Friday, September 11, 2009

Tasting in Napa

Oh how quickly the lowly have risen! I, who was once content with a bottle of $2.95 Foxbrook Cabernet, am now elevated to appreciating Fine Wines enough to not flinch when forking out the money to get a bottle. I am not sure if that is a good thing.

I had a system. Open the bottle while cooking. Pour a glass to sip on. Splash a little in the food. Pour another half glass to drink with the meal. Next day or so, pour a goodly amount in the beef roast or beef stew, have a short glass. Some days later, mix what is left with 2 parts orange juice blend over ice for a pleasant beverage. But with the $34.95 bottle of Fenestra Cab, we savored every sip. I even saved the last inch and a half to share with my daughter the next day. But I wasn't sure I saw that all happening again.

Last weekend, we visited with my sister and brother-in-law who live in Napa, California. And I don't think it takes a highly intelligent person to know where you go for a field trip in Napa. Wine Tasting! G. and V., being members of these wineries and on first name basis with many of the folks behind the counters, were escorted to the special room. Trying to act nonchalant, my husband and I trailed along with them.

The whites were great; the reds were fantastic. The other three in our party had driving to do and places to go, so they were utilizing the artsy clay jugs at each side to tip out the rest of the taste. Me? I wasn't going to be operating any heavy machinery or try to impress anyone, so I just enjoyed it all. I did find myself wondering what kind of a house wine the clay jugs contained at the end of the day.

There were several "Wow!" reds that I didn't bother to remember the names of, because even though I'd been softened up by drinking a bottle of $34.95 wine, that didn't extend to $80 a bottle wines. The most amazing taste at the first winery, Pine Brook, was the last. Rich, smooth and buttery, with all those flavor descriptions people learn how to do after they get more of a wine education. Of course, it was a cabernet savignon. $140 a bottle. It's a good thing I was getting a little relaxed, or I would have been calculating the cost of each sip.

We did end up buying a bottle of 2005 Cabernet from Rutherford Hill Winery. I remember at the end of the tasting, my husband putting 2 glasses in front of me: "This, or this?" I was like being at the optometrist where they spin the lens dial in front of your eyes while you are looking at the chart. "Is this better? Or this?" And they are so close, you can't really tell, so you keep having him repeat the operation. So I said something like, "Well, this one is more mellow and this one is more exciting." And he made some sort of decision based on that, apparently, because we ended up carrying out a wine bag.

I'm not giving up my Foxbrook, or the wine-in-a-box yet. There will never come a day when I'll splash a little of these goods in my cook pot, and not every wine glass is a worthy celebration. But I do enjoy having this in the cupboard waiting for that special time.

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