Sun 16 Aug 2009
LL and I eat a steak perhaps once a month, and we want it to be a good one. Friday night, she took a rib-eye from Westwind Farms, a family-owned operation in East Tennessee that treks to Memphis every weekend to sell beef, pork and chicken, all organic, grass-fed, free-range animals, and rubbed it with a mixture of garlic, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Then (courtesy of a recipe in the May 2009 issue of Bon Appetit magazine), she reduced a half-cup of balsamic vinegar over medium heat, added shallots, olive oil and crushed red pepper, simmered some more and then whisked in parsley, capers and thyme, thus producing an almost indescribably intense Sludge of the Gods. I fired up the ol’ non-gas Weber — I don’t understand people who feel compelled to have whole kitchens on their patios — with hardwood charcoal (no briquettes, please! and no “lighter fluid” that stinks up a whole neighborhood!) and cooked the steak about three and a half minutes on each side, coming out perfectly medium rare on the inside and crusty on the outside.
Have mercy! The combination of the steak itself and its spicy rub with the incredible dark, rich, primeval sauce was — vegetarians don’t read this! — transporting. Yay on the cavemen who discovered the fruitful conjunction of fire and flesh.
For the wine, I wanted a classic sort of cabernet sauvignon whose structure and minerally nature would align with the steak’s charry, toothsome, earthy character, and I got what I wanted with Tom Eddy’s Elodian Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley. This 100 percent cabernet deftly balances scrumptious, even sumptuous fruit with the rigor of dusty tannins and earthy minerals and a foundation of oak that’s primarily French but includes some American and Hungarian. Despite this arsenal of substantiality, the wine is clean and bright, vibrant with acidity and delicious with flavors of ripe, spicy and fleshy black currants and black cherries. It embodies the abundance of purity and intensity married to silkiness and invigorating presence that we relish in the best Napa Valley cabernet wines. 1,100 cases. Drink through 2014 or ’15. Excellent. About $40.