I can’t stop thinking about the wine that Tracie P and I drank on Friday night for our fourth wedding anniversary: Chapoutier 2010 Ermitage de l’Orée (a heartfelt thanks, once again, to the overly generous collector who gave us this stunning bottle).
It was so rich and decadent in its texture, so unctuous in its dried stone fruit flavors, but equally vibrant with zinging acidity.
What a thrilling bottle of wine!
I was reminded of the bottle last night when a wine friend from Chicago, a high-powered attorney, messaged me asking me last-minute advice on where to take a client for dinner in Austin (they ended up at Trio, for the record).
“Contemplating infanticide of the 06 [Rougeard] Poyeux,” he wrote.
I love and deeply respect my friend and his superb wine knowledge and experience.
But I loathe the word infanticide (and I know that he was egging me on in camaraderie): I believe that wines are for drinking and that their potential (their “drinkability zenith,” as it were) is defined more by the company and the occasion than an abstract notion of when this wine will “drink” at its best.
Our exchange reminded me of an image in my mind from many years ago. I was in the home of a Siena baker (Contrada della Chiocciola) when he was visited by a wealthy Milanese businessman who had a second home in Montalcino. When the gentleman arrived, the baker — so moved by the presence of such an illustrious visitor — opened a bottle of current vintage Biondi Santi on the spot and poured it for us in bistro glasses. It was tannic and tight, frugal with its fruit, and it never tasted better…
Yes, you can chart the linear development and evolution of wine but if you don’t enjoy it, what’s the point?
The De l’Orée certainly could have had many fine years ahead of it.
But on Friday night it paired magically with Tracie P’s breaded and fried chicken cutlets, garlic mashed potatoes, and wilted spinach drowned in extra-virgin olive oil.
After dinner, we lingered over the last glass, trading notes on the aromas, which seemed to intoxicate us more than the flavors or alcohol in this expression of 100% Marsanne.
I could have stashed this bottle away. Or I could have decanted it and expedited it.
But all I wanted to do was to drink it with you, Tracie P, my gorgeous wife and mother to our beautiful daughters.
Our fourth anniversary and the close of the year of marriage that delivered our second child merited a truly special bottle.
There was nowhere else I wanted to be. And I can’t stop thinking, joyfully, about that moment.