Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An Enological Disappointment

Tonight's wine was a disappointment. That is a sad statement for any food and wine lover, particularly in France.

We were so excited. We had been looking for odds and ends to finish the two year old armoire project in the office. After making sure nothing of use was left under the beds, we began scrounging around in our cave (actually a cubby-hole in the wall off the main circular stairway of the building) , and we, or rather he (cubby-hole cave = 1 person at a time), stumbled upon a couple of old bottles of Pic Saint-Loup hiding under a pile of junk. They weren't even stained by the occasional dripping from the plumbing waste pipes that run through the space.

- Ben, viens, vite, vite, il y a une bouteille au-dessous ce merde! Il y en a deux! Apportes-moi une torche!

- What! What's wrong? A what?

- Une torche! Une lampe de poche! - pause - A flashlight! You idiot!

Ok, he didn't say the idiot part. But when you are not completely fluent in a language you always feel like some sort of demeaning qualifier is lurking underneath the conversation.

- Whaaa? Did you cut off your foot?

That was not a ridiculous question. This guy is not very handy, or mechanical, or adept at anything outside of the financial world.

- No, no, j'ai trouvé deux vielles bouteilles du vin.

And so he had. Two bottles of 1999 Pic Staint-Loup had slipped underneath a bunch of trash during the move and had lain there quietly, valiantly enduring the indignity of dust, dirt, pigeon feathers and worse.

What luck! Here in the middle of the start of maybe one of the possibly biggest economic crises of maybe, possibly, who knows, thousands of years, a couple of good bottles of wine which we, in our sincere respect and humble acknowledgment of the precarious future that we face would never have had the nerve to go out and buy... these bottles just fall in our lap.

Granted. Chateau Pétrus they never were or could be. But as a rule we don't pop open 10 year old bottles, even from modest houses. On a daily basis, we are thrilled to find a $5 bottle of simple table wine that doesn't burn as it goes down. The part of my family that hails from the region should be thrilled to know that we drink gallons of a simple, but charming little Beaujolais, not even a Beaujolais Village, that we horde by the truck load when we can find it, because it has a decent balance and a handful of bright and generous fruit and will last a good two days in the bottle. Not that an open bottle has ever really lasted two days in this place.

So this was going to be a fête. This might even merit springing for some decent cheese. And so I did.

But alas, the bottle did not hold up to our expectations. The color was excellent, body for days, it swirled in the glass like a first class winner. Ooops, the nose was a little off, not way off like something "corked", but a little dirty and nothing to make you anticipate the deep rich fruit that we remembered when it was younger. Sure nuf, most of it was gone, and nothing very elegant left in its place. It was ok. It was drinkable. But the magic was gone.

I'm guessing, no sex tonight.

1 comment:

wcs said...

Five dollars a bottle?! Man, you guys live high on the cochon.

Our everyday local stuff comes in at less than two euros a liter, and often closer to one. And it's good.

Of course, we buy en vrac from our local producers and bottle it ourselves.