Open That Bottle Night – Chapoutier For The Win

File Feb 28, 8 55 07 AMIf you haven’t heard about Open That Bottle Night, you’re probably living under a rock. A brilliant pair of wine aficionados[1] invented the holiday in 1999, and every year, on the last Saturday in February, the world pops open one of “Those Bottles.” You know the ones; you’ve been saving it for something special, you just don’t know what. The annual event is an excuse to take a time out, be a bit decadent, and drink some amazing wine. What could be better?[2]

As I perused the wine cellar[3] in the basement, I realized that I need more good wine[4]. I was deciding between two of my Last Bottle Marathon selections, a 2012 Chateau Montelena[5] Cabernet and the 2007 Chapoutier Sizeranne Hermitage. I went French, because, good juju for the Millesima Blog Awards can’t hurt![6] It was not a bad decision.


To:                  Alleged Blog Readers
From:              WineEsquire
Date:               February 27, 2016
Wine:              2007 Chapoutier Monier de la Sizeranne – Hermitage


File Feb 28, 9 02 05 AMEver since I got my beautiful decanter, I tend to err on the side of decanting, especially if I know it’s a big wine or there’s a bit of age to it. The process of decanting is almost cathartic, and the Rabbit shower aerator makes the whole thing very fun.

We didn’t leave it in the decanter for long[7], but poured right into our glasses and started sipping. Husband quickly exclaimed, “Wow!” The nose at first had a bit of a Bordeaux flowery vibe. After the first sip he cried, “This is what wine should taste like!” My own reaction was a bit more subdued, I wasn’t getting quite as much as Husband, but it was certainly a smooth, delectable experience.

File Feb 28, 8 59 41 AMWhat was really fascinating was how the wine changed over an hour’s time span. My initial nose reaction was barn; musty dirt, a bit of earthiness. At first the wine appeared to me to be light with hints of fruit; first raspberry, then pronounced cherry, like the old Luden’s cough drops in the white waxy paper. On the finish I got a bit of bread, maybe almost some yeast. The wine wasn’t dry per se, but it made my mouth feel tight on the finish, perhaps just the slightest hint of tannins.

An hour later and the wine really changed. I mean, really changed. It went from the lighter end of the spectrum to a heavier, deeper juice. More body, more complex, much drier. Still delicious, but astoundingly different. The fruit notes turned into a deep, smoky burnt wood. Isn’t it crazy how wine can do that?

Instead of a meal, we paired That Bottle with a variety of stanky cheeses from the bits and bobs bin at Whole Paycheck Foods. A hunk of French cow, a 9 month aged Gouda, and a slab of perfectly salty Parmesan[8]. What a way to spend our first OTBN as we pre-gamed for a dinner party down the street.

Wine Dossier
Maison M. Chapoutier is an old winemaking estate in Tain-l’Hermitage, a small commune in the Rhone region of France. Michel Chapoutier, a seventh generation winemaker, is continuing what his ancestor Polydor Chapoutier started in 1879 when he bought the family’s first vines in the area.

File Feb 28, 8 57 16 AMBecause this is a French bottle, the label needs some deciphering. Chapoutier labels are rather unique in that, since 1996, the important details[9] are not only written, but printed in Braille as well. The idea started when current vintner Michel realized his blind friend, Gilbert Montagnin, could not read wine labels. Coincidentally, Maurice Monier de la Sizeranne, original owner of the plot of the Hermitage where this wine hails from, blinded at age nine himself, invented the first version of abbreviated Braille.

This bottle doesn’t really give you any information about what kind of wine it is[10]. Sizeranne and Hermitage both refer to the location the grapes were grown, Sizeranne being the specific vineyard plot within the Hermitage commune. Some fine print on the bottom simply says “Vin Rouge, Red Wine.” The Chapoutier website indicates the wine is made from Syrah grapes aged in oak casks for between 12 and 14 months. Other websites claim it’s a blend of Syrah and Grenache. Whatever it is, it tastes good.

During the Marathon I picked this baby up for $69; right now it’s retailing online for between $80 and $120. If you’re up for a pricy adventure, give it a whirl; it certainly won’t disappoint!

Lawyer Footnotes
File Feb 28, 9 05 14 AM[1] Who just happen to be married to each other and are the cutest ever.
[2] To be fair, I think we celebrate this holiday on a regular basis, just not always with the pricier bottles.
[3] I use the term “wine cellar” very loosely, as it’s really just a few wine racks in our basement. We’re trying to improve the humidity with a dehumidifier and some shower curtains. Highly specialized. Very official.
[4] I totally have Novinophobia, defined by the Urban Dictionary as “the fear of running out wine.” Despite my best attempts, I was unable to locate any scientific data that supports that this affliction is real.
[5] One of my cult favorites.
[6] If you voted in the Millesima Blog Awards, thank you so so much!
[7] #PatienceIsAVirtueWeDontHave
[8] Did I mention how heavenly the Parmesan is? It’s amazing.
[9] Like the producer, the vintage, the vineyard, the region and the color of the wine.
[10] I feel like this is often an issue with French bottles.

