Saturday, June 09, 2007
Wine and Life
After my sister went home, I found myself wandering down the wine aisle of the nearby down-home market looking for a local treat. I bought a bottle with a hand-drawn-looking label and a grape I'd never heard of, Maréchal Foch, from Serendipity Cellars in Monmouth. I took it to my empty family house and opened it. It poured black. It clung purple to the sides of the glass. It tasted astringent and rich, as if it would age well. I bought a couple more bottles and threw them in my suitcase.
A dozen years later I opened the oldest wine in my crawl space to complement a meaty dinner. The Maréchal Foch was lighter in color. It had developed fruit and depth and finish. Right away I called the number on the bottle to order a case. The woman who answered took my order. When I gave my shipping address she asked, "Were you in my class at Corvallis High School?"
I admitted that I had spent a year at Corvallis High School. She got her yearbook and said, "There you are right next to Bruce Ito!" Cheryl Frad had married a guy from a nearby Willamette Valley town, they had kids and built a family vineyard and winery. I ordered a case of the 1993.
The next year I ordered case of 1994 Maréchal Foch. I was on the Serendipity Cellars mailing list. It announced tastings and tours and awards their wines had won. It had occasional personal snippets that indicated that number one son was not very interested in the family vineyard. A few years later the newsletter announced that Serendipity Cellars was closing. I never visited Serendipity Cellars. I never heard from Cheryl again.
Last night I slow cooked a batch of spicy ribs on the barbie. I went down to the cellar to find the oldest bottle of wine that would stand up to the ribs. I still had a bottle of the 1993 Maréchal Foch and a bottle of the 1994.
I opened both of them. The 1993 had mellowed and complexified nicely. The 1994 was a tad sharper, but also excellent. My wife tasted them both. She liked the 1993 better but said, "These aren't such a big deal." I told her I liked them because I understood where they came from. Both bottles stood up to the ribs. The fruit gushed off the top to complement the meat's spice and charred edge.
A day later, they're both still drinkable. The 1993 is a little bit sour. The 1994 is even better than it was yesterday with tastes of cinnamon, dark chocolate and new leather.
There's no serendipitous moral here, just a guy looking at a couple of almost-empty wine bottles on a one-way trip that's decidedly not off-the-shelf.
Technorati Tags: wine
Both versions perfectly applicable and oenologically charming.
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email me andre AT adegga . com if you are interested.
Cheers from Portugal!
Far too busy
Far too far behind in my reading (paper and electronic)
I have to say amen to Pontus
No Wood's Hole this year, gathered family (parents, siblings, daughters, grandson) for a birthday.
60 down 60 to go
Keep up the good work(s)
Bravo to finding the enjoyment in a bottle of wine that most people search for in a lifetime. the sights and smells you remember from it will stay with you and bring you many happy memories!