Thursday, December 2, 2010

A treasure trove of wine

Our wine fridge broke. It made vile grinding noises, then gurgled, then the temperature went haywire. So we bought another and yesterday went through the tedious process of transferring the contents.

We have all kinds of wine squirreled away. In addition to the fabulous Margaux we bought ten years ago (Chateau Margaux, 1996 and 1998) that we drool over every now and again (I can't tell you how we're looking forward to the point, sometime in the next ten years, when we can start on that!), we found some things we'd forgotten: some other Bordeaux, some very fine Barolos, a very tasty Rioja (Marqués de Riscal), even some Sauternes. I'm too kind to torment you with the Champagnes...

The big surprise, though, was the variety of American wines. I've always preferred Old School European reds; I like the structure. Most US wines don't have the soaring haughtiness I enjoy; they don't taste of dirt and sun. I've tried a zillion different grapes and wineries and vintages, including Opus Ones from the late nineties, and haven't been thrilled. There's something too...cheerful, or bouncy, or ingenuous (or something) about these wines. But tucked away we found some nifty-looking Pinot Noir (e.g. a 2005 Domaine Serene) that looks perfect for a special dinner we're having for friends on Friday. And then there's a 2001 Quilceda Creek (Cabernet Sauvignon) which was a gift when we moved into this house, which we carefully set aside for later. I'm thinking that, in the spirit of Anglo-American relations, it might be time to give it a go. K and I have an anniversary coming up. It might be just the thing.

We also found one bottle I can't get a handle on. It's a 1995 Chateau de Lamouroux Margaux--again not a label I know from direct experience. I'm pretty sure Lamouroux got folded into Rauzan-Ségla (we have some of that, too, yum--but, like the Chateau Margaux, not yet ready to drink) but I've seen mixed reviews and I just can't decide how special this one is. If you know, please share.

So what don't we have that we want? Some whites; I love Mersault, and Chassagne-Montrachet. Some Barbaresco (that's a wine I can't resist; it never lasts long in this house). Plus we're out of our Most Favourite Armagnac Eva, and I'd kill for a truly fine port. We had a bottle once, I don't even remember the name, that was meant to be 40 year-old stuff but, because the maker made a mistake, was actually mostly 100+ years. I savoured that, every drop, eyes shining with tears. And then it was gone.

But that's what makes wine so marvellous: it's ephemeral. No bottle tastes like any other: the wine changes, the drinker changes, the moment changes. One of the mysteries and miracles of life.

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