Millesima Wine Blog Awards

File Feb 10, 11 27 06 AMImagine it’s a Tuesday morning. Imagine there’s lots of snow on the ground and you’re not looking forward to snow blowing your driveway watching Husband snow blow your driveway. It starts out as just another day, but then you open your email and a smile spreads over your face.

millesimaWell, that’s what happened to me yesterday when I found out I was a finalist in the 2016 Millesima Blog Awards! What a great way to start the day! Millesima is an indubitable leader in the sale of fine wine futures and grand cru wines with a home base in Europe and a flagship store in NYC. This year they’ve partnered with Bernard Magrez[1] to host their third annual blog awards, recognizing wine bloggers from Europe and America.

vue_aerienne_chateau_fombrauge_0The winner from each category will be flown to Bordeaux and put up at the decadent Château Fombrauge in St. Emillion, one of Magrez’ four grand cru[2] classé properties. While there, the winners will be treated to a sampling of each of his estate’s 2015 barrels[3] during en primeur week when the world gets its first taste of the 2015 vintage while still resting in the barrel[4].

weFinalists were chosen by Bordeaux wine experts, Xavier Sanchez and Nicolas de Rouyn. Somehow I’ve made it to the finalists round, but now I need YOUR help! The winners will be chosen by popular vote, and that’s why I need you (and all your friends) to vote for my entry. (Make sure you vote for Wine Esquire!)

If I’m selected and make my way to Bordeaux, I can promise you that I’ll be bringing home copious amounts of wine[5], and I’ll be giving away a bottle to one of my voters! Drop me an email at wineesquire@gmail.com to tell me you voted for Wine Esquire and you’ll be entered to win! You’ll also be given a discount code to purchase fine wine from Millesima online.

This is so exciting! I think I’m gonna have to brush up on my French! Merci et bonne journée![6]

Thanks so much for your support!

wevoteLawyer Footnotes
[1] One of wine’s most well-respected and dignified wine magnates in the world. He’s been on my radar for years.
[2] Grand Cru means great growth and refers to a highly prized wine designation which delineates vineyards with excellent wine growing reputations. Magrez is the only one who owns four such vineyards.
[3] “Any offering from Bernard Magrez” has been on my wine bucket list since day one, so having the chance to actually VISIT his four properties is surreal.
[4] En primeur translates to “premiering” and is more popularly known as “wine futures.” It is a way for distributors and investors to get the good stuff for a good price since wine futures typically debut at the lowest price and go up from there. It has been increasingly used as a wine investment vehicle. Maybe I’ll get in on the investment scheme and buy some while I’m there…
[5] Who needs to bring clothes? What I really need is an empty suitcase. Or maybe one of these.
[6] That means “Thank you and have a good day!”

Maybe it’s the Heat…Crazy People and White Bordeaux

Sometimes you have to deal with as#holes. Maybe it’s the heat, or maybe it’s because it’s Monday, but today was one of those days. You know it’s going to be bad when you can tell they’re crazy from the longwinded email they send you telling you they only have two days to get something filed[1]. The phone call started well enough, but then when I started asking Crazy Person some probing questions,[2] things quickly spiraled downhill. By the time we got off the phone, I had been accused of lying and was told I should brush up on my knowledge of the law. Turns out that Crazy Person’s next call was to one of the partners at The Firm to tell him my employment should be terminated. Thankfully I work with good people who know I’m not a moron. Another partner called back Crazy Person to try and calm them down and was met with a very similar breakdown in communication. Needless to say, The Firm did not take Crazy Person on as a new client today. #winning

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned since I started practicing[3] was when not to take on a client. Usually you just know it’s not going to end well. Do yourself a favor and listen to that little voice that says “Don’t do it!” and politely tell them to go take a hike.[4]

Now on to that wine!
______________________________________________
To:                  Alleged Blog Readers
From:              WineEsquire
Date:               July 13, 2015
Wine:              2011 Chateau de La Bouyere Bordeaux
______________________________________________
IMG_7554Maybe it’s the heat, but I can’t get enough white wine lately[5]. I’m having so much fun trying new varietals I’ve never heard of.[6] On the nose this was sweet and nutty at the same time. At one point during our meal I got peanut butter. It was an excellent pairing with our homemade crepes[7] which were topped with a fresh raspberry, blueberry honey compote[8] and accompanied by perfectly cooked bacon.[9] Not light but not a full bodied white either. I taste white grapes and cantaloupes; it’s fruity but not sweet, in fact it’s a bit on the drier side with just a hint of tannins at work. Overall I’d say it was soft and smooth rather than crisp. Certainly not the typical white wine you get at Lawyer Extracurricular events. Now that it’s been open for an hour or so I get a mineral finish that I didn’t sense during dinner.

