I’m usually an incredibly social person who loves conversation and parties, so it may be a bit of a surprise to hear that one of my favorite food and wine memories was of luxurious solitude.
It was 2000 and I was in Denver on business. Having recently celebrated my new marriage and my even newer dream job, I took some local advice and my generous expense account to Fourth Story, a charming restaurant above an independent bookstore.
These were the halcyon days of dotcom startups and well before the personal and public distractions of e-readers, smartphones and social media. I settled into my table with a good book plucked from the shelf in the bar.
For a warm-up, I ordered a salad of arugula and mixed greens with roasted figs and a slab of goat cheese with a balsamic reduction. Peppery, sweet and creamy, it all blended for a lustful salad.
My entrée included the selection of a 1997 Flora Springs Merlot to pair with lamb chops, seared medium rare and served with a hearty couscous that was carefully seasoned with mint.
The wine’s earthy currant and black cherry hit my nose first. But it was the blackberry note that complimented the savory, juicy lamb. The Flora Springs had an amazingly soft finish that left no doubt; I’d found myself a new treasure.
The service was indulgent and the relaxed pace of reading and feasting made the night feel like a vacation. As they say “nothing gold can stay” and Fourth Story has closed its doors. I’ve enjoyed my share of Flora Springs and other Merlots since then, but none can compare to that single glass, that single pairing, that luxurious moment of splendid solitude.
* Kristine Chu is a freelance writer and the owner of 3C Communication, a professional writing service. You can find her at 3ccommunication.elance.com.