November 15, 2018
Greetings from Carrboro,
That first time, his father drove. He was 8 or 9. And it took them nearly a week from Ohio. Some stretches of road were hard dirt and gravel. Gas station maps were often worthless and road signs were rare. But my father didn’t remember any of that. No. Dad remembered the palm trees and flowers and sitting at dusk on his great-uncle’s back stoop watching trapdoor spiders.
I assume that the love affair started right then and there. California – in all her guises – seduced my father for the rest of his life. Our home had a coffee table made from the stump of a redwood. There was a tiki glass from Trader Vic’s proudly displayed on his bar. And Napa Valley cabernet made him swoon. The few precious bottles that he guarded in the bottom of our hall closet, I have to this day. Oh, I’m sure that the wine is undrinkable. But the bottles remind me of him, a clumsy nostalgia for the man and his many dreams.
To be clear, my father was a Lancer’s man pre-1976. My guess is that Chateau Montelena’s 1973 chardonnay changed that for good. You see, for the first time, a California wine won the prestigious Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976, soundly beating its oh-so-famous French cousins. The result shocked the world. All of a sudden, wine from Napa Valley was worthy of serious attention. And my father was more than happy to oblige.
Throughout the intervening 40-odd vintages, Chateau Montelena has remained at the pinnacle of Napa Valley vintners. And the way I see it, what better way to kick off the 2018 holiday season than with a dinner featuring their stunning wines. The winery has generously given us access to an older vintage to pour that night. Lucky us. And, well, you’re invited. Lucky you.
The Acme wine dinner with Chateau Montelena. Wednesday, November 28th. We’ll get started at 6:30. Menu is below. Tickets are $80 and can only be purchased by calling the restaurant (919-929-2263). A credit card number is required. Seating is limited and tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis. We expect the dinner to sell out.
Strangely, there was a serious earthquake the last time my father went to California. It was October 1989 – some 50 years after that first visit – and the quake disrupted the World Series between Oakland and San Francisco. Power was out everywhere. So were phone lines. People were panicked. But all over San Francisco restaurants spontaneously started serving food on the streets. And pouring wine. When he got home to Charlotte, Dad told me how that crazy, California night turned into a perfect, magical party. “How I wish,” he said, “that you could have been there.”
Well, that’s all the news from Carrboro. The staff at Acme look forward to serving you soon.
The Staff at Acme
The Acme Wine Dinner with Chateau Montelena
6:30 in the evening
chinese broccoli, mango, ginger
2016 Chateau Montelena Riesling
Mushroom & salmon hand pie
shaved fennel, baby mustard greens
2015 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay
Smoked pork cheeks
quince, butternut squash
2014 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel
Grilled filet mignon
perfect mashed potatoes, red wine gastrique
2006 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Cookies & chocolate