Last week Matt and I were invited to visit Hudson Ranch to forage for our Sunday Tasting at Silverlake Wine. We invited our friend, an enthusiastic foodie and music/fashion/celebrity photographer Autumn de Wilde to come along. The three of us didn't really know what to expect, but Lee Hudson made it perfectly clear once we got there and he showed us his pigs. "Let's get on the phone and see if (Silverlake Wine) wants to buy one."
"I'll buy one," Matt proclaimed, cutting to the chase, and taking Lee a bit off guard like he does anyone who has never tasted his food and experienced his talent. How could this sloppily dressed kid with the backwards hat and clipboard take anything seriously, especially business and fine dining?
We've all asked this question (yes, even me nearly five years ago when I first met him in the restaurant where we both worked), and we all have been surprised and a bit awestruck at just how gifted Matt is at both of these skills. As much as I try to get him to leave his hat at home and put his clipboard down, it is his vision and actions that matter most in defining him and today, for those who made reservations, it will be plated for tasting as Lee himself, down from Napa, pours from his own divine vintages that will then be available for sale at Silverlake Wine.
A special day today, indeed.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR TRIP TO NAPA:
One. The most candied tomato I have ever tasted. I owe Lee some money because I picked a number I can not recall from the vine and shoved them in my mouth, one after the other, after the other, fearing that I may never taste anything so sweet and so accessible again.
Two. Autumn with her bad ass medium format film camera. She shoots film. Only. She is an artist who isn't known for shooting food but will start to be after the processing is done from this trip.
Three. Matt, with his hat and his clipboard.
Four. Grapes growing at Hudson Ranch where 30 wineries source from. This massive private ranch employs incredibly talented and dedicated farmers who patiently answered our questions and supplied the most useful advice, "Anyone can have a garden, all you need is a plastic bucket, some dirt, and water."
Thank you Lee and Christine for graciously putting us up in "The Dog House" and allowing us to explore your treasured Napa farm whose sustainable and ethical operations should be industry standard.