Ahhh, Friday night. The window on the weekend ahead, and a chance to kick back and unwind. With a fire in the pit and pork chops on the grill, we settled in for a relaxing evening. There is something magical about a fire in cool weather; with a combination of oak, pecan and mesquite, we enjoyed some great flames and awesome smoke. For the past 20 years, Brian has been attempting (key word: attempting) to perfect his trade of smoking ribs, briskets, pork loins, chicken, fish and vegetables. His woods of choice have become (and continue to be) oak, pecan, mesquite, hickory and apple. These woods have aromatics that are difficult to beat. Oak – we (well, actually Brian does – Jean is a West coast girl and was too busy at the beach) still remember growing up and in the fall, raking oak leaves, acorns, branches and even bark into huge piles and jumping into them well before a flame and the burning took place. You could smell smoke for days; it must be where the call to smoke meats came from. It was a time when we burned leaves and our neighbors burned leaves; it was the easiest (and natural) way to recycle. The ash was loaded with potassium! Pecan – living in Texas, we’ve learned to appreciate the magnitude and beauty of pecan trees. Different varieties yield different fruit, but when it comes to burning, pecan gives off a sultry, smoky fragrance that is just like biting into a southern pecan pie. It’s bark is light and the wood catches quickly when the fire is hot. The smell is intoxicating! Mesquite – the South Texas trash tree, but when it comes to burning, it’s one of our favorites. Oh, the spice and smoke, so pungent and yet so delicious that you can feel it in your eyes, the smoke gets in your hair and you can’t wait to be in the middle of it for more. Mesquite burns so much hotter than oak or hickory, and at the same time emits a fragrance that true smoke affeciandos can’t let go of!
It seems appropriate to introduce tonight’s wine with the smoke and flavor of wood because the 2009 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon is perfectly suited to a night like tonight. Upon opening this gem, we were immediately hit by the oak and vanilla. Wow, what a combination – together with cherry, spice, anise and smoke. Taking a glass of this wine outside with the fire only intensified the nose and the taste. A long finish of fruit, smooth tannins and perfect balance made it a complete package. With some sauteed vegetables and the grilled pork chops, this wine was meant to be enjoyed with food. The crowning achievement was the ‘chocolate test’. Guess news is that a wine as big and gorgeous as this 2009 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon was perfectly suited for dark chocolate. It’s one of those wine that you keep hoping will never run out; you know, you pour a little into your glass with the hopes that the level in the bottle doesn’t change leaving more to drink as the evening progresses. Alas, with each pour, the bottle empties and the enjoyment winds down, but not without pausing to enjoy a Friday evening at the beginning of Fall in the Texas Hill Country – Priceless! For everything else there’s MasterCard.
Time to get back to the fire and enjoy the cool evening ahead, we want to stress that it’s important for wine lovers to look at this label next time they are in their favorite wine emporium. While not the cheapest bottle on the rack, (but, like many of our wines thus far – our friends at Twin made this possible with their BIG sale) you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the taste and that is yet another reason to try a good bottle of wine. When a wine tastes GOOD, you want to share it with people you know and love. Honig, from Napa Valley, knows what it takes to make good cabernet sauvignon; we want you to try it. Let us know what you think; we’ll be on the deck, enjoying the fire and waiting to hear from you. Put another log on the fire – oak, pecan, mesquite, it really doesn’t matter, and watch the flames and smell the smoke. It’s a perfect way to start the weekend.
Have a great tonight and tomorrow we’ll be back here tomorrow night with another bottle of wine for indulging!
Until then, please enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.