Good Morning Gentle Readers,
Sometimes it's fun just to dazzle your own self with a little extravagance. Since the in-laws weren't due for the big family shindig until the 26th, the four of us indulged with a prime rib roast dinner by candlelight for Christmas Eve. Be just perfect for a stay-at-home romantic New Year's Eve as well, so pay attention here.
With all good food, fresh ingredients are a must. The Sage and Thyme were snipped from the gardens of Casa de las Rocas Grandes just moments before.
Coat the roast with olive oil, season to taste. I used sea salt, ground pepper, sage, and thyme. Don't skimp, this is the stuff that ensures the delectable crust.
Preheat the oven to 250 F (121 C).
In another life, TWC lived with a blond chick and her vintage 1930's Wedgewood match-light stove. Crank the knob, wait for the stench of raw gas, strike the stick match, wave the flame in the general vicinity of the burner, then yank your hand back in an attempt to avoid singed knuckles. Yes, that's why they're called Kitchen Matches.
The oven thermostat was erratic, wildly out of touch with reality, yet that girl could bake up a Christmas loaf of cherry walnut bread that'd knock your socks off. How? She used an oven thermometer and so should you. Even today's high-dollar modern appliances fail the thermostat test, so don't trust them. Get a good oven thermometer. Or Two.
Stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. Bake until the thermometer reads about 120 F (49 C). This is tricky, so test a couple of different places to be sure. It ain't rocket science, but unless you want a well done roast you really want the internal temperature below 125 F (52 C). At this point, crank the oven up to the Blast Furnace setting for about ten minutes or so. This will give you the desired crunchy finish on the outside of the prime rib. 135 F (57 C) should get you a medium rare roast.
Remove the roast to a suitable platter and let it rest for ten minutes before carving.
As the name implies, Small Lot Cabernet is sourced from many small vineyards that dot the inland side of the Santa Cruz mountains, an area that was once home to the cherry orchards that defined the pre-digital Silicon Valley.
The Kathryn Kennedy Small Lot Cabernet was a bit disappointing. Not terrible, just that it wasn't memorable. At fifty dollars US, TWC expected more. The wine was tightly wound and never really opened up. Dry in a Bordeaux style with an odd minty back taste at the end. Crest Toothpaste? Nah, much more subtle than that.
.....moderately intense aromas of black cherry with dense and ripe currants. There is a sweet fruit impression followed by hints of mountainside rocks, wet loam and dry herbs.
That isn't a description of the wine we drank, but it is possible that the bottle was in the initial stages of taint. No wet cardboard or chlorine, but the wine had an off feel to it. It wasn't quite like Amphetamine Annie spitting Jim's expensive Bordeaux back into the glass and bellowing: he paid a hundred dollars for THIS? Jim's Bordeaux truly wasn't ready to be served and it is possible that the Small Lots Cab needs a decade in the cellar. Given the cost, I'm not confident enough of that outcome to recommend this wine. Thanks to the generosity of one of my Fairy Godmothers, I've three more bottles. Time is often kind to red wine and we'll see how it turns out.
The Wine Commonsewer