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!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Team bonding always easier with wine

When one's wine cellar is a closet, the anxiety experienced prior to tasting something you've kept there for several years can vacillate between clinging fear and scintillating excitement. Such was my array of emotions whilst preparing a dinner party for my work colleagues - including my boss. I had several wines that I thought were ready for drinking, but there was always the risk that one or more of them might have turned.

By the way, I found this "scientific document" that explains what heat does to wine and what you can expect given the storage conditions you have. Closest thing I've found to having a mathematical method for determining when you ought to stop saving that bottle and drink it now.

On the menu was a boneless leg of lamb with spinach, goat cheese, and pine nuts. This was served with a beet salad made with horseradish and Champagne vinegar. The beet greens were cooked and reduced with bacon, cider vinegar, some sugar, and red pepper flakes. For 10 people I had plenty of beets, but barely enough greens for everyone to have a taste, and the greens were awesome. You can buy other greens at the market, but I have never seen beet greens sold separately from the root. Yet you often find just the whole beet without the greens. Where do they go?

The years 2005 and 2006 were both great vintages for the southern Rhône and I had a Châteauneuf-du-Pape for each year, the Les Sinards from Perrin & Fils, and a bottle of Domaine La Roquète respectively. The Les Sinards came out brick red as we decanted, which can be a problematic sign at times. The wine was good, no doubt, expressing that sturdy mineral quality and earthiness the region is famous for. But after we finished that bottle and poured the Domaine La Roquète, we had found the superior of the two wines. Still had that bright mineral quality, but there was noticeable fruit of light blackberry and a bit of cherry. It's bouquet was light with fruit as well, making it an all-around wonderful experience.

I still have one more bottle of the Les Sinards, and based on the one opened for this night, I suspect I need to drink it soon. But who knows? That other bottle may be just fine. And I have two more of the Donaine La Roquète, which I have to add was a tremendous bargain when I found it. I paid just $19 for each bottle, and after that find, I saw that other retailers were asking $42 per bottle for it. It does pay to shop for wine in World Market from time to time!

There was enough lamb left over that I shall be making stew soon. And I wonder what wine I will make that with?

I rate the Les Sinards with an 8.5 and the Domaine La Roquète a 9.5 using my scale at the left.

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