Neyers Vineyards Bruce's Journal
Our 2019 ÂME Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
By Bruce Neyers
Tuesday 11th July, 2023
Our 2019 ÂME Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – And a great lesson I learned along the way
In January 1971, I was discharged from the Army. Barbara and I lived in San Francisco at the time, and I began to think of a career. While I majored in Chemistry, I never really planned to work as a scientist. I was offered an entry position as a sales clerk and display builder with a local wine importing company. It was a dream job. I had met the two owners during the six months that I was stationed at the Presidio. An army colleague of mine had worked for them before going on active duty, and he took me to meet them one day. I loved the place immediately. The owners were generous, and the years I spent with them learning about wine and food were among the most enjoyable in my life. Bal Gibson managed the business part. His brother-in-law Art Formicelli handled the buying. Art was a local attorney, with a great love of food. He and his wife occasionally took Barbara and me out to dinner, and we dined at places we would have otherwise never been able to afford. These experiences were life-changing. One place in particular, a now-defunct Italian restaurant in North Beach, was a favorite of theirs, and it was there that I learned about pasta. Part of it was puzzling to me, though. Art insisted on drinking his best wines with pasta, but I thought that was ‘simple’ food, as it had been during my youth, á la spaghetti and meatballs. He must have read my mind one night, though, as I looked at him quizzically, while he opened a rare old bottle of red Bordeaux. ‘Tonight,’ he said, ‘You will understand why we drink great wines with pasta.’ I think we had five or six different home-made pasta dishes that night, all of them beyond delicious. He was right. I never again doubted that pasta deserved to be served with the world’s greatest wines.
Barbara knows her way around pasta, and she’s constantly re-working her favorites. Last week she went to shop at our local grocer and emerged with an almost religious glow on her face. ‘They had fresh Chanterelles,’ she reported. That night I had one of her favorites – Orecchiette pasta with Chanterelles, Pancetta, and Breadcrumbs. I served a fancy wine with it, but I opened it alongside our 2019 ÂME Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, having just read a review by Jim Gordon, in ‘The Wine Enthusiast’. Here’s what he had to say:
Neyers 2019 AME Cabernet Sauvignon
“Bold, potent fruit flavors and a generous, late-picked expression put this undeniably delicious wine on the high end of the ripeness scale. The body is huge while the tannins are well integrated, letting the blackberries, dried cherries and dried blueberries saturate the palate. Best 2026–2036.”
93 POINTS — Jim Gordon
The pasta? Well, it was brilliant, and I asked Barbara to jot down the recipe for me to pass along. Whether it’s spaghetti and meatballs or store-bought raviolis, I learned, I should never be reluctant to serve my best wines with pasta. Barbara’s recipe is below, along with a photo of the dish as it was served:
- ½ white onion, finely chopped
- ½ pound chanterelles cleaned and sliced, approximately 4 cups
- 2 slices of pancetta about ¼-inch thick, cut into lardoons and sautéed until crisp
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup toasted breadcrumbs (see recipe addition)
- 1 package of Orecchiette pasta or pasta of your choice
- Diamond Chrystal Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until clear in color. Add the chanterelles and continue cooking until the mushrooms are soft. Add the remaining olive oil as needed.
- While the onions and mushrooms are cooking, separately sauté the lardoons of pancetta until crisp, then set aside.
- Following the directions on the package, cook the pasta until done.
- Add the pasta to the hot mushroom and onion mixture.
- Season with Diamond Chrystal Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
- Add the cooked pancetta.
- Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs on top of the pasta, and serve.
- Day-old sourdough or sweet baguette
- 3-5 tablespoons of olive oil
- Cut or tear bread into 1-inch pieces.
- Put bread in a food processor or blender and process until there are crumbs. If using a blender, process bread in small batches.
- Lightly sauté the breadcrumbs in olive oil stirring them until lightly brown.
- Set aside until ready to use