One of the first questions that I asked Anya this morning was, “Do you think there are many Coravin owners out there suffering from buyer’s remorse?” This wasn’t a leading question of any sort. The Coravin device is quite useful, as evidenced by its appearance twice here in our buyer’s tasting room this past week. It’s not exactly cheap, and I was just wondering if she had heard of anyone’s dissatisfaction with it. She mentioned that it is a boon to distributors and sales reps, as they can show their wines to potential customers over a longer period of time. Especially the fancy bottles. Last Monday, we were treated to tasting 3 different vintages of a Second Growth Bordeaux from a negociant! That didn’t happen before the Coravin. Preservation.
Later in the morning, I was waxing nostalgic about the ballpark trips that I would take in my early 20’s. I had visited all the Major League parks except one, though that number is much higher now. One of the other things that I would do when visiting these cities was to find where the city’s old ballpark used to be, and look for signs of evidence of it. Sometimes there isn’t any. Other times, it could be as subtle as a pub called “The Double Play” kitty-corner from the old site. It’s always best when there’s more than that. I regaled Tom and Anya about the site of old Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. It’s now part of the University of Pittsburgh campus, but a fair segment of the ballpark’s brick outfield wall, complete with flagpole still exist to this day. Not only that, where the left field wall once was, is now represented by a brick inlay, sporting a sidewalk plaque commemorating the park’s most memorable moment. Hat’s off to the city planner who allowed for that! More preservation.
Of course, preservation is extremely important with non-Coravined bottles of wine. Not all wine ages well, but the ones that do can be quite magical if preserved properly. The key to any longer term wine storage is consistent temperature. It’s a great thing to cellar the finest wines and get the opportunity to taste them after their respective proper slumber times, but this requires more patience than most of us have. I own some special wine meant for the long haul, but I’m always looking for fun, interesting, and delicious wines to age for the medium term. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m happy to announce the arrival of the 2011 La Bolida from Château d’Or et de Gueules.
Winemaker Diane Puymorin uses around 90% old-vine Mourvèdre (over 90 years old!), and blends it with around 10% Grenache. Believe it or not, her yields for this wine are painfully low, coming in at 10 hectolitres per hectare. In Bandol, growers are allowed up to 40hl, though many keep the number in the 25-30 range. Diane holds the wine back, at her expense, in order to release it in a drinkable state. The 2011 is the current release. This is always one of my favorite wines to cellar. With decanting, it can be drunk early, yet gets more and more interesting after 5, 9, or 12 years! One gets aromas of red and black fruits, earthy mineral, carmel, and anise. The palate is full and unctuous without being overdone. It has great balance, and in its youth, one gets a sense of its coil of complexity that can be coaxed with just a few years of cellaring. The 2011 is another consistent example of what I consider my favorite wine from the Costières de Nîmes. Time flies, I still have one last bottle of the 2004 that needs drinking soon!
Speaking of time flying, as the calendar continues to flip, we’d like to wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day, and a happy Presidents’ Day right behind it! We’re open on Monday, so no three day weekends here, but that’s okay, I will be sure to pop a bottle of my favorite Valentine’s Day wine tomorrow … as I look forward to enjoying the 2011 La Bolida in 2016, 2020, and 2023. As long as they’re well preserved! – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about the Coravin, old time ballparks, old-vine Mourvèdre, Bordeaux, or this week’s resumption of Champions’ League Football: peter@wineSF.com