Sometimes more is just more; you can’t always do the “less is pure” thing.

So, for this rendition of cheese toast, I started with slices of seeded, multi-grain bread and spread them with black olive tapenade, over which I lay leaves of fresh arugula. Then I thinly sliced, I mean almost paper-thin, a Roma tomato, placed the pieces on the arugula and then topped the pieces of tomato with wedges of olive oil-cured dried tomatoes. Next, shavings of an Irish Cheddar cheese and an aged Gruyere, topped with grated Parmesan. Fresh thyme, salt and pepper. A light scattering of our favorite new condiment, Turkish Urfa pepper flakes. A dribble of olive oil. Then run those suckers under the broiler for four or five minutes, until the cheese gets just beyond the bubbling point.

Do I have to tell you how good this was?

The wine I opened matched this rather baroque version of cheese toast blow for blow.

The Morgan Cotes du Crow’s 2007, Monterey County, is a beguiling and riveting Rhone-style blend of 55 percent syrah and 45 percent grenache. The color is a gorgeous dark ruby-magenta with blue highlights; the nose teems with ripe and meaty black currant, blackberry and plum aromas permeated by lead pencil and minerals. In the mouth, the wine is luscious and lipsmacking, but it doesn’t allow sensual glamor to overwhelm an appropriate sense of vigorous structure in the form of grainy, chewy tannins and polished oak from 10 months in French barrels, 20 percent new, as well as lively, resonant acidity. In a few minutes, wild berry comes up, and an unrestrained floral nature, as in violets and lavender, and smoky potpourri. Loads of personality. Excellent. About $20.

My linkedin profile.