A great passion of mine (and a vocation – both daytime and on the side) is wine. I’ve been involved in the wine business for almost twenty years now, and as a result I have great friends that find similar love in the enjoyment of fermented grape juice. It’s not uncommon for us to get together and pop some corks, but what I experienced last night was something rare.
Gathering at our friend Joe’s house (on a perfect evening, spending most of the time on the back patio) we proceeded to taste nearly two dozen wines that rank as some of the best of the best, period. I know far fancier and “name brand” wine tastings happen all the time, but this particular one was a great mix of old and new, well known and unknown, and the occasional “cult” wine that is rarely seen much less tasted. (A sidebar on the evening can be found at my friend Bill’s site decant-this.com.)
I was overwhelmed with the greatness of the wines, which led to an interesting thought: when presented with that much greatness, one after another, do they dilute the integrity and power of each-other?
It’s a question I often ask myself at conferences, think-tank gatherings (WDS2010 would be a good example) or great music festivals (SxSW). How can something or someone powerful, detailed, wonderful, and nearly perfect show best amongst powerful, detailed, wonderful, and nearly perfect peers?
It’s a fascinating question with no easy answers. Do you look for similarities or differences? When you go to a music festival are you comparing the acts or letting each exist on its own? Is there a standard by which things like art/wine/literature should be judged? What do you think?
PS: For those interested in wine, here is the partial list of what we enjoyed:
- 2008 Aubert Carneros Chardonnay (Hyde Vineyard)
- 2008 Nicolas Joly “Les Clos Sacres” Savennieres
- n/v Henriot “Souverain” Champagne
- 2006 Dr. Loosen Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett
- 2003 Domdechant Werener Hochheim Domdechaney, Rheingau
- 2007 Jakob Schneider Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese
- 2005 Aston Estates Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast (I loved this wine)
- 2006 Selvapiana “Bucerchiale” Chianti Rