Homo sapiens at the Gate...

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Homo sapiens at the Gate...

Postby Covert » Wed Jun 14, 2006 7:17 am

I have told the story on this forum several times: how on a lark, before my wife and I could abide nothing but Bordeaux, I ordered a large cross-appellation, mixed-case sampling of 1997 Bordeaux en primeur, after reading that we would be able to compare the large horizontal tasting upon release.

Prior to that, we drank almost everything, such as wines from all over the world, gin and beer. We drank as much for the effect of alcohol as for taste – and not at all for any intellectual or spiritual purpose. Like a lot of people, we used wine and spirits as a social lubricant, joining other people to imbibe and jabber.

Shortly after my wife’s and my first sip of 1997 Grand Puy Lacoste, the first bottle we opened from the big shipment, we ceased drinking anything but Bordeaux. Still, on occasion, in the beginning of the shape-shift and before realizing what was happening, we bought bottles from elsewhere, such as 1996 Cinq Cepages, but followed with gag reflexes, until we realized we were narrowly confined.

An externality of this self-imposed imprisonment was the abrupt cessation of social contact, since nobody we knew drank Bordeaux. We couldn’t serve Bordeaux to guests nor be served Bordeaux in other homes. On top of that, we began to commune with our wine so that the presence of infidels only detracted from our experience. We stopped socializing altogether. Other than attending a couple of Bordeaux wine dinners, I can’t remember going out to dinner with, being at anybody’s home or having anybody in ours for years – other than obligatory family or very occasional people in the context of work events. (100% of my social contact now is limited to this forum and one person with whom I share emails, hence my liberty of expression here.)

While on a recent business trip to Pittsburgh with a young woman associate, which I wrote up on this forum, with “The Form Bitch” in the subject title, I stopped in a wine store. The woman asked me to pick out a wine for her husband, whose nickname is “The Pope.” I said it was too bad there was no Pape Clement. Later she searched local wine stores here in Albany, New York for the Pope wine, to no avail; so she bought another Bordeaux that was recommended by the store clerk.

The Form Lady told me at the office yesterday that she liked the Bordeaux so much that she has been going back to the store and purchasing other Bordeaux, while her husband has stuck with Merlot, since he didn’t take to the backward quality of Bordeaux. She said there was a certain wonderful quality in the Bordeaux that wasn’t exactly taste, but she didn’t know how to describe it. I’m going to invite the couple to dinner, but I haven’t yet figured out how to convince my wife.
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Re: Homo sapiens at the Gate...

Postby AlexR » Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:49 am

Covert,

You don't have to convince ME of the quality of Bordeaux...
I've lived here since 1978 (with the exception of 2 years in Saumur), and am still head-over-heels in love with Bordeaux wine.

Most other wines seem, well, so *obvious* or else top-heavy and tiring on the system (difficult to digest).

Bordeaux is a wonderful drink with food, and it comes in virtually infinite variations. It is much more dependable than Burgundy, the only other region that can compete with it on anything approaching a large scale.

I can find *really good* Bordeaux at 8 euros a bottle (I'm thinking here especially of the Côtes de Bourg, Côtes de Blaye, and Côtes de Castillon) and I only wish that these wines were more readily available where most forum members live.

As for Bordeaux and your social life, I don't think it should be a problem serving Bordeaux to people in your own home, perhaps only opening up the really good stuff if your guests are wine savvy and receptive.
As for drinking at other people's houses, I usually put the quality of the wine in 2nd place, well after the convivial, social nature of the evening. I can live with that.
Fortunately for me, though, many (most?) of my friends love Bordeaux.

As for your work colleague, as long as you invite the husband too, I don't see how your wife could be jealous!

Best regards,
Alex R.
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Re: Homo sapiens at the Gate...

Postby wrcstl » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:11 am

Covert wrote:Shortly after my wife’s and my first sip of 1997 Grand Puy Lacoste, the first bottle we opened from the big shipment, we ceased drinking anything but Bordeaux.


Covert,
I drink vodka tonics in the summer, Belguin ales mostly in the winter and single malt scotch anytime. Regardless, I drink wine all the time with Bordeaux being my favorite region and representing 40% of my cellar. Now I have had some close to epiphany wines, '29 Mouton, '49 Talbot, '59 Meyney, '82 LaLande, but '97 GPL?? GPL is one of my top 10 producers but '97?? Not trying to be a snob and liked many of the '97s I drank but?? What would have happened if she had been served the '82 GPL?? No, maybe I don't want to know.
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Re: Homo sapiens at the Gate...

Postby Covert » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:34 am

Alex,

Where do you live? It must be in The City, about the only place where you can find a concentration of people who drink Bordeaux.

My wife isn't jealous at all, she just doesn't like the subjects that most people find interesting: like politics, kids, taxes, community affairs, home improvement, sports, etc. She doesn't want *anybody* at the house who doesn’t relate to Bordeaux. If I wanted to have dinner with a pretty woman, she would just as soon I took her off by myself so she wouldn't have to be involved in chit-chat.

I'm starting to feel like a freak for never socializing with anybody. I'm thinking about putting an add in one of the Adirondack publications to find kindred Bordeaux fanciers and arranging wine dinners once and a while. I even thought of starting up an Adirondack Toastmasters chapter and bringing toasts back to wine events. There are some terrific venues for such events.

