It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 3 months since we’ve moved to our new headquarters here in San Francisco’s Dogpatch district. Though it’s new and different, getting here is so much easier than our last location. I mean we’re ONE BLOCK away from a major intersection of 2 busy San Francisco boulevards! It’s also hard to believe that it’s been 3 months since I landed in Bordeaux to attend the 2013 barrel tastings back at the end of March. Where does the time go … seriously? Now that the dust has somewhat settled, look forward to hearing about the trip and some of the exciting finds I made while visiting Bordeaux this year very soon. Our new location has added a mile to my commute, but this morning I was reminded why I endure it each day: Passion.
“If you can sell a wine to me, I can sell it to anyone.” That was how I answered David during my interview after he asked if my lack of retail experience would hinder my ability to perform an important facet of the job. So let’s just say it’s easier for me to recommend wines that appeal to me, especially if there’s a good story behind it. So this morning, a customer came in, she usually sticks to crisp whites, and I have a reasonable idea of what she likes in a wine. As she filled out her case, she threw a curveball at me. Fortunately, it was a hanging curve. She asked me for a Bordeaux recommendation. Smack! Out of the park.
I asked her for some parameters, and quickly reached for a bottle of 2009 Roc de Cambes. She was looking for something “people pleasing and enjoyable now.” I told her that a week ago Thursday night, I poured 3 different Bordeaux wines at the Golden Gate Wine Society’s Bordeaux tasting. I went on about the tasting, and further spoke of my relationship with François Mitjavile and that the Roc de Cambes was the hit of the tasting. When I was done, she asked me, “Do you own this place?” I shook my head and shrugged it off, “no,” I said. She looked at me and replied, “you just work here, eh? Wow, what passion.” I guess so. I love wine, and I love Bordeaux the most. Surprisingly enough, this write-up is not endorsing any particular Bordeaux. It’s about my favorite sub $20 red wine in the shop. I happily drink this wine in every vintage, and I imagine I will do so provided she continues making it. I’m talking about the 2010 Château d’Or et de Gueules Les Cimels.
The “she” I’m talking about here is Diane Puymorin. We speak of her often, and for very good reason. She makes unique wines that have a sense of place, are fairly priced, and taste great. Her 2010 Les Cimels rouge has what I love in a red wine. It’s medium-full bodied, has a wide swath of aromatic nuance which include black tea and forest floor, a harmonious complex palate, and a zippy mouthfeel which paves the way for a long, tasty finish. I just love the stuff. It’s not jammy. It’s not oaky. It’s savory. When I think of how to describe the fruit in this wine, my first inclination is to compare it to a Kalamata olive. I have a good buddy who several years ago, after tasting the 2005, told me to “just bring me a case of each vintage of this stuff when it’s released.” I know why. It’s a great red wine, it’s easy on the wallet, you can drink it on its own, and it also is great with food.
Pretty much low hanging fruit, but hey, this stuff is sensational. Me being me, my conversation doesn’t drift far from Bordeaux for very long, but it was a simple progression to see how I landed on the 2010 Château d’Or et de Gueules Les Cimels today. The phone rang. It was another of my music playing good pals with an invitation to come by after work for a 3-day marinated tri-tip dinner! Anya saw me jump for joy after I hung up the phone. I’ve really got a thing for tri-tip and my buddy is quite the grill meister. Okay, my part. What do I bring? I began this exercise by walking around the floor. Hmmm. Something good, yes, but, it’s the end of the month, so be careful in the spending department. That got me to the filing cabinet to review my roster of personal wines that I have stored here. Aha, I’ll bring my last bottle of 2003 Château Gloria, St. Julien, so we’ve got the Bordeaux covered. But I know this group, one bottle will not suffice, and as generous as I might have felt at the time, I managed to continue to hold off on those 4 bottles of 1995 Clerc Milon I have left. Wait! No brainer, just grab a Cimels and call it a day. And that’s how we got here.
Another day in the life of a wine geek. The tasting last week with the Golden Gate Wine Society went great and was a lot of fun. Thinking about addressing this group of tasters gave me a brief pang of nerves. One of the other presenters was a rather famous importer who knows way more about wine than I do. Heeding Anya’s advice, I was just myself, and regaled the group with “the stories that got you to the tasting in the first place.” So yeah, I’m comfortable talking about Bordeaux … you might say passionate. Also, I’m super excited to hear that we are going about picking up our Bordeaux wines getting them ready for their 5 week voyage across the big pond! I’ll try to keep somewhat of a lid on it until they arrive, but in addition to the 2011’s, there will be some great, value-driven Bordeaux wines from earlier vintages that I will by psyched to see among our bins. Patience. Patience. The waiting will be easy. As long as we have plenty of 2010 Château d’Or et de Gueules Les Cimels around. Wishing you all a happy summer and a happy Independence Day! Cheers! – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments on Bordeaux, The Golden Gate Wine Society, high-quality value red wines, the World Cup finals, or the 2010 Les Cimels: firstname.lastname@example.org