Friday, April 06, 2007

Cellar Report

I know the focus is on food here, but what do we have with food more often other than a bottle of wine? Let me answer that for you who need to have the obvious overstated...NOTHING! Just reading about food without knowing what to drink with it is like test driving that new Benzo without checking out the stereo or A/C. Remember knowledge is power gang.

Here at the wine shack I get asked all the time, "How long will this wine last?", and the answer I give is "At least as long as it takes for your credit card to clear." Okay, maybe that isn't my answer, but knowing how long you can cellar a wine is kind of an esoteric subject, so every now and then when I pull something out of the archives, I'll give a little report on how it's showing.

Last night was a beautiful, warm spring evening here in Portland, so w and I fired up the grill for some grass-fed beef cheeseburgers off the Weber. We had just been talking about different kinds of wines we liked, and w had mentioned her preference for good Oregon pinot noir. I had just rearranged the collection, and had a few things that were ready to go, and because I only want for the happiness of others I grabbed a bottle of 1998 Evesham Wood "Seven Springs Vineyard" Pinot Noir for the table. The last time I had this particular wine was about two+ years ago at a restaurant in NYC, and then it was okay, but still very acidic and a bit lean, so I didn't know what to expect. All I can say is what a difference 795 days can make. This has developed into a classic bottle of Oregon noir. EW's pinots are always delicate, more feminine wines, and owner Russ Raney never loads on, thankfully, a lot of new wood. He lets the fruit do the talking, which too many wine makers, in search of high scores, forget to do. When first in the glass, it was a bit smoky and cherryish, and that tart acidity I didn't like last time had integrated into the fruit perfectly. As it sat open it just opened up more and more, and after an hour or so, it was showing loads of sweet, strawberry and slightly peppery, minerally fruit, hints of earthiness just peeking out, with a velvety, long finish. If Russ had been one of those guys who loads on the new wood on top of overripe fruit, which like I said is all the rage, this wouldn't have been near so good going on ten years old. Really great wine, and I'm glad I have one more bottle, which I'll probably let rest comfortably for another couple of years. I love it when it works out like that!

By the way, if you have some bottles in your basements that you're wondering how they might be drinking, feel free to send them to me and I'll let you know! No? Well, then feel free to leave a comment with your question(s) and I'll answer back here and give you my semi-educated opinion. I'm all about love and information at Eat.Drink.Think., so take advantage!


kw said...

Bruce- we've learned the hard way not to keep wine too long! It is a fine line to figure out when is the "perfect time to open". I am not so obsessed about how long to lay down-but more on how long dare you lay down before it's too late!
Thanks for your fun and informative blog!

bb said...

I know that I've dumped my share by waiting too long, and at a certain point you're walking a pretty fine line. I just hope people get over the "when is the right time for that special bottle?" thing. It's always a good time to open a good bottle. That's why this Evesham pinot w/ cheeseburgers couldn't have been better!


CamiKaos said...

there are some bottles down in our basement that are beautiful and treasured. We will never drink them because by now I know they are nasty. They should have been consumed 10 years ago!