Anytime you feel like spending a couple of days in the Adirondacks on a beautiful mountain lake, let me know and I will break out a few bottles. When our basement flooded, recently, we were forced to open boxes of heirlooms that we have stored for family members, now dead, from way back. We found lots of fantastic gold leaf china sets, crystal and wonderful silver place settings. It would be ostentatious in our suburban home, but such finery goes great against a rustic backdrop, so I am taking some of it to camp. It's time we had somebody over.

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Re: Homo sapiens at the Gate...

Postby Covert » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:48 am

Walt,

I did serve her the '82 GPL. Unfortunately, I don't think it had been stored as well as it should have been; even though I bought it from a well-known, major New York retailer. But for whatever reason, we haven't been enamoured with even the sound '82s that we have tried. We tend to like '86, '88, '89, '90, '96 and '01 best of the recent vintages and die for '59, '61, '78 and '79.

What I mentioned before about our '97 collection was that it gave us the opportunity to taste virtually every type of wine from Bordeaux over a short period of time, and to learn about the unique appellation differences, which '97 permitted in my opinion. Granted the '97 Margauxs were nothing like the '90 or '96 and other great years, but they still showed perfume and earth, while Pauillacs expressed cedar, tobacco, leather and masculine dark fruit, and so on. I always let my wife taste whatever I picked blind, and she could usually identify the commune if not the property.

We are now populating our cellar with lots of other years, but most of them require time before we can properly drink them. Almost all of the '97s were eminently drinkable upon release.

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Re: Homo sapiens at the Gate...

Postby AlexR » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:53 am

Covert,

I do live in the city of Bordeaux, but I know plenty of people elsewhere in France for whom this is also their favorite wine.

As for topics to discuss at dinner, this can be a *huge* problem on occasion, I agree. One of the reasons I like living here is that people just *love* animated discussions and no one faints if you're politically incorrect... Talk at a typical dinner here touches on politics (local/national/international), family, religion, sex, food, wine, vacations, you name it.
I wonder, what do people who *don't* discuss these subjects talk about.
The weather?

As for drinking Bordeaux and *only* Bordeaux, even I wouldn't go that far! I think it's high time you wooed your wife with some elegant wines from other regions. I mean, heck, we married guys stay with the same woman for decades, but that shouldn't prevent us from "playing the field" with different wines, should it?

Thanks for your invite. I'm originally from upstate New York (Finger Lakes), but don't make it over there very often. It would be a pleasure to meet you in Bordeaux.

All the best,
Alex R.
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Re: Homo sapiens at the Gate...

Postby wrcstl » Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:41 pm

Covert wrote:I did serve her the '82 GPL. Unfortunately, I don't think it had been stored as well as it should have been; even though I bought it from a well-known, major New York retailer. But for whatever reason, we haven't been enamoured with even the sound '82s that we have tried. We tend to like '86, '88, '89, '90, '96 and '01 best of the recent vintages and die for '59, '61, '78 and '79.
Covert


Covert,
Interesting! The '82 got huge reviews and launched RPs career but is one time I agree with the reviewers. If you like '88 why not '94; classic and IMHO an excellent vintage. I agree with you on '01 and glad to see you didn't include '00, a good drinking year but too ripe for my taste and by far too expensive.
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Re: Homo sapiens at the Gate...

Postby Covert » Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:01 pm

Alex,

I'm sorry; I thought you had moved to New York City from France. Don't know why. My wife and I should get to Bordeaux pretty soon; although we plan to stay in St-Emilion. We'll give you a heads-up when we make the voyage. I guess the currency exchange will never turn to our advantage, so we might as well just go.

We like to discuss all of those topics that you mention, but people around here are very, very traditional and "obvious" in their views of everything, whether they consider themselves to be conservatives or liberals, or even socialists. Unfortunately we don't speak French, so it would probably be difficult to talk smoothly with many people of Bordeaux; although a lot of them of course speak English and other non-native languages, unlike a lot of Americans who can't speak English very well, never mind French.

But I would guess that my wife's and my views would freak out French people, too. We could go to jail here if we ever discussed with others what we talk about freely together. Any time I even hint at some of my views on this forum, I get the ax, for example. That's mainly why we don't socialize.

I have been intrigued by the idea of the French society being relatively secular. That's probably not true; it is probably just less religious than America. My wife's and my view of religion as myth and religiosity as a pharmaconeurological event, sets the stage for our differences. Nothing is sacred or off-limits if you have no beliefs. Belief puts almost everything in one's unconscious psyche off-limits. It's a huge schism for us since Americans are overwhelmingly religious.

Best,
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Re: Homo sapiens at the Gate...

Postby Isaac » Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:05 pm

We couldn’t serve Bordeaux to guests nor be served Bordeaux in other homes.


Why not?
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Re: Homo sapiens at the Gate...

Postby Covert » Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:37 pm

Walt,

Sadly, I missed focus on the '94s and only bought a case of Branaire. I love the Branaire and would call it a classic presentation. My wife and I kind of split at that level of austerity. She liked the Branaire, but not nearly as much as I did, so I didn't pursue any other '94s after I finally discovered the vintage. I should seek a few out for days that I am not with my wife.

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Re: Homo sapiens at the Gate...

Postby Covert » Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:48 pm

Isaac,

I tried before offering Bordeaux to folks who don't regularly drink it. I don't know anybody locally who would drink it without me offering it. They would drink some of what I offered because it was presented, but they really didn't like it. I have given Bordeaux as a present to quite a few people, none of whom advanced their interest in the wine because of it. Not much fun at all. I have given up.

By the other, I just mean that almost nobody ever has Bordeaux to offer. I am in Albany, New York, not New York City. I've been offered Bordeaux here once in my life: 1996 Cantemerle; how could I forget?

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