Extracurriculars and French Wine

It’s been a few days since my last post. I suppose that will happen sometimes. This was a fairly crazy week with multiple events every day. Lawyers at mid-size firms, like the one I’m at, are expected to not only work a lot of hours for our clients, but also to get our name out there to bring in business[1]. This means, I spend a lot of time doing “extracurricular” activities, like weekly 7 a.m. networking meetings, bar association events, political fundraisers, and talking to fourth graders about the law. Thankfully, I’ve been able to finagle a way to drink wine at many of my extracurriculars, so it’s not really that bad.[2]

This was the first of my ClubW wine selections. We were heading to an event, soIMG_5153 I was hoping for a wine that did not need a food pairing to be enjoyed. I admit, I was somewhat hesitant about this one. Wine clubs and wine buying conglomerates[3] have left me high and dry in the past. But one of my colleagues at the Firm said she’d placed an order and enjoyed all the bottles tasted thus far, so I gave it a shot. I picked this bottle because in theory, today is the second day of spring,[4] and I took the lovely flowers on the label as a good sign.

To:                  Alleged Blog Readers
From:              WineEsquire
Date:               March 21, 2015
Wine:             ClubW Atelier Saint Saturnin 2012 Review
On the nose I get a little must, but it’s not overly fragrant.  The color is beautiful, almost cranberry. No real legs[5] when I swirl. When I taste I get some grape fruit juice but not a whole lot of flavor. Very light. I would say it was pleasant. This had a smooth finish and not a lot of tannins.[6] You certainly don’t need an eight ounce filet to imbibe, which was perfect since I really just wanted a glass before we left. There was nothing that called me back for more though. Husband, who had just brushed his teeth and put on cologne before tasting, was not helpful in discerning any flavors.

Honestly, I would say this was a dud. It was certainly not a ghastly wine that left a bad taste in my mouth, but it really didn’t leave any taste in my mouth, which sort of defeats the point of drinking wine. If you’re doing the ClubW thing, I would probably skip the Atelier.

Wine Dossier
IMG_5160There is no discernible grape type on the bottle and the cork was unmarked[7]. The front label reads “Atelier, Saint Saturnin, 2012”. I had to Google Saint Saturnin thinking it was a type of grape I’d never heard of before. This is actually a village in France[8]. The back of the bottle reads “2012 Red Wine, Coteaux[9] du Languedoc” so it’s a blend of grapes from the region known as Coteaux du Languedoc, but I thought it rather odd that the specific varietals weren’t listed. Turns out, this is not all that uncommon for French wines since historically, the French grow and identify wines by region rather than by varietal. ClubW provides you with a full description of each wine.[10] It identified this as being a Grenache and Syrah blend and described the wine as “full-bodied, earthy and rich.” Go figure. Like I said, the taste of a wine can change depending on when and where you drink it. Maybe I’ll give it another try later and report back.

March 22, 2015. Tried the wine again. Same verdict. Review is sustained.

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] This is different from people who work in BigLaw. If you’re in a MegaFirm, they just expect you to bill until you drop. There are apparently lawyer robot drones other people to take care of bringing in business. It’s a mysterious and miserable world. I’m glad I’m not part of it.
[2] I didn’t drink with the fourth graders. Promise.
[3] Not to name names, but if an offer of $25 for $75 worth of wine shows up on Groupon or LivingSocial, I’ve learned to stay away.
[4] We had several inches of snow yesterday and it was still going when we woke up this morning. I’m pleased to report, however, that the temperature has spiked to a balmy 43°F and most of yesterday’s precipitation is disappearing.
[5] I knew the term “wine legs” and what they looked like, but did not know what it indicated. Turns out it has no bearing on the quality of the wine. Rather, high alcohol content and wines with high sugar content will have “legs”, or visible streams or drops down the side of the glass when you swirl. Feel free to read more about “wine legs” a/k/a wine tears” here.
[6] You can learn a bit about tannins here. Basically, if a wine tastes dry, you can tell your friends that you’re getting a lot of tannins.
[7] Probably not a big deal but it is rather boring not to have a pretty cork. Also made me a little nervous about the quality of the wine.
[8] And also a saint. Note, per Wikipedia, this image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. Saturninus_vignay
[9] “Coteaux” translates directly to “hill” but when talking about wine, it means “a hill covered by vines”. I had to Google this too. Don’t worry, I got you.
[10] My plan is not to look at these until after I’ve written my reviews so I’m not tainted.



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