In Wine and War, Don and Petie Kladstrup, illustrate a point that resonates with me on my path of wine discovery and enjoyment.
“One of the greatest wines we have ever tasted was 1905 Grand Vin de Chateau Latour. It was exquisite, absolutely mind-boggling, but what made the experience even more special was being able to share it with…a dear friend….There was also a bottle of rose we once drank that, in all honesty, was not much of a wine, but sharing it with friends on a warm summer day made that day special and the wine as unforgettable, in a way, as the 1905 Latour.”
I have yet to taste Latour. I may never. But I have had many unforgettable wines, some because of the wine, some because of the company with whom I shared the wine.
This has been, in many ways, a year of transitions for me. In 2013, I felt the need to pull back an reassess. The constant pull of social media and self-promotion began to weigh on me and my family and I needed to readjust. In 2014, I rediscovered the joy of blogging and was rewarded in ways I never thought possible. Several times this year I found myself looking around and giggling in disbelief.
2014 was a year of finally connecting with so many that I have long admired and communicated with virtually. It was a year in which I was able to attend some amazing events, intimate and extravagant. It was a year in which I may not have received as many samples or gained thousands of twitter followers, but I received genuine encouragement in quiet ways that left me humbled and grateful for this journey. I sampled some exclusive wines, some very accessible wines and both made my list. It is not only about what is in the bottle, but the stories behind the bottle and the stories shared over the bottle.
Here are some favorite wines from 2014. They are probably the top 5, in no order. I say probably because I don’t keep accurate enough records, unless it is a sample, and my memory gets iffier with age. Regardless, I’m still thinking about these:
2009 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon-The 2010 Made Wine Spectator’s Top 10 list. I have an idea as to why. The attached link shows how I paired it for an unforgettable dinner party. Sequoia Grove Cambium was a challenger but I only tasted it in conjunction with others, with several foods. It is harder to create a lasting impression in that setting.
2010 Vineyard 511 Cabernet Sauvignon-We tasted this wine the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference and it was one I still think about. It also made Talk-a-vino’s list. If you have an extra hundred and want to show me some love, keep this in mind.
Ballard County Syrah- Don’t make me pick just one. My mouth was high after this session. Check out what Solo Syrah had to say about the wines.
Davis Bynum Pinot Noir– My favorite from the Rodney Strong dinner in Solvang. Their Russian River and Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Pinots are closely behind.
William Chris Vineyards 2012 Enchanté– It was the wine that broke my resolve. We picked up a ’10 after Chris shared some on our last visit. This baby has aging promise.
Winning Whites and Pinks
McPherson Cellars Les Copains White/Dry Rose Blends- Love all these blends. We shared a bottle of white at Haviland Lake in Colorado. We paired the white blend with the first trout my children caught which we stuffed with shallot, lemon, and herb butter. Add fire-roasted potatoes and veggies and that is a camping meal to remember. The pink made for a very happy hour at Ridgeway State Park.
Grassini Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc- Even in speed tasting at #WBC14 this stood out as a favorite white with J Vineyards Pinot Gris a close second. From Happy Valley Canyon AVA in Santa Barbara County, this wine has racy acidity and controlled elegance. Yum.
Cuvee Classique Chateau Roubine-This blend on Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Grenache is classic Provence. I’ve realized that these grapes generally make wine that I like. Herbacious, red fruit, acid. Diverse and delish. Actually can I choose several from that lunch?
Tatum Rose-Sorry to do this to you, but you probably won’t be able to get this wine. Unless you live here and you know people. It is small production and goes quickly but it is so delicious I’m still dreaming about it.
Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc– Again, don’t make me pick one. You pick and let me know. Dutchers Crossing, Fritz, Ferrari-Carano…you can’t go wrong if you like SB.
Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux Brut- Our first dinner, first weekend away, my first interview for an upcoming digital magazine, USA Ambassadors. This bottle was sent to our table by the interviewee (stay tuned). All the above made it a bottle to remember.
Pol Roger Champagne-One day I will splurge on a whole bottle. Still thinking about the tasting at Big Reds and Bubbles.
Ferrari Perle– This was part of a sample of three and my favorite. Elegant, creamy, memorable.
Bollinger Brut Rose– My sister and I were trying to rally for a day at the wineries but both a little funky. Then I said, “Or I can come to your house and we can look through old pictures in our jammies and drink Champagne.” Gorgeous fruit, warm bread, zesty with a finish that didn’t quit. Some days, like the photos we were organizing, are worth holding on to.
When I started this piece, my goal was to compile the year in one post. Silly me. Tomorrow I’ll reflect on the moments that made the year and the people who shared the moments with me. And maybe I will even come to some resolutions. Do they count if after January 1st? Now, what to open for inspiration?