Tuesday, December 06, 2005

L'ultimo per questo anno

This is it. The final full on wine tasting of the year. Heaven knows what will happen. Well, I know what is planned but what will actually go on is possibly another thing entirely.

I have learned a lot from the presentations from various NZ winemakers and those who attend the tasting sessions. Amateurs and seasoned veterans alike, there is no shortage of enthusiasm and opinion. This is an avid group that I have been fortunate to find. They are good company and love their wine.

And what a way to end the season. Muddy Water.

Belinda Gould, winemaker for Muddy Water, is going to lead the session. The plan, which in addition to Riesling and Pinot Noir, will include a very exciting vertical tasting of six Chardonnays. But the review is later.

I'm rapt. I really appreciate the opportunity to taste wine in this manner. It really illustrates what is going on in the bottle and how wine profiles develop with age. Aging wine is likely one of the most daunting prospects for budding wine enthusiasts. Today there is so much information out there that this really shouldn't be the case.

Besides, for me, the hunt for that next great bottle is more important and I am proud to say, in my limited experience, that I have never opened a bottle from the cellar and had it been past it's peak. Perhaps that shows my lack of restraint, but I've never gone through wines before they are ready either. And that takes some doing. I am sure I will break this now that I have bragged about it but always having enough wine on hand and no shortage of people to enjoy them with certainly helps.

The point, however.. I enjoy the digression so much I rarely get past it sometimes, is the group tasting experience. Getting a few like minded friends together to share wine is the point. Sharing a bottle of a NZ Sauvy on a warm windless night on Lake Ontario is the point. Traveling to the other side of the planet to meet up with an old friend (Riedels in hand) for a few days wine indulgence and cooking is so the point. Sure, I write notes, save corks and record weather and menu details.. (doesn't everyone?) but never forget to have fun and enjoy the moment (as opposed to forgetting to take the notes.. hey that happens too). There are a lot of references in my book to others comments that I love to read months/years after the fact.

Wine is a convivial experience. Hell, food is the same. It is meant to be enjoyed and revered in good company. I often dine alone (student life) but willingly share the experience with anyone who cares to partake. I am reminded of this in a story or article I read, I'll have to find it again to share. Basically it is this: try booking a table for one in an Italian restaurant.. you'll see what I mean. So I have enjoyed wine in good company and must give credit where credit is due.

All tastings were held at Munslow's Wine Merchants in Dunedin. A fantastic little shop rammed to the rafters with a good selection of local (Central Otago) wines, a good Aussie selection, some Imports, and good local beers as well.

So a big thank you to Peter, Alastair, Laurie and the crew for a fantastic season of wines and convivality.
See you in the New Year!
Felicità per il nuovo anno!
Salute!

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Nice post. My best social times are spent with people who genuinely love wine for the taste rather than the effects.