Wines I have Loved

Here’s to all the wines I’ve loved….

Do we have any Willie Nelson fans?  I can’t say I’m a fan; I may know two, perhaps three of his songs. One song I do know is “To all the girls I’ve loved.”  What’s this got to do with wine?  Nothing.  Give me a minute, for I’m developing my story.

I do most of my wine drinking in one of three places:  my back yard on either the patio near the house or by the fire pit; the dining room table; or in my cellar.  My  wine cellar boasts two racks: one for keepers, the other for drinkers.  I also save memorable bottles and display them in the cellar. I do answer to a higher authority, Josephine.

Tonight I am enjoying a great bottle of Planeta La Segreta 2010; it’s from my adopted homeland, Sicily. This wine is a wonderful blend of 50% Nero D’Avola, 25% Merlot, 20% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Franc.  This wine has a rich, full nose that is just right for sniffing and pondering the mysteries of life.  The flavor is full fruit, spices, and herbs that leave me feeling mellow and relaxed.

I’m sitting in the backyard watching the sun set and the aircraft vapor trails transport people to who-knows-where.  I’m feeling very content, relaxed, and thinking about  —  are you ready for this:

To all the wines I’ve loved before

Who traveled in and out my door

I’m glad they came along I dedicate this song

To all the wines I’ve loved before.

To all the wines I once caressed

And may I say I’ve drunk some of the best

For helping me to grow I owe a lot I know

To all the wines I’ve loved before.

The winds of change are always blowing

And every time I try to stay

The winds of change continue blowing

And they just carry me away.

I know you must think I’m flakier than a Mrs. Fields cookie, and you wouldn’t be that far off. In truth I’ve enjoyed some really interesting wines, recently, and I thought I’d share them with you because each has a story and a memory and all of it is good.

Charles Krug Merlot 2009.  This one was a mistake.  I was shooting for Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon; well, as Maxwell Smart would say, “Missed it by that much.”  The wine was good; still, I prefer the Toad Hollow that we discussed in the last blog.

Charles Krug has a long history, beginning in 1861.  It’s one of the old names in Napa Valley viticulture.  The vineyard is now owned by Peter Mondavi.  I was interested in the Cabernet because in the book “Judgment of Paris” Charles Krug played a part in the development of Stags Leap, the famous Cabernet in the 1976 Paris tasting.

Mas Josephine is a nice French wine, a blend of Syrah and Grenache from Cote Du Rhone, and not to be confused with ”Goats do Roam.” The wine was actually named in honor of Napoleon’s Josephine, but I purchase it in honor of my Josephine

A recent favorite is Les Vignes De Bila-Haut Cotes Du Roussillon.  This was one of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of 2009. A strong red wine, full of the taste of ripe berries, with a nice long finish and a nose that invites you to take it all in.   You should try this one, for sure.

Yangarra 2008 McLaren Vale Shiraz from Australia. I enjoyed this with family on my vacation on the Carnival Liberty.  Again this is an adult wine with full body, and oh-what-a-taste, and again, with a fantastic nose.

Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, from the dining room on the Carnival Liberty. This wine was voted best restaurant wine in 2009.  Eighty-four % Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petite Sirah, 4% Merlot, 2% Syrah, 1% Malbec.  I voted  this wine the most drinkable.  Just a great bottle of wine.

So, the light is fading, I can’t see the vapor trails anymore, on the red and green lights on the plains.  I’m feeling the effects of the wine.  I’m thinking about my dad who had a poem that goes “Life is real and life is earnest and the grave is not the goal.  Therefore, we should be up and doing ‘cause we can make our life sublime.  And in so doing be like the great men who have gone before us and leave our footprints in the sands of time.”

At Stags Leap Vineyard there are no footprints, but handprints of 30 individuals who revolutionized the wine business.  They created the New World of wine, proved to the world that great wine can be made anywhere, that good land, hard work and commitment to quality can be combined with water and sun.

These people were not gods, they were like you and me; there was an immigrant fleeing Communism in Russia, poverty in Corasia, a dancer, a dentist, a burnt out lawyer, a philosophy professor who wanted to live closer to nature, x-military people, and a real estate agent … just ordinary people who had a passion for wine.

In some small way, I feel as if I’ve been talking to them, while thinking about the wines above.  So I lift my glass to them, and to you, Salute and good night.


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