Every bottle has a story

I am not a wine expert, but with each bottle I try and share with friends, I learn more. Wine is an exceptional social drink; it is the marijuana of alcoholic beverages because it must be shared. I seek to share with you my thoughts and experiences as I drink the wine in my closet, as well as my enthusiasm for the finds that come my way and the excellent values that I find. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences too, so please share!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A red Burgundy like Mary

Similar to what I said in a previous post about white Burgundy, red Burgundy can also be very pricey and not always worth that cost. And even when the region has an outstanding year as it did in 2005, you can still find yourself paying a premium for a disappointment. Nonetheless, 2005 was a grand year for red Burgundy, with wines produced from that vintage showing superb class and finesse virtually across the board. And it’s quite possible that my previous “dud” was more related to how I was storing it rather than the wine itself. After all, my wine cellar is a closet.

Pinot Noir is the primary grape for red Burgundy, hence its ephemeral nature. It takes great skill to craft a wine from this delicate grape, and Bouchard Père & Fils does it again with the 2005 Gevrey-Chambertin, which I was able to find for just under $40. It’s been “cellaring” for a little more than 2 years in my closet, and last night became its moment.

My guests – Curt, Steven and Nathan – and I all agreed that while this wine was truly splendid, we didn’t want to mire ourselves with the same old tired descriptors. And as we discussed this wine’s subtle beauty, we gradually arrived at this wine’s character.

“This wine reminds me of Mary in ‘Gosford Park,’ in that the character Mary was very restrained, she was very reserved, but she was very astute, she knew what was going on,” I explained to my guests. “And this wine has a reserved character of intensity as well as, what? Tell me!”

Well, the discussion degenerated a bit into a puerile comparison, but alas we were saved by Curt.

“Think of a Scottish banker,” Curt said to our confused silences. “It just means she keeps it all to herself, that she is very reserved and conservative. She doesn’t share much with anybody, but when she does, she’s really generous. And that describes this wine.”

That was beginning to capture the experience, because despite the restraint, you could taste the bursting fruit and mineral tones while enjoying a delicate and beguiling boquete.

“The bouquet says she’s a coy little whore,” Stephen suggests. “She’s not going to tell you a whole lot about her trade, but you know what’s going on.”

“I don’t think that’s so,” Curt counters. “I think she’s an ingénue.”

“OK, so this is not Marilyn Monroe,” I say, running with the analogy, “this is Bridgette Bardot?”

“No, that’s all flash in the pan, and that’s not what this is about,” Curt retorts. This was beauty, he said, but an enduring and wholesome beauty, much like Mary in “Gosford Park,” Curt continued to say.

And then Nathan put it all into place: “It’s not trying hard to be what it is, because what it is is amazing.”

This beauty of a wine was served with an herb roasted chicken seasoned with fresh thyme, Rosemary, and lavender buds; beet greens prepared with bacon, onion, garlic, carrot, some sugar and apple cider vinegar; roasted potatoes; and a new beet preparation with sliced onion and a vinaigrette prepared with horseradish and champagne vinegar. When roasting the chicken, I basted using equal parts chicken broth and an inexpensive Pinot Noir from Smoking Loon.

It was an exceptional meal with a delicious wine that I shall rate with a 10 using my scale at the left.

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