Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why I Love Bordeaux So Much

I drink lots of different wines every year. From lots of countries, lots of different regions, appellations, and varieties. And I certainly have my favorites.

Some wines are easy to like. How about wines from Sicily like Terre or any number of charming Chianti Classico Riservas or even Brunello di Montalcinos? Many of them show well young, they don't need extended ageing, and they don't have harsh tannins in their youth or go through periods of being "closed" or "tight".

And while I love all those wines, too, all for their sense of place and unique ability to pair with the foods originating from the same places...there are few wines I love as much as Bordeaux.

You might ask why that is, and the answer is somewhat multifaceted and long winded. 

For one thing, Bordeaux was my first true (wine) love. I fell in love with Bordeaux early on when I discovered I liked it a lot better than the California Cabernets I had been drinking at business dinners. These wines had more depth, more soul, and more character than their California counterparts (on average) and that appealed to me.

But it isn't just about the wines themselves...once I was hooked, there were the business dinners at Bacar in San Francisco with good friends on Monday nights when we would order bottles 50% off and not only did I learn to love Bordeaux, but also aged Bordeaux. My friend Rick (thanks buddy) who afforded me the privilege to try wines out of his extensive cellar of aged 80s Bordeaux further deepened my liking for these wines.

And then there was the trip we took to Bordeaux in 2006. A trip of many firsts. My first trip to taste wine, my first pilgrimage to the French wine producing regions I love so much, my daughter's first birthday and the best croissants I have ever tasted to this day (sold by an old lady out of her bedroom window facing the main street in a village near St. Emilion). 

Other things I remember are the dinners at L'Envers du Decor, the walks through the vineyards, the owner of the trinket store across from our lunch spot in St. Emilion who would always insist on holding my daughter by our lunch table so we could eat in peace for 10 minutes. The Inn owner Willy who told us to grab an unoccupied room to watch the Italy-Germany soccer World Cup match and the waterfall and bird that ran/flew through our room later that week. And the calm, balmy night we sat outside in the courtyard drinking wine and eating cheese and baguette.

Every time I drink Bordeaux, all these memories flood into my conscience as if on command, and it makes it easy for me to feel euphoric.

Just like most stories, this one has an arc....Then came the years when Bordeaux became a status symbol. A thing to collect and revere rather than to drink. And I told myself I didn't need Bordeaux wine. I despised it for a while and the people involved in the game who I thought were selling their soul at the altar of Robert Parker and easy money.

But in the last year or so, I have realized that while I can't play with the big dogs and buy the silly expensive stuff, that this wasn't what attracted me about Bordeaux in the first place. I like the simplicity of it and the expression of the wines, and there will always be some wines I can afford that still give me that feeling. Tonight's Sociando Mallet and the Beausejour Becot from a week ago reminded me of this again...and I am glad I have decades worth of Bordeaux in my cellar so I can relive the memories all the time.

But memories are just that. I have been itching for some time to go back to Bordeaux, so maybe I'll refresh my memories sometime soon. This time with a more mature family and maybe some good friends. Because that is how Bordeaux is best consumed...with friends and family over good food, making eternal memories along the way.

Not #wine relayed but if you love really good Espresso and have a Nespresso machine, you owe it to yourself to try these Vergagno Espresso pods. They taste just like real Italian Espresso made in a ristorante/trattoria. Not to mention they CRUSH the Nespresso pods in terma of taste and are at least $.15 per pod cheaper than the Nespresso pods. Super rich, super dark, super tasty and aromatic. #coffee #italy #espresso #tasty #therealthing #caffeevergagno

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2003 Sociando Mallet with dinner tonight. First bottle of this I've opened and this #wine is ready to drink. Wide open for business and the most accessible Sociando Mallet I have ever tried. Just tons of fruit in this and the tannins are downright pleasant. Classic Medoc nose of tobacco and pencil shavings and black currant on the palate all the way. Very clean wine. Finish is a tad shorter than I expected. Ready to drink now and no need to wait. #france #bordeaux #medoc #leftbank #goodstuff #food #foodwine

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