Saturday, February 16, 2008

Old Friend

The planets must have been aligned perfectly today for both wine and food.

A friend alerted me to an out-of-the-way small wine store that he claimed was loaded with off the wall "goodies." I made the trip late this morning and found what appeared to be just a run of the mill carry-out store. Still, I went inside since I was there and was taken aback by the selections and the good prices.

When I saw this wine on the shelf the "way-back" machine quickly took me back to 1979 or 1980 where I was sitting on a patio of a restaurant / wine shop in Cincinnati (Terwilligers) on a warm September afternoon. I was working for a re-insurance operation at the time. There was a colleague from our Bermuda office who had spent the summer in our Cincinnati office and he was preparing to go back to Bermuda. Three of us took him out to lunch and we sat there drinking more than several bottles of Trefethen chardonnay while eating and talking. We started a little after noon and before we realized it was close to 3:30 PM. This was way before cell phones so I borrowed the house phone and my boss laughed and said, "just make a day of it." No one was in condition to drive by that point in the day so we booked rooms at a hotel two blocks down the street,made the appropriate phone calls and took two more bottles of the wine with us to the hotel.

Trefethen was an early entry in the Napa surge that soon followed. The wines were well balanced, tart and refreshing. I drank them for several years before they basically disappeared from the local market. That was why it was such a surprise to find the wine sitting on the shelf . I occasionally see their Cabernet, but it has been fifteen years since I saw a bottle of their chardonnay in Ohio. Two bottles left the store with me, along with a very well priced 2001 Barolo.

I stopped at the market on the way home and the second old friend was sitting in the seafood case. Alaskan king crab legs were on a tremendous sale today. With a Trefethen chardonnay in the car the crab legs were singing to me to take them home as well.

A small salad and a Potato Anna cut into wedges and there were some happy faces in the house this evening.

As with a number of things the wine proved that sometimes memories are better than reality. I still have a label of a 1981 Trefethen chardonnay and it was listed as 12.5 percent alcohol. the current model goes at 14.1 percent and was a little too rich and over-oaked for my current taste. It was still a good wine for what it was trying to be, but it just isn't my style of white wine today.

Now if I could find a bottle of Trefethen's riesling that might have been the perfect match with the crab. From what I read they still make one of the best rieslings in California.

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