The third and final installment of my favorite photo-chronicled and legal moments of 2010 is about wine. If wine bores you, you may want to skip this post.
This year I may have learned more about wine than I did food, having developed a much firmer opinion of the wines that I like to drink and purchase. I’ve learned a bit more of book knowledge, but mostly I drank and drank again and tasted a large variety of very nice wines, some of which I have no business sniffing at my age or income or level of wine experience. To the very kind friends that shared some of these wines with me…to say thanks doesn’t feel like enough. I hope I’m one day in a position to be as hospitable.
This was the year in wine for me where I confirmed I’m truly a Francophile with a preference for finesse and balance over power and intensity. A trip to Napa in November, along with some tastes of a few other Robert Parker lauded wines confirmed this. I did have some nice wines from Napa this year, though they were around 13% alcohol and were made in the 80′s.
So a few affirmations regarding my wine selections and what they represent:
- High quality vintage Champagne is an amazing treat and is worth the investment. Be it a special/long-term purchase, or a case of daily-drinking caliber bubbles, Champagne needs to be more proportionally represented in my small collection.
- As much as I like to say that I dig Burgundy over Bordeaux, it too also has a place in my cellar. Fine examples with age, to be exact. I realize that’s not an inexpensive prospect, but if I’m only going to taste it a few times a year, I want to taste wines the likes of the Conseillante, the Mouton, and the l’Évangile I tried. The balanced fruit is unreal.
- I’ve finally reached a point where I’m beginning to be able to pick out a few specific Burgundy vineyards that I can say I distinctly enjoy. Les Suchots in Vosne-Romanee is one of those. The Arnoux was probably my favorite red Burgundy of the year. Awesome.
- “Natural wine” is a controversial movement to some, but they’ve been doing it quietly for years in France. The young Sebastien Riffault, of a long-standing wine making family in the Loire valley, is making some of the more interesting and funky Sauvignon Blancs I’ve tried. Deep yellow, honeyed, rich but with a heavy streak of acid, his wines are just fun to drink.
- Sweeter Chenin Blanc is delicious, easily found, ages better than most of us will, and best of all, is extremely affordable.
- White Burgundy is an expensive, volatile, and angry beast. But it’s my favorite of all wines lately. There are these few moments, which I’ve probably had three to four of this year, where the awesomeness enveloped me and I was in a daze where all I wanted to do was keep gently sipping the wine and write the great American novel or some shit. But what seemed like a few moments later, the bottle would be gone. A magnum of Chardonnay from Criots-Batard-Montrachet was the longest lasting of these experiences, and perhaps the beginning of my downfall.
If you are into wine, I hope you have some nice bottles in 2011, best served anytime with good friends.
1. ’90 Krug,
2. ’61 Mouton Rothschild,
3. ’96 Robert Arnoux Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots ,
4. ’07 Sebastien Riffault Sancerre,
5. ’90 Prince Poniatowski Vouvray,
6. ’04 Fontaine-Gagnard Criots-Batard-Montrachet