Friday, January 20, 2006

Baby Bordeaux

"Bottle of Wine
Fruit of the Vine
When You Gonna Let Me Get Sober?"

Those were the words to a song my parents taught me when I was about two years old. I really took to the song, and apparently everyone thought it was adorable when I sang it. Everyone except my nursery school teachers, that is.

Parts of the song's message must have sunk into my psyche. Everyone who knows me is aware that I've developed a strong relationship with the grape, especially over the past few years. Not so much that it owns me, of course, but enough that I hope to enjoy a few of those heart-healthy red wine benefits down the road.

Naturally, I was ecstatic on Christmas, when Cooper's parents gave us a gift certificate for Bordeaux futures. A local wine store was selling advance cases and half cases of the 2003 vintage and we were able to pick out a case and a half.

The half case we ordered was much fancier than anything we'd usually drink: the Chateau Duhart-Milon, a part of the Lafite family. When we get these bottles later this year, I can guarantee that we'll be putting them in a very safe place, only to see the light of day for the most special of occasions.

But the full case we ordered was a little more within our usual scope. The Cap de Faugeres is definitely a little nicer than our usual bottle of wine, but it's not such a stretch from our everyday that I didn't open a bottle immediately upon picking up the case yesterday:

cap de faugeres
Originally uploaded by Kit Pollard.

One of the younger guys at the store (who has a tendency to crack me up showing off at the wine bar) stopped me on my way out the door to tell me that he'd tasted the wine just the day before. "It's showing big," he said. He talks like that. Uses a lot of wine shorthand. Makes me laugh.

Anyway, as soon as I got home, I decanted the wine, so it wouldn't be too "big" and young by dinnertime. Unfortunately, we don't own a decanter. But we do have a big, blue, plastic Tupperware pitcher:

wine in pitcher
Originally uploaded by Kit Pollard.

The Pollard home is nothing if not full of class.

Just after the initial pour, I stuck my nose in the pitcher, which was much like sticking my nose in a bottle of grape juice. The wine was so dark purple it was nearly black, and the aroma wasn't exactly nuanced.

A few hours later, as we sat down to dinner (NY strips, broccoli and potatoes - we thought it would be nice if the meal had a lot of flavor, as we expected the wine to make us pucker), the wine had mellowed a little. Oh, my first sip was intensely acid, but the color and the aroma were a little less intense. By the second sip, the flavor was much softer, though I wouldn't call it soft. Even the color had settled down a little. It wasn't so black anymore.

I'm terrible with describing the taste of wine in evocative terms and, anyway, the fruitiness of this particular bottle made it difficult to detect any sort of nuance. We have high hopes, though. The rest of the case is going right into our basement (future home of the Pollard wine cellar - an effort that will imply that we can keep more than three unopened bottles in the house at one time). And we'll do our best to keep our hands off it for a few years.

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