A Halloween Meal
This Halloween I was running around frantically, preparing for an impromptu dinner party, after deciding that the appropriate thing to serve would be braised beef tongue with gravy and horseradish crème fraiche. On the side was a (large) stuffed zucchini from my garden, a few appetizers, and for dessert – a plethora of trashy Halloween candy of course!
Now the truth is that I should not have been frantic about the beef tongue. Although it sounds complicated, it really should not be. The issue was that the last time I tried to make this dish, it tasted more like chemicals than the rich, velvety delectable I remembered from my childhood. In the end, I tossed the whole thing in the trash and promised next time to buy organic, and so this time I did. I also opted to order direct from a local butcher, and cook in a French-style braise, rather than the slow cooker. It came out fantastic!
I was surprised that everyone at least tasted the tongue (even one of the kids), and seemed ok with it (I had some backup food just in case). My dad arrived with a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir, Roco, which paired well with the meal.
The (Poizin) Wine
Later that evening I was searching for the right bottle to cap the night with, as is my tradition to trick-or-treat around the neighborhood with a glass of wine in hand. I remembered a bottle of Poizin from Armida winery that I’ve been hoarding for a while. This is one of those bottles that just never seemed appropriate to open for any other occasion – imagine opening a heavy, dark bottle with red etched skull and crossbones for Christmas, your anniversary, or grandma’s 70th birthday – completely inappropriate!
I pulled it out of my wine fridge, displayed the bottle and looked for the year – it was 2004, and I instantly knew at that moment, that it was time. (My decision had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my dad was also hovering over my shoulder convincingly repeating ‘Do it, open it!’). It was better than I remembered – Armida was the first winery I ever tasted at, while camping in Russian River with college friends. It was one of the first bottles of wine I ever purchased from a winery, so opening this was a long-awaited occasion for me.
My guess is that the 2004 vintage of this bottle is probably at its peak now. It was rich, smooth, and well balanced; not overly sweet or jammy, as one would expect from a younger Zinfandel. I highly recommend that if you have this bottle, to drink sooner than later. A question in the back of my head while opening the bottle was whether or not the skull theme was an indication of longevity (or lack of), but I was pleasantly surprised with how this bottle held up.
The bottle is cool, and will be the perfect addition to my Halloween décor for next year. I will likely upcycle this to a creepy candelabra!