Thoughts on how we drink wine
I have been thinking lately about how my preferences have changed, away from large tastings and offline formats where a dozen or more wines are swirled, sipped, judged in 5 minutes before moving on to the next bottle.
Of course these can be good fun, and educational, but more and more I am finding them to be far less enjoyable than drinking a bottle, over a couple of hours, with maybe 2-3 wines in total.
Today I came across a bottle of a really special wine on a restaurant list, for around half UK retail. It's rare for Sema and I to eat out alone these days, and this was one of those occassions, so after half a seconds thought we decided to go for it.
I used to always save our 'best' wines for special events, but more and more I think this isn't the best way to really enjoy them, I am sure we got more enjoyment from this one bottle over almost two hours than we would have done with six, or eight glasses of the same wine in different vintages, it seems when presented with a tasing pour we seem to focus all our attention into such a small period, rather than enjoying what we have.
Anyway, I consider myself very fortunate to have learned so much from offlines and I will not be turning my back on them, but I will be opening more and more of the best bottles at home.
Anyway, the wine was 2001 La Tache, a wine with the most beguiling perfumed nose that grew more and more haunting, already showing a hint of maturity, the very solid acidity almost melting into soft tannins and a finish that lasted all afternoon. My first La Tache, I'm sure its not 'the best' example, but I doubt many have enjoyed this wine more than we did today. Quite a privilege to drink.
Bloody Hell Russell-------you bought La Tache off a restaurant wine list!! I would never do this,even though I guess I could afford to do so. Frankly,the cost of it(especially the restaurant mark up!!) would put me off enjoying the wine,no matter how good it was.Furthermore,I am not married to the lovely Sema,who does appreciate this type of wine more than my missus.
To get back to your question.I still enjoy offlines very much,but more now the smaller,one bottle per person offline,where there is time to enjoy each wine,and come back to it over the course of the meal.
Keith, less than half UK retail price, how could I not buy it!
I agree with you and in a way have come full circle. When I first started discovering wine, it was always a bottle that was either shared with a girlfriend, shared with maybe 1-2 other friends, or consumed by myself. Over time, I gradually got into doing big tastings with 20+ people, dozens of wines, etc.... Then I gradually got smaller again. I do enjoy a nice wine dinner/get-together with 5-12 folks (lower count if it is just wine geeks and higher count if it is couples). Not that there is anything wrong with large off-lines, but nothing beats nursing a bottle with my wife over a few hours or even a couple days.
The biggest problem with saving a bottle for a special event is that there always seems to be the potential that the next event might be even more special so you just keep saving it.
mmmmmmmm that would be tempting!! Like the 90 Lafite for less than £300 on a South African wine list a month ago
Originally Posted by Russell Faulkner
Same place also has Lafite 90 under £300...