| The funny thing about epiphanies is that you never know when you’re going to experience one. Sometimes, as was the case with me this week, they can almost be overlooked as we carry on with our daily routines. This past week was a bit of a blur for me, but now that I look back upon it, I’ve come to recognize the driving force that gets me up in the morning, into my car for a seventeen mile commute, and into this frigid warehouse: Bordeaux. Sure, I’ve said it before; sure, my colleagues are all aware of this; sure, my friends very well know this; and no doubt, if you have read my ramblings with any regularity, you all know this too. So I got caught up in my daily routine; running errands, beating deadlines (barely), and took my eye off the ball for a minute. Ah, but a series of recent episodes have (believe it or not, yet another one just occurred as I was writing this) served to remind me that indeed, it is all about Bordeaux!
| It was around this time last year that the UGC Bordeaux tasting of newly bottled 2006’s took place here in San Francisco. This year was a little different. Though originally scheduled for January 27, the Union cancelled the event leaving last Wednesday’s tasting in Hollywood the sole west-coast opportunity to taste the newly-bottled 2007’s. On what would normally be my day off, I found myself scrambling to the airport to catch a 10:25 to LAX. Well, it didn’t take off until 12:45 … (grumble, grumble). Once in LA, I was whisked off quickly to Hollywood by our Southern California sales rep, Jennifer (thanks again!). I rolled through the wines excitedly as this was the first vintage I ever tasted out of barrel. I’m drifting off the subject here … Look for my thoughts on the 2007 Bordeaux vintage in the form of an upcoming email and/or blog post.Anyhoo, I found myself turning the lock on the front door of the treehouse at 11 PM, then realizing that it had been a long day.
I shared my impressions when I came in on Tursday (not a typo, that’s how I say it now), and got back in the Wine House groove. Later in the afternoon, a wine rep called looking for Anya. I told him she would be in on Friday. He then asked me if I was the buyer for Italian wines, I said no. He then asked me which wines I was responsible for buying here. I was once the Port buyer, but then I went to a Port tasting. Our Port section is still indicative of my impressions of that tasting. I then mentioned that I am quite involved with our Bordeaux inventory, as evidenced by my attendance the previous day at the Hollywood tasting. He then asked me my impressions. If you are pressed for time, don’t EVER ask me to talk about Bordeaux, EVER!!! We spoke for around 25 minutes, and as we were hanging up, he thanked me for, his words, “the education”.
Reminder #3 came earlier today as I was writing the intro paragraph to this email. Gary, a very good customer who often makes the mistake of asking me about Bordeaux, popped in. I waved, head down, trying to cling to a faint train of thought when he walked over to my work station and said, “How’s Bordeaux?” I excitedly jumped out of my chair and exclaimed, “That’s it! That’s what I’m on about!” We chatted at length about the Hollywood tasting, wine scores, and Mondays at Restaurant Picco. After he left, my train of thought was no longer needed as I hit the free flow zone, which is the zone in which I want to be if I’m writing something.
| Okay, so it’s all about Bordeaux then, you want to tell us about a wine, Pete? Well, as a matter of fact, I do. The thing about Bordeaux, though, is that it’s special. It invigorates me every single time I get to wiggle one of the lengthy corks that proudly displays the Chateau’s name and vintage out of a bottle neck. Soaring prices are making that more and more difficult for me, but check out what I found.I seem to have the best luck with overlooked vintages. Coming on the heels of the much celebrated 2005, the 2006 vintage in Bordeaux received little fanfare, and most buyers had loaded up so much on the ’05’s that they had no room for any 06’s. When the 2006 Chateau Fleur Cardinale recently arrived, I thought it a good idea to grab a half bottle to see what’s up with a property that wallops the quality for price paradigm vintage after vintage. Wow, was I happy I did! The 2006 Fleur Cardinale hits the stage like a band that’s been playing together for years. You’ve got earthy mineral on drums; silky, sweet tannins on bass; that spicy verve on lead guitar; and a dark, brambly berry on vocals … how’s that for a lineup? Best thing is this band will play in your living room for a fraction of the cost of a U2 ticket! Not to mention, they’ll play an encore any time you want!
It’s tough to follow Anya’s writeups week after week, especially when she finds a great wine for $15. But this is a whole different ballgame, folks. This is Bordeaux. And dime for dime, especially compared to other St. Emilions, the 2006 Chateau Fleur Cardinale is every bit as much of a bargain as last week’s wine. After all, it IS all about Bordeaux, isn’t it? – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to email me about the UGC tasting in Hollywood, anything Bordeaux related (at your own risk), Port tastings, or, especially, next Sunday’s showdown between Chelsea and Arsenal: firstname.lastname@example.org