Just a bit of sediment.

This was a Rock Wall Wine Company 2013 Jack’s Dry Creek Vineyard Petite Sirah. I paired it with a round roast for dinner last night. The world’s most wonderful woman, Testa Rossa gifted me a sous vide cooker for xmas last year, and I’ve been cooking up a storm with it ever since. (The best so far have been some pork ribs, which I slow cooked for days prior to finishing on the grill with wood chips providing the smoke.) At the moment she is gone to visit her sister, leaving me alone with the dogs for the weekend. Day before yesterday, I sealed and cooked a 2.5lb round roast for 24 hours. When it finished yesterday I drained the juices from the bag into a saucepan and then was pulling the roast out of the bag to sear atop the stove in a pan when it slipped out and landed on the kitchen floor with a loud, wet “PLOP!” I snapped it up, and put it in the pan, loudly spewing a string of four-letter words throughout.

This was only the start of a comedy of errors.

I grabbed this Rock Wall Petite Sirah, (one bottle from a half-case I purchased in 2015 around the time I met the lovely Testa Rossa, to accompany my meal) – both as a drink and as an ingredient. I poured off some into that small saucepan with some butter to make a reduction sauce. The roast meanwhile, sizzled in a larger pan which had been used previously in making some pepper-bacon. The hope was to make a nice crust around the roast with the dry rub it wore in the sous vide (well, what was left of it after it’s rapid deceleration on the tiles of the kitchen floor… now being cleansed by the happy tongues of two canines) and the pepper and bacon grease layer of the pan. My grand plan was to make a salad, perhaps roast some veggies as well, and sit alone for a nice dinner with a tablecloth and even perhaps, a candle.

Just me and the dogs.

The dogs of course would have their own meal, and have that served in bowls on the floor. But still, it would be a semi-formal affair.

I set the small saucepan to simmer, and worked the roast around to bark it up as best I could. Setting it upon a carving board to rest, I couldn’t resist a slice to have a taste. It was impeccably cooked. A perfect medium rare, with a uniform pinkness edge-to-edge, and a nice crunchy black bark. I poured off the juices from the board into the simmering sauce and left the kitchen to attend some evening tasks.

Sadly, those tasks waylaid me quite a bit longer than I initially estimated, to the point that I completely forgot my dinner plans altogether…

…until I stepped back inside the house.

Ah, carbon! That most elemental of odors, is what confronted my nose the moment I stepped over the threshold. The reduction had indeed reduced, as far as stovetop chemistry would allow. I now had a saucepan of the sixth element, carbon. The fourth most common element of the universe, and the Achilles heel of Freshman Chemistry majors since Wöhler synthesized Urea in 1828. Any attempt to separate the carbon from the saucepan was futile, so I let it cool and figured I’d soak it in dihydrogen monoxide overnight. I sliced off three more bits of my roast, wrapped the rest and placed it in the fridge, poured myself a generous amount of the Petite Sirah, and sat down on the couch with some Netflix, and beef.

The wine? Delicious. Punching way above its weight as Petite Sirah often does. Terrific nose. Big, but softened with age on the palette. Yummy goodness on the finish. The beef long gone, with each of the loyal canines getting three tiny nibbles apiece, I continued to pour glasses as the movie unwound. The final glass, poured in the darkness of a world lit only by fourteen and a half square feet of Korean OLED, I clearly overtipped my hand and filled the bottom with a rather large amount of sediment. I only realized this as the credits scrolled by and I knocked back the last of my glass, and felt an avalanche of grit fill my mouth.

It was a fitting end for the meal.

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