This past weekend, we had a very close friend over for dinner. No special occasion, just a casual get-together kinda thing. Both sharing the same affection for France, I decided to open a bottle of French red wine from Burgundy: Jean Michelot Pommard from 1981! My grandfather who lives in Burgundy came to California some time ago for a short visit, and gave me this bottle.
The opening procedure was practically religious. Our friend and my lovely wife kept very quiet, as they felt this moment was quite special to me. I was a little scared of opening a bottle of vinegar, since it was never kept under ideal conditions. I didn’t want to shock the wine by putting it in my wine cooler/refrigerator. I opted for what seemed to be a safer option: under the stairs, which remains a dark and moderately cool area in the center of my house. After opening it, we let the wine open up for quite some time. The genie was out of the bottle but was he ready to help me with my first wish? ;)
Not surprisingly, the wine had lots of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. After airing out the wine for about an hour, I slowly and carefully poured some in my lucky glass (I’m kidding… I don’t have a lucky glass, though I probably should for moments like this). The wine displayed a brickish hue around the edges. Its bold and slightly fruity aroma was in perfect agreement with my expectations. It was now time to taste it… the wine was elegant and featured a definite red cherry and plum flavor, as well as a very earthy feeling to the palate. It was “love at first sip”.
Simply put, the wine was just perfect, and maybe one of the best I’ve ever had! It defied all the laws of proper wine storage and conservation. It traveled in the unpressurized section of a commercial plane. Though it was kept in a dark place, it was never under the right temperature, and in spite of lacking a lucky glass, I’m still amazed at how good this wine turned out to be.
Regardless of how good a wine is, you must remember one simple rule… it is only as good as the people with whom it is being shared. It was an amazing night because, good wine, truly wouldn’t be as enjoyable if it weren’t shared in good company.
To quote Robert Mondavi – “Indeed enjoying fine wine at the family table, surrounded by your loved ones and friends, was not just joy – it was one of the highest forms of the art of living” (enjoy more memorable wine quotes here.)