Thursday, December 6, 2012
it is my too-infrequent good fortune to be invited to home-cooked dinners with Pyrrhic guest lists, the kind filled with people whose discernment and taste are a source of pleasure and knowledge but are, by the same token, so refined that any attempt to contribute something to the table is an endeavour perilous to the ego. on these occasions, i sit in the corner taking notes, harmless, my ethnographic field training serving me well.
these are lovers of wine and the generous table who have been drinking widely, wisely, and secreting things away in their cellars for decades. tuesday night's table—small and richer than usual in fellow convivialists—was conducive to each person bringing interesting, delicious bottles, sometimes bottles quite a bit older than anyone without a cellar or an inheritance gets to drink. a magnum of bouzy champagne grower camille savès's carte blanche, a leoville-barton (1989), a pauillac (i forget the producer) from 1975, a hochheimer domdechaney riesling (1993), two rieslings from the late 1970s, a clos des couchereaux from jadot (1996, and with some years left in the bottle yet), and an unusual botrytised gruner veltliner from knoll (2004). i think a 2004 rebholz weissburgunder from im sonnenschein. there were others too.
over dinner, this country mouse pondered the opinion, voiced by some (though not many at the table), that "all roads lead to bordeaux." the leoville-barton was quite beautiful and surprisingly austere, with the characteristic green hatch chile fragrance; the pauillac was rich, soft, velvety, but with grip and power. contradictions are one source of complexity. you can see why captains of industry drink this stuff.
but: is bordeaux the telos of wine? maybe it's a matter of time but not for me, now. that clear, austere, cool burgundy, even before it finally opened up in the dregs of the bottle at the end of the night, was the one i poured myself when all eyes were on the potatoes. they were very good potatoes.