The venue: Safire Grill in Camarillo www.safirebistro.com
The occasion: Dinner with friends Mark and Kathie to say “Thank you!”
Okay, so I finally broke down and opened up my bottle of Booker Ripper Grenache www.bookerwines.com that I’ve been saving - it was not difficult as our friends Mark and Kathie opened their bottle of Saxum Booker www.saxumvineyards.com at the same time. Both wines were decanted. The Ripper has higher alcohol coming in at a whopping 16.8% so we poured this one first. Hard to say anything but a completely amazing bottle of wine. Although the alcohol is high, it’s disguised so well with the perfect balance between gorgeous ripe fruit, acidity and tannin. A very dense and complex wine yet as smooth as they come with a terrific silky mouthfeel…superb!
The Saxum is nothing shy of spectacular itself. This one’s a blend of Grenache and Syrah with the fruit coming from the Booker Vineyard so there’s a lot of similar characteristics. Just read what Spectator said about this wine – James Laube gave it 95 points and wrote, “shows wonderful aromas of rich, chocolaty blackberry and boysenberry, with a touch of huckleberry. Dense, concentrated and sharply focused, this finishes with a long, layered, persistent aftertaste.” My sentiments exactly with an emphasis on the dense and concentrated part, we’re talking inky purple in color. And between the two, definitely a night of purple-stained teeth that I’d do again in a heartbeat. Dang, I wish I had another bottle of Ripper!!!
They were both fabulous with subtle differences and I wouldn’t turn down a bottle or a glass of either…ever. I do think the Ripper was slightly more refined and elegent, but that’s about it.
Now for the food, again, a wow night all around. Had fabulous appetizers of tuna tartar with baby beets, fresh hamachi with a sliver of jalapeno on each lovely slab (hot). The salads consisted of cooked, but served at room temperature asparagus garnished with baby beets and a little pile of watercress – lip smackin’ good. I had the 3-day miso marinated cod that was out of this world – a big juicy portion piled atop a corn and rice ragout (I know there was something else in here too, but I don’t recall what it was), and Rob had a giant sized, fall off the bone tender short rib – delicious. I’d go here again in a heartbeat too.