20060107

It's that time of year when...

It can be hard finding a drinking buddy. New Year's resolutions are still fresh from the oven and more people than usual want to swoop in for a roll on the wagon. Maybe that's my perception. I have been unrelentingly focused on wine lately. Any abstain-from-drinking developments are bound to seem more pronounced to me than they really are. Whatever the case, I feel I may be destined to move to pubby Ireland. When the dryness is this palpable I have to say less is definitely not more.

Or is it? Some people who are laying off the vino know what they are doing. Like the Quaffability people, who are quite smart. They organize a leave of absence from drinking right about now. This is a wise idea and I know from personal experience that taking a bit of a timeout can nourish your appreciation of wine in the long run. So those people aren't really on the wagon. They're climbing up on it only so they can take a better plunge. It's like they've got a little sidecar temporarily attached to it. Eventually they figure they've had enough of the ride; they take the pin out of the preload slot and spin off onto the shoulder. (You know that these types of people are so smart they have a bottle ready with them when this happens -- they'll be gleefully uncorking it in plain view of the passing wagon... yeah. Smart.)

Aside from vacation from the drink, there are vacations, period. This is yet another reason why I don't see people drinking: I just don't see them at all. A good friend of my bottles, Jane, went off to Cuba for the holidays. She finally was back in town last night. It was a long wait for a toast to the new year with her scampering all around Santiago and Havana, dulling her appetite for wine all the while. I suspected she was now on vacation from the sauce, but no, not really. That's just what Cuban wine can do to you. While my holiday trip to Niagara was in part organized so I could drink more wine, take a jaunt to the Caribbean and you'll learn to start avoiding the stuff. Or go glass half-full and redirect your palate to something the locals are more apt to specialize in, like coffee. Jamie Goode has taken time to do that. Thanks to a Cuban coffee souvenir, Jane has allowed me to do that too. (Too bad she missed out on my Niagara souvenir on New Year's Eve, Thirteenth Street's Funk Blanc de Blancs 1999, which I received from my sister in exchange for a Bandol from Chateau Pradeaux.)

Mmm... Bandol. I'll skip that coffee appreciation night. On top of all of the teetotaling types above, the time is ripe for running into the people with sore throats and stuffed-up noses. Partaking in anything wine-related is a total waste when you've got a cold. So there's yet another potential drinking partner down the drain. I haven't had a cold yet this season. In publishing that, I may have summoned the kiss of death. Ruinous! No matter: I shall pretend to carry on as usual and not be too hasty. Here's the current haul I revere in expectancy of that special moment with friends:


  1. Barbi Brunello di Montalcino 1997

  2. Château de Chamirey Mercurey 2002

  3. Domaines Barons Rothschild Réserve Spéciale Pauillac 2001

  4. Pascal Bouchard Vieilles Vignes Chablis 2000

  5. Karly's Ten Point Buck Zinfandel Armador County 2001

  6. Hillebrand Estates Glenlake Vineyard Merlot Niagara Peninsula 1995

  7. Château de Parenchère Cuvée Raphael Bordeaux Supérieur 2001

  8. Vineland Estates St Urban Riesling Niagara Peninsula 1994 (John please save me one to buy!)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Barbi Brunello di Montalcino 1997 - probably still fairly tannic; no rush.

# Château de Chamirey Mercurey 2002 - White or red, it is almost certainly delicious now, so why wait?

# Domaines Barons Rothschild Réserve Spéciale Pauillac 2001 - never had this, so I won't comment.

# Pascal Bouchard Vieilles Vignes Chablis 2000 - probably perfect now and may be nearing the end of its "design life". Why take a chance? Carpe vinum...

# Karly's Ten Point Buck Zinfandel Armador County 2001 - Don't know, won't comment.

# Hillebrand Estates Glenlake Vineyard Merlot Niagara Peninsula 1995 - Idem.

# Château de Parenchère Cuvée Raphael Bordeaux Supérieur 2001 - this is the top cuvée of a very reliable producer, in a "classic" year. No rush, but probably very good now.

# Vineland Estates St Urban Riesling Niagara Peninsula 1994 (John please save me one to buy!) - Never had this one either. It probably is very interesting.

g58 said...

Started the uncorking with #4 two weekends ago. The Bouchard Chablis was a hit with friends. Glad I was able to save it long enough to share it like that. With all the chards out there this one really stands out from the crowd. I guess that's why this and Chablis like it are not exactly cheap.

g58 said...

Hillebrand Estates Glenlake Vineyard Merlot Niagara Peninsula 1995 -- currently swimming in the ocean right about now. This past week it was opened and at first sip it almost seemed alright. Minutes later it was the usual thing -- turning hideous in the open air of the room. But dinner end's it was so foul that upending it in the sink was actually a rewarding experince.

g58 said...

Two out of three ain't bad... Last weekend I opened the third of my "Waiting to Uncork" winelist -- Karly's, the sole American bottle -- for Oscar night. It was definitely better than the 1995 Merlot disappointment. Still, Buck's Ten Point was a little simpler than the complex wine I remember tasting at the wine store. It seemed too one-note for $30 price tag, but it was delicious in its full-on jammy attack.

g58 said...

Hey, me again. Forgot to post my full notes on bottle #3 from my list. It's a Pauillac -- my first real one. See this entry.

Now I'm half-way through my list of special bottles. The final four consist of a tannic Brunello, an age-worthy Bordeaux, a sturdy Bourgogne Pinot and a very special Riesling. They will be likely be spaced out over time as they ease into their lengthy design lives.

g58 said...

Oops. I guess I lied in my last comment.

Last Sunday I uncorked the Château de Chamirey Mercurey 2002, a Pinot Noir that was supposed to peak in 2007. I had my reasons not to wait another six months, among those the fact that it was a half-bottle and that it was languishing in the uneven ageing environment that is my un-air-conditioned apartment. I was also in process of buying other Mercureys that were discounted during a limited-time sale at the SAQ, so tasting this was instructive and helped inform my purchases.

Anyway, this Rodet product was very good and seemed quite capable of still maturing.