A New Year and a Whole Lotta Bottles of Wine

11 Jan

Another year, another few scores of bottles of wine.  I’m not sure if the start of a new year necessarily engenders hope and thankfulness–usually, I feel more of a mix of relief and a creeping feeling that maybe my life is slipping past me–but 2009 in Washington, DC, has found me in a very thankful mood.

For one, I’m living in a nice, comfortable apartment with great food.  I have a wonderful family that I appreciate more as I get older; great friends.  I am going to a good law school with outstanding professors and classes.  I have nothing to complain about, and I am going to try to be more appreciative of the incredible opportunities I’ve been given.

To kick off the new year, my roommate and I hosted a champagne and sparkling wine tasting, the details of which will be coming out in the upcoming Nota Bene (GW Law student newspaper); I will write up my blog observations on that evening a bit later.  Suffice it to say that the big winner in the tasting were a beautiful sparkler from France, the Charles de Fere Blanc de Blanc Reserve Brut ($12.99)–was, as I described it, “the group’s favorite, with a nose of hazelnut and toast, a light, almost ethereal mouthfeel, and notes of apple and pear.”

But I have to lay rest some unfinished deeds from the previous year, too.  I went to Mission Wines five times over break (1.33 times per week I was at home), during which I merely stopped by twice for bottles, attended a weekend tasting with some LegalZoom friends, drank some excellent wines with my high school friends, and visited with my roommate from DC, Alex.  Managed to catch up with people like Dave, Debbie, and Kirk; from high school, saw Billy–whom I haven’t seen for two years–Brian R.–who moved to Japan after Berkeley and had not been seen this side of the Pacific for quite a few years–Brian H.–UCLA film student extraordinaire–and Jen–soon to be lawyer extraordinaire.

casanovaSome notable wines were a 2005 Caymus Cabernet (approx. $70-$80), courtesy of Billy (whoa!)–intense, really really BIG–Robert Parker big–California big; vanilla and tobacco and earth throwing off crazy fireworks in the mouth.  Kirk let me try some of some fantastic zinfandel, and on another day Dave was kind enough to pour for us a bottle of the same, a 2006 Hartford Family Winery Zinfandel from the Russian River Valley (approx. $30)–spicy and full, one of the best zins I’ve ever had.

Alex and I shared a bottle of Casanova di Neri Rosso di Montalcino (approx. $25), from the Southern Tuscany–90% sangiovese and 10% colorino, pronounced acidity that wasn’t overbearing and actually well-balanced, cherry, a bit of spice.  An excellent food wine but also nice by itself, slightly chilled.  I managed to find and buy a bottle of this in DC at the Wine Specialist and got a $5 discount ($24 instead of $29) and am looking forward to drinking it with a nice meal.

And finally, a really wonderful wine from the Languedoc: the 2006 “Les Garrigues” from Domaine Clavel (approx. $12-$14)–everything you would ever want from a wine from the South of France: definitely a cold weather wine, with medium body, dark fruits, nice tannins, and a taste of–you guessed it–the garrigue.

All in all, I had some wonderful wines.  Oh, and before I forget, another wine I had here in DC at the end of the champagne tasting: the 2006 Domaine Joulin Saumur Champigny Rouge ($17.99).  A cabernet franc, it definitely was better than the “Cuvee de la Cure” from Charles Joguet (importer: Kermit Lynch) ($26), I felt–very smooth, very light.  It smelled like gamay and tasted a bit like strawberries, but there was a streak of minerality that separated it from a beaujolais.  Excellent, and a crowd-pleaser.

The wines I had at the end of last year and the start of this year have been very, very good indeed, and more importantly, I was able to share those wines with friends and family.  I have much to be thankful for and much to look forward to in 2009.


3 Responses to “A New Year and a Whole Lotta Bottles of Wine”

  1. Shea January 12, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

    Nice, I’ve wondered about the Caymus but could never stomach the price since I always figured it wouldn’t really be worth it. What did you think? Would you pay that much for it? (I expect a lot more for my money in the US!)

  2. vinicultured January 13, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    Mr. Shea,

    To be honest, I wouldn’t buy the wine at that price. It was a pretty incredible wine in that it was huge, huge, huge, and well-made. As someone pointed out, “It just tastes expensive.” But for someone looking for more nuance in their wines, they would be well-advised to look elsewhere.

    Maybe that helped. Again, I probably wouldn’t buy the wine at that price. But then again, I wouldn’t buy most wines at that price!



  1. A Few Parting Words Before Finals « Vinicultured: A Wine Blog - April 12, 2009

    […] d’Avola I’ve ever had, and might even be a better Italian food wine than my beloved Casanova di Neri Rosso di Montalcino: it’s cheaper by about $10, […]

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