Is There Too Much Of A Good Thing?
Assuming you like wine ( otherwise, I don’t think you would be reading this blog), what would you say of a prospect of trying many hundreds of wines in a day ( about 5 hours, to be precise)? I would think at first you would get excited, right. Now, let’s do some simple math – let’s say you will be tasting 500 wines, 1 oz each… will make it equal to 20 (!) bottles of wine. Don’t think that sounds appealing anymore? This is where the bucket with romantic name “spittoon” comes to the rescue (I’m sure many of you are appalled now – what, spit wines?! No way!) – but this is what the professionals have to do. So why is all this talk about professionals and wasted wine? Simply because that this past weekend, thanks to my friend Zak, an owner of Cost Less Wine and Liquors store in Stamford, I was able to join him in the “trade-only” wine tasting events run by two of the Connecticut wine wholesalers, Wine Bow and World Wide Wines.
Believe it or not, tasting wines in such quantities is a hard work. Of course nobody tastes 50o wines in the row – spitting or not, but your palate gets really tired from tasting and tasting and tasting, and while I’m looking only for the fun component of such an event, people in the trade have to actually make business decisions – getting right wines for the store or a restaurant is a border line between success and failure. Luckily, this hard work is associated with pleasure, so enough of the sad picture – no need to take pity. Yes, it is a great opportunity to try an amazing variety of wines, a lot of them being simply great wines, and for me personally it was also an opportunity to make progress in the treble journey ( which I did), but I will report on this in the next post.
It is impossible ( and probably pointless) to write about all the great wines – but I would like to mention a few highlights. First, among the Cabernet Sauvignon, Neyers Ranch Conn Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 and 2006 were simply outstanding, with pure Cabernet expression of black currant, chocolate and hint of eucalyptus, all beautifully balanced. Ladera Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Lone Canyon and Howell Mountain were all between excellent and outstanding – again, with beautiful and clean California Cabernet expression at its best. It is also worth mentioning that all of these wines are quite accessible with retail prices at $30 – $60 per bottle. Few more personal highlights among the reds were Morgan Monterey Syrah 2007 (less than $20 retail), amazing 100% Syrah demonstrating all the “textbook” Syrah spicy qualities, and then couple of Zinfandels, Bradford Mountain Dry Creek and Bradford Mountain “Grist” by C. Donatiello Winery, both from 2005.
There were a lot of great white wines, but I would like to mention only one, again as personal favorite – the wine called Eisrebe by Joseph Phelps. This is desert wine made from the grape called Scheurebe ( that was a nice surprise for my “treble journey”), and it is done in the style of the Ice wines, except that as there is no chance for the grapes in California to naturally freeze at -8C, special cryogenic methods used to achieve “ice” wine result. The wine had an amazing balance of the white fruits, honey and ripe comice pears with refreshing acidity, so it was not overpowering the palate. Amazingly enough to me, this wine was also perfectly complementing wide variety of desserts, which is not very common from my experience.
All in all – it was a great fun, and I have to conclude that when it comes to the wine tasting, there can be no too much of a good thing (well, a “good thing” is an important hint here), and therefore I will gladly repeat it at any time.