An Evening of International Delights

Date night: a meal (pseudo-Indian), a movie (Italian), and a bottle of wine (Spanish).

To stay in or go out? Despite the innumerable options in Our fine city, We chose the former, opting for an evening at my sweet Hollywood home.

What to eat? In my scrappy home-chef kind of way I opened opened the cupboards, riffled through the refrigerator, plucked some things from the garden, and got to work. Onions, carrots, and cherry tomatoes, cumin seed, and thyme were sauteed in olive oil. We added leftover Indian take-out (Rajma and Dal Makhni), grilled sausage-less sausages, jasmine rice, fresh corn from the garden (whose cobs looked like a hillbilly’s teeth), and a box of vegetable stock (a staple I always have for these “I’ll just make soup” occasions). The result was an amazingly fragrant stew.

What to drink? Something rich and red seemed appropriate. We received a random sample a couple of weeks ago: a Tempranillo by Campo Viejo. We popped open the bottle while the stew was stewing. He took a deep sniff and declared His love for the grape. “This is one of those wines I can tell what it is just by smelling it.” I love this. For a novice wine drinker I think being able to differentiate between grape varieties is a wonderful “aha” moment. We poured a bit into the stew, served it up with a dollop of Fagé yogurt and headed to the sofa.

What to watch? Netflix had delivered L’Eclisse to my door that day, a film I had last seen as a moody teenager. The specifics were gone from my memory, but I remembered thinking Antonioni’s world was one I wanted to live in, despite its despondent themes (lovers exhausted in their relationship, the stock market crashing, urban isolation). It is beautifully shot, emphasizing the stark landscape of Rome’s modern architecture. Monica Vitti is a stunning beauty and wears a perfect little black dress. Longing looks, platinum hair, and the deep dark eyes of Alain Delon. Yes, please.

We feasted, We sipped, We watched. Before delving into, er, dessert We jotted a few notes about the wine:

Rioja, Campo Viejo 2006 (sample, retails for about $8.99)

She Said: Deep rich ruby color. On the nose an earthy woodsy-ness, red fruit, some vanilla. The flavors remind me of a blueberry bush and the earth it’s planted in: funky a bit sweet. Dusty tannins, and a sharp acidity which leads to a warm, rather flabby mouthfeel. Enjoyable, but not great. For the price (the $8.99, not the free sample price), seems like a good bargain. But I would go for a young Bordeaux with more structure, tannin, and fresher flavors.

He said: Very nice nose of dark fruit, spice and light vanilla. Earthy, spicy and flavors of dark fruit in the mouth. It has that certain spice that I am really starting to associate (and love) with Spanish reds. The finish is long, creamy and the vanilla shows up again. Medium-bodied with wood throughout and tannins that were a bit much in the first few sips but mellowed as the wine opened up. My love affair with Spanish wine continues and this bottle is a great value for $9.

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  1. It was so nice meeting you both at Wine Bloggers Conference. I couldn’t find a WBC post on your blog yet to comment on. Hope you don’t mind me doing it here.

    I was so frazzled after the speed tasting sessions that it didn’t sink in until you both walked away from our table that you were the Swirl Smell Slurp duo! Congratulations on your award. Sorry I didn’t mention it in person. I will be adding you to our blogroll soon. I love the design and photography and can see why you won. Well deserved.

    You can find the video diaries we recorded online at YouTube’s Wine Bloggers Channel. Our video blog is located at If you have any suggestions on content, I’d greatly appreciate any advice.

    As we discussed, I’d be happy to host you at Jordan during your next trip up to Northern California. Please let me know when you’re planning to be in the area again. Our accommodations book up fast during harvest.

    Best regards,
    Lisa Mattson
    The Journey of Jordan: a wine and food video blog

  2. Her says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for your comment.

    You have no need to apologize for not putting it together that it was us at WBC–because we weren’t there.

    Regardless, we appreciate the kind words about our blog. We were shocked and of course totally thrilled to win the award. I’ve enjoyed watching the mini-videos you’ve produced (especially when John Roberts is interrupted by a very Kanye-acting Josh Wade, complaining about our win. Did he call us “Swirl Smell Sloopers?”)

    We will contact when we are back in Northern California. It would be a delight to be reintroduced to Jordan.


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