Monday, January 22, 2007

Precious Memories and Red Wine - How They Linger

Last week I decided it was time to go through some of my "library" wines and open a few. I am reminded of an older couple I was visiting with one day. In the past they had been great collectors of wine. As they started reaching their senior years they stopped collecting as much and now mostly buy wines that they are going to enjoy now. Their reason was "why should we age wines that we may not be around to enjoy?" Not that I plan on going anywhere soon - -

Some of my bottles of wine bring back memories. I can often remember who I was with or even the conversations in the winery and what brought me to purchase a particular wine. A bottle of Three Rivers Sangiovese - 2000 is such a wine. A good friend and serious wine drinker, Julie from Chicago (aka "Jules de Lago the Toast of Chicago" if you're a Bette Midler fan) was in Walla Walla visiting during the Christmas holidays. She will never live down how she pronounced Syrah in her charming Chicago accent in the Three Rivers tasting room. We later had a good laugh over it. To even the score, Jules will remind me from time to time the mortified look that came over my face when she asked for that glass of "Sear-ah." We bought our wine and later headed over to Walla Walla’s beloved Pastime CafĂ© (a precious memory for over four generations) for dinner. Even Jules, a vegetarian, could not resist a taste of the crispy almost-charred pepperoni rounds my sister Caren and I ordered on the side with our lasagna. Jules said it brought back memories of her mother’s fried salami sandwiches in Chicago.

Earlier last week I opened that bottle of Three Rivers Sangiovese - 2000. The grapes were from the Pepperbridge vineyard. I was surprised at how smokey the nose was, but I could still taste the essence of plums it had when I first tasted it in December of 2001. What impressed me the most was the finish - it lingered and lingered with bursts of nutmeg.

Mid-week I opened a bottle of Forgeron Cellars Merlot - 2001. I remember where I was when I first sipped this dark Merlot. It was my first day on the job at the tasting room in August of 2003 and it was also the first day of this release. I am happy that I have a few extra bottles of this vintage tucked way. It is deep in cherry flavor, yet very smooth - velvety. And much like the Three Rivers Sangiovese, this Merlot had a wonderful long finish. It lingered of vanilla and rich dark cocoa.

Friday evening, I opened a bottle of Woodward Canyon’s second label - Nelm’s Road. It was a bottle of Merlot - 2002. No particular memories tied to this wine. I had just made chicken Parmesan from scratch with radiatore pasta and looking for a red to pair. I closed my eyes and picked from the red section in my wine closet and there it was! It turned out to be an excellent choice, too. The nose was interesting and almost difficult to describe. It was very yeasty with a hint of tomatoes. A sip of the wine brought out a mouthful of cherries with undertones of almond. Again, the finish went on and on - a lingering finish that hinted of chocolate covered cherries.

Besides all three wines being from Walla Walla, what they all had in common was the finish. Each wine showcasing how well they were crafted and the quality of grapes. There are more memories to uncork in my wine library.

1 comment:

Jules said...

Ahhh, yes... the humiliating moment of me mispronoucing Syrah. Catie was enjoying a pleasant conversation with one of the staff at Three Rivers and almost dropped when she heard me ask if they had any "Seer-a". I chalk it up to too much wine tasting. What can I say, Walla2 has fabulous wine - I couldn't help myself!

To this day, one of my Walla2 favorites is L'Ecole's Schoolhouse Red.