me on this one. Pricey (online, though in the store, way more affordable)? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely!!
So many simple ingredients came together to make one spectacular night!
I hope you all have these types of experiences from time to time. I consider myself fortunate that I do on a fairly regular basis. Perhaps as I get older, I just recognize and appreciate them more.