wines of desire

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We choose wines in many ways, to satisfy different needs, goals, and occasions. Where will the wine be opened? Who will be drinking it? Is it designed to impress, to entertain, to mystify, or simply to disappear into a sidekick role? It's common to write about special occasion wines – wines for weddings, for parties, for holidays, or wines to match certain foods and meals. But what about desire wines?

What wine(s) do you drink when the choice is based strictly upon desire? That is the choice that is facing me today – my birthday. Yes, it’s an occasion wine, but it’s the one occasion of the year that is designed to be self-centered. It’s ok to be focused only on what I want to drink. What wines I most desire.

As usual, the day will include a rather ordinary run of events, a mix of writing, music and contemplation. But it is all pointing toward dinner, a special time, with special friends, who are orchestrating an excellent meal and looking to me to bring suitable wines.

This is when I particularly love my wine cellar. It is not a grand or spectacular cellar, though it is nice enough. I do not have shelves loaded with cult cabs, or grand cru Burgundies, or 100-point Parker wines. But I do have wines that have been thoughtfully acquired over many years, and tucked away simply because I liked them, and found them to be good value, and generally ageworthy.

Ageworthy is important to cellaring because it is a sort of ticket to ride. Ageworthy wines are going to (presumably) outlive their youthful precociousness and evolve into something else, something as yet unknown, but hopeful and interesting. And when you have a cellar full of such wines, and a memory as porous as mine, it may lead you down some interesting paths.

So later today I will explore some of the nooks and crannies of the cellar, and poke through the bottles and read through the labels and think about each wine and what possibilities it may hold. I will not worry about matching any of them to the food; rather I will pick an assortment of bottles that are sure to span the spectrum of the evening, knowing that some may disappoint, but confident that some will surprise and one or two may even dazzle. I will seek out bottles that tickle my desire, and whisper “tonight’s the night.” And tomorrow, I will write about them all.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday PG, Yesterday was my birthday and it started with OS Ulysses Sheridan Vineyards 2004 and ended with Pacific Rim Vin de Glaciere Riesling.

Paul Zitarelli said...

Happy birthday Paul! It is indeed the rare occasion when it's possible to set aside all competing reasons and choose wine based solely on its capacity to bring delight to you (and your friends).

Looking forward to hearing about the dazzlers tomorrow!

GJ-captures said...

Happy B-day PG!!

I love the fact that your cellar isn't filled with cult cabs!! I look forward to hearing about your b-day vino from WA and abroad. Have a good one and remember New Years isn't too far away!!

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