Not sure I’d rush to buy another bottle, but it was a fun new white I’ve never had before. Well worth the $9.99 I paid. If you see it, give it a swirl and let me know how it goes!

Wine Dossier
IMG_7561
Though I found no website, a few sources indicated that Chateau de la Bouyere has been owned by the Queyrens family for more than a century. The bottle refers to “Queyrens Viticulteurs” but is silent on what varietals were used to produce this blend; the Internets tells me it’s a mix of 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Semillon is apparently a fairly easy going grape and is found mostly in France and Australia. It is a popular varietal used in the production of Bordeaux wines. Sauvignon Blanc is more widely cultivated throughout the world, but is popular in France where it is a common ingredient in white Bordeaux blends. My experience with Sauvignon Blanc is that it tends to be very minerally, very sweet, or both. It’s not a varietal I typically seek out, but this blend was one that I enjoyed.

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Something you’ve never heard of before…and you’ve been doing this type of law for years…Yeah.
2] You know, because I’m the lawyer and need to know what the EFF you’re talking about.
[3] Which is more years than I care to admit.
[4] Unfortunately, at some point, they’ll find a lawyer to take the case. #notmyproblem
[5] Or Rosé. Or Bubbly. #winoproblems
[6] Who knew Bordeaux did white? Not this girl. Of course it makes perfect sense.
[7] Per this guy on YouTube, it’s pronounced “crep” not crape.
[8] #dessertfordinner. You can do that when you’re an adult.
[9] No food photo this time, I was too hungry. Sorry.

What a Weekend!

IMG_7144If you ever have the chance to go on a Rosé yacht cruise on a gorgeous summer night, I would highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunity! We arrived in the Big Apple[1], found our hotel, downloaded the Uber app[2] and headed down to Pier 40 to board the Hornblower Infinity Yacht. We were greeted by a long line of humans snaking through a concrete parking garage slew of happy people ready to get their Rosé on!

IMG_7226As we stepped onto the yacht we saw tables upon tables of chilled Rosé! I was a very happy camper. I thought I’d take notes on some and give you a synopsis of what I tasted, but it turns out that when you start drinking lots of Rosé it’s hard to keep things straight[3]. So my notes consisted of “buy this,” and “buy a case” and that’s about it. Once I get my shipment in, I’ll give you the low down, bottle by bottle.

For now, you’ll have to settle for my ramblings on a superb McClaren Vale Shiraz. Happy Sunday!

________________________________________________
To:                  Alleged Blog Readers
From:              WineEsquire
Date:               June 28, 2015
Wine:              2008 Descendant of Squid Ink Shiraz
________________________________________________
IMG_7236Notes of leathery chocolate cherries greet me on the nose. This is absolute liquid velvet. Medium bodied; rich and full of flavor. A long spicy finish. The color is a powerful ruby with some nice legs. I let it breathe for approximately 10 minutes and I have a feeling this is going to keep going strong for the rest of the night. While the 2008 may not be easy to find, I’d recommend getting any vintage you can, trying a bottle now and holding another for a few years. That’s my plan at least![4]

Cheers!

Wine Dossier
I’d had this wine at a restaurant a few years ago and instantly went to buy as many as I could find. Unfortunately, I was only able to secure three bottles and this was the last of them. It was even better than it was two years ago, so I’m glad we let it sit.

The producer is McLaren Vale III Associates located in McLaren Vale, South Australia, an area which is a self-described melting pot of winemakers and beach goers. Sounds like heaven. This particular line of wines is made from grapes from the Squid Ink vineyard and made in the “older style” though they don’t explain what that means. It’s 100 percent Shiraz[5] and spent nine months in seasoned American oak.

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Roughly two hours later that I’d planned. #traffic That meant no dinner beforehand. Thankfully there were some delicious snacks on board.IMG_7227
[2] We were “Nubers”. Get it? If you’ve never Ubered before and want to give it a try, download the app and enter code reginav96ue for a free ride up to $20. Yea boi!|
[3] And tough to take nice pictures too…
[4] According to their website, the 2013 has won several awards, so I’d say that would be a good place to start.
[5] a/k/a Syrah, remember?