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This story originally appeared in The Napa Valley Register.
There are few great wines in the world that will make people stop in their tracks. These are wines that we read about, talk about with reverence, and occasionally, if we are fortunate, we get to taste them.
One of these, probably the most famous of them all, is Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Burgundy, France.
I had the privilege to taste Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echezeaux, Cote de Nuits, France 1996 in a seminar at Pebble Beach Food and Wine a few years ago. It was my first time tasting Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and in all probability, I thought, my last.
These wines are sought after by wine collectors around the world and bottles will range from $2,000 to $20,000, or more. These stratospheric prices, combined with the limited production, make Domaine de la Romanée-Conti a wine for the wealthiest collectors in the world.
I like cucumbers. What is not to like about cucumbers, those long crunchy green members of the fruit family who are related to gourds and melon? Cucumbers add a refreshing crunch to our salads, they are a fat-free conduit for dips and they are wonderful to infuse in water. Cucumbers are also very healthy, fight inflammation, freshen breath, full of vitamins that manage stress and help digestive health. But other than putting them on a crudite plate, in a water glass or on top of your eyes after a long night, are cucumbers really that interesting in flavor? In Maude's June menu, cucumbers were the featured ingredient. As I reached out to friends to join me, many seemed unexcited by the featured ingredient. They wondered aloud, jokingly, if the meal would be cucumber crudite, tzatziki, raita and cucumber water. In general, I heard a few tell me they did not think it would be very interesting. Boy did those friends miss out! The team at Maude proved how diverse cucumbers are with a menu that was one of the best so far this year! As we sat down for our meal, we were surprised with a bottle of Champagne Aubry Brut Rose that was a gift for one of my companions for her birthday.  As we toasted the birthday girl and enjoyed our first sips, the first two bites of the night were served.