Friday, September 19, 2008

Baby, You Got Class

The ultimate wine of the hurricane season came Sunday night about five hours after the power went out. It was my intention to roast a Cornish game hen and open a 1990 Lupe Cholet Aloxe Corton. It was about half way through cooking the five rice mixture that the winds blew through and knocked the power out. Undaunted - we improvised.

As soon as the winds died enough to light a match I lit the grill, rubbed the game hen with shallot pepper, wrapped some carrots in foil and made another foil pouch with some of the rice and cooking water. Everything went on the grill over indirect heat.

This was my third, and last, bottle of the Aloxe Corton. The first was very good but faded quickly. The second was dead on arrival. This one was something else indeed.

Opening the wine there was a strong aroma of fresh cherries laid over some dried darker ones mixed with just tilled soil. There was even a hint of cinnamon. Medium to light in color, it looked like a pinot noir should look, somewhat pale. There was just the slightest bit of browning at the edges. The aroma just kept coming at you from the glass, filling the room.

The cherries and dirt were there in full force on the taste, and the tannins and good acidity were there as well. The finish was mellow, long and wonderful. Nothing about this wine was out of balance. It didn't hit you over the head with fruit or tannin to announce its presence, it just wrapped you in its arms and smiled at you.

I suspect this was never an outstanding or over the top wine. It was never Ursula Andress walking out of the surf in Dr. No, a life changing experience if there ever was one. This wine was never a star, but was a secondary player who over the course of her career aged gracefully and never fell apart. In the end, and throughout the evening, this class shined through and never faded. It's good that the third bottle was the best because the first two never would have lived up to this one.

The game hen was delicious, as were the rice and carrots and they matched well with the wine. There was no parsley or basil or other "green things" to decorate the plate because they were growing in pots and the hurricane winds 'relocated' them to parts unknown. In their place I received siding from a house, shingles, mulch, lawn furniture, a grill cover, the top of a post light, three empty soft drink cans, a bird feeder, two balls, an unwrapped Sunday newspaper and at least 273 pine cones, all of which were embedded against the fencing surrounding the patio.

It made little difference, because there was still that wine....

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