2 years ago, my friends the Alexander-Mitchells served up my first taste of Chateau d’Yquem. It was a revelation. Crack cocaine in a bottle is how I think Andrew described it. Addictive, exquisite, utterly decadent. We drank it with dessert, of course, the dessert being grilled peaches served with an amaretto mascarpone cheese. We’ll get to that later.
I am not (was not) a fan of “dessert wines.” To my heretofore unsophisticated palate, these wines tasted somewhere between cough syrup and peach schnapps (which made me wildly sick my freshman year of college and has never, ever crossed my lips again.)
But the Alexander-Mitchells, well, they know a thing or two about a thing or two. And for this particular gathering, we had come together to drink 26 bottles of 1970 vintage Bordeaux over two nights. This isn’t as irresponsible as it might seem. To begin with, there were seven of us. Some of the bottles were undrinkable, others you really could only stomach a sip or two. And we generally started eating and drinking at around 5, and kept going well into the night, finishing the first night with some Graham’s 1970 vintage port and the second with a rather robust amount of scotch.
Handmade tasting cards next to the empty bottle of d’Yquem.
Some of the wines had turned into vinegar, and were ceremoniously dumped down the drain. Others bloomed in the glass, tasting like — one suspects — their youthful selves, but with more gravity. Others revealed themselves quickly, only to become ghostly and wispy, dying as we drank them. And some were the vinous equivalent of sitting with an aged aristocrat. Good breeding with an air of exhausted refinement. A skeleton in a smoking jacket.
But the Chateau d’Yquem. I was dubious. A disbeliever. Until Andrew set a glass in front of me. And my husband delivered a charming grilled peach with amaretto marscapone.
Everything I had experienced from a culinary perspective prior to this simple little dessert + wine pairing faded into the background. The d’Yquem, unlike the other Bordeaux wines we were drinking tasted utterly….drinkable. No contortions, no wispiness, no fleshy fruit lost, leaving just an acid spine in the glass. Instead, here was a confident, healthy wine. Elegant, relaxed. And with the peaches, it was maybe the best gastronomical combination to have passed my lips. All seven of us became silent…just sighing every once in a while, and a little too energetically to demonstrate our pleasure.
We had a second bottle the next night, where the charming wine —again— raced effortlessly to the head of the Bordeaux pack. The honeyed encore: nutty, rich, luxurious…luscious. It was obscenely luscious.
I haven’t had d’Yquem since that weekend. But as the summer begins to make itself known, I think about peaches. And whenever I think about sweet, unctuous peaches, I think about my voluptuous d’Yquem.
Denis Kelly’s Grilled Peaches with Amaretto Mascarpone
In the absence of Chateau d’Yquem, serve the peaches with a Gewürztraminer.
1/4 c. mascarpone cheese
2 TBSP packed brown sugar
2 tsp amaretto
4 peaches, peeled, halved and pitted
1/2 c. brown sugar
4 amaretti Italian cookies, crushed
1/2 basket raspberries
Mix the mascarpone, brown sugar and amaretto to make the amaretto mascarpone
Prepare grill (clean well and rub with oil)
Dip the cut side of the peaches into 1/2 c. brown sugar. Grill cut side down for 2 minutes, covered. Flip and grill for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Top each peach with a dollop of mascarpone mixture in the hole where the pit was. Sprinkle with crushed cookies and garnish with raspberries.