Saturday, July 21, 2007

What To Drink On My Birthday?

Although I have a decent collection of nice wine, I have a hard time opening the really good stuff. No matter what the occasion I always find myself saying something like, Oh, it would be infanticide to open that one. Or I might think, I don't care if it is Thanksgiving, there were only 120 cases of this stuff imported. Other times I will look at what the wine is worth today and say to myself, No wine tastes that damn good! This wine is for selling, not for drinking. Although it pains me to do so, we decided that since Saturday was my birthday we would open up a couple of bottles of the good stuff.

We started with a beautiful chardonnay from one of the world's greatest terroirs, Batard-Montrachet. The wine was a 2001 Grand Cru from producer Bernard Morey. Although the '01 white Burgundies were for the most part overshadowed by the epic 2002 vintage, do not ignore 2001. There were some incredible wines produced in '01. While '02 generally produced rich, flamboyant wines with great fruit, the '01s I have tried have shown great structure and focus. In a blind tasting, however, I am sure I would guess the '01 B. Morey Batard-Montrachet to be an '02 due to it's richness and intensity. According to Burgundy Online, "While the white wines are in the barrels Bernard likes frequent batonnage (stirring up the lees or sediment at the bottom of the barrel to make wines thicker or “fatter”) and uses only natural yeasts." Golden in color, the wine is lush with notes of apple, pear, vanilla and lemon zest. The finish is extraordinary with creme brulee lingering on the palate for minutes. Although I do not believe this wine is available anymore, if you ever come across it I highly recommend you give it a try. 93 points.

We then moved on to one of our favorite Cabernets - Shafer Hillside Select. I have been hoarding a few bottles of the 1996 vintage, and as far as Napa Valley Cabernet goes it doesn't get much better than this. The '96 Hillside is at its pinnacle, so if you are holding onto any you will find that your patience has been rewarded. Fully mature, it has a rich bouquet of cherry reduction, cigar box, lavender, coffee and leather. Ruby red and medium bodied with firm, finely grained tannins, it feels like a top Pauillac in the mouth. Every component is so perfectly integrated that this wine is difficult to describe. The secondary flavors that come with maturation are present, but the wine has also retained its inviting array of lively red and black fruit. Lots of chocolate and espresso on the palate as well. 96 points. find this wine

Am I sad that I now have a few empty bottles of prized wine sitting in the recycling been? Not even a little bit. Both wines were drinking beautifully, and there is nothing worse than opening up what was once a great wine to find that it has passed its prime. Best of all, I was able to share the experience with my favorite tasting companion, traveling partner, dive buddy, cycling partner, confidant and best friend - my wife.


MsRebecca said...

Try with your eyes closed "eenie meeny minie moe.." I have the same exact problem...I stand there staring for what seems like forever.. which one.. which one.. Only to decide on something that's just so.. so.. It's a crazy wine lover's dance.. lol :o)

Brad Rothman said...

Tell me about it... If tell my wife that I am going down to the cellar for a minute to grab a bottle of wine, she'll roll her eyes because she knows it will be a solid twenty before she sees me again.