Skip to main content

Ageable: Good Wine & Good Friends Plus My Traveling Paella Pan #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of L'Ecole.
Complimentary wine was provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.
However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

If you're been following my blog, you'll know that I'm doing a series of monthly posts in collaboration with L'Ecole Winery.* A group of us participate in a virtual tasting with their marketing manager, the winemaker, and the general manager and discuss timely topics. This month, we had a special guest in Marty Clubb, managing winemaker and co-owner of L’Ecole N° 41. Along with his wife, Megan, and children, Riley and Rebecca, Clubb is continuing the legacy of this family-owned, artisan winery that was founded my the Fergusons, Megan's parents in 1983.

Let's talk about ageability.

AGEABLE adjective    age·​a·​ble | \ ˈā-jə-bəl \
1: advanced in years: old. 2: suitable for being aged: able or likely to improve with age

I decided that this was the perfect topic for a post about these two bottles of wine and a joint birthday dinner for friends that I've known for over 35 years. I maintain that the wine and the friends fall under that second definition, though the first is also true for my friends and I!

Good Wine

This month we talked about ageability of wine as we sampled both a 2015 and 2018 Perigee from Seven Hills Vineyard. Though the varietal composition is the same, the percentages vary slightly between the two years. The 2015 is comprised of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot; the 2018 is  50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec, 9% Petit Verdot. All of the grapes were grown in segregated block and the first Perigee vintage was 2002. That's the year my eldest son was born. I wonder if I could get my hands on it and open it for his 21st birthday. But, truth be told, it's doubtful that his fledging palate would appreciate it! The 2015 retails for $73, the $2018 retails for $57. I wonder, if I could get my hands on a 2002, what that would cost.
Clubb shared that 'perigee' means 'close to the earth' when the moon orbits the earth. That closest point of the moon's orbit is called 'perigee.' He also told us that the grapes have been sustainably farmed and they have eliminated pesticides from their cultivation.

I enjoyed hearing how the different grapes affected the taste of the wines: Cabernet is the structure of the wine; Merlot is driven by black cherry; Malbec is minty; Cabernet Franc has more floral notes; and Petit Verdot is inky with high acid. Clubb characterized it as "blackberry pie in a glass."

At our birthday party, the 2015 showed beautifully and we could imagine what the 2018 will be like in three years. But the wines were sophisticated with a lot more structure and flavor than we all anticipated for some reason. Aromas of ripe berries mixed with herbaceous fennel and earthy tobacco. And floral notes of violets brought a delicate femininity to the wine. While we enjoyed both, the 2015 was empty first.

Good Friends

Speaking of ageability - as in improving with age - these friendships are definitely that. Three of the people have been friends since over 43 years. Of that trio, I met one of them in 8th grade and the others a year 35 and 34 years ago, respectively. Then we all added our significant others into the mix and those relationships are all over two decades strong. Jake and I have been together for almost twenty-four years and I am certain that Jenn and Mike, Brian and Pia are longer than that, though Jake and I have been married slightly longer than everyone else.

This is the first time we've all been together since before COVID. That's twenty-two months of skipping birthday dinners, anniversary celebrations, and more! Since everyone was vaccinated, including the littlest one who was finally eligible for his Pfizer shot last month, we gathered, imbibed, feasted, and realized just how long it's been. To feed the crew, I brought over the large paella pan that I borrowed from a friend's shop multiple times. One of these days I might have to get one for myself, but until she tells me I can't use it anymore, I'm good with this. 

My Traveling Paella Pan

I have made Paella Mixta several times, including when D and I did the demo and tasting at The Quail & Olive in Carmel Valley (photo above), the first time I brought the pan to the Gonzalez' patio (photo below), and out to Laguna Seca when I cooked for a group of friends camping at the Sea Otter Classic.

I made a Paella Valenciana with rabbit at another Gonzalez party; and one with only chicken at a recent robotics team lunch (photo below). It has definitely become a fun party dish and conversation starter. When our older son came home from college and we loaded it into the back of the vehicle, he looked perplexed, "Did you start a paella catering company that I don't know about, Mom?" 

No. Not exactly. I only cook for people I like!

I'm not sharing a recipe with this post, but you can watch my video on the #CulinaryCam YouTube channel about achieving soccarat in my paella.

That's a wrap for my November L'Ecole collaboration. Stay tuned when we discuss holiday gifts next month. Stay tuned...

Find L'Ecole No.41 on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter
*Disclosure: I received compensation in the form of wine samples for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the sponsor.


Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Aloo Tiki {Pakistan}

To start off our Pakistani culinary adventure, I started us off with aloo tiki - potato cutlets. I'm always game for tasty street food. I found a couple of different recipes and incorporated those together for this version. Ingredients 6-8 small red potatoes, scrubbed 1 T cumin seeds 1 T fresh chopped parsley 1/2 t ground coriander 1 t minced garlic Procedure Boil the potatoes until they are tender. Drain and let cool. Mash the potatoes. Traditionally they are mashed without their skins. I left the skins on. In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds on high heat until the begin to give off an aroma and begin to darken. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to keep them from cooking any more. Blend all of the spices into the mashed potatoes, then shape into small patties. If you wet your hands, the potato mixture won't stick to them. Heat a splash of oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Dip each patty into beaten egg and carefully place in the oil. P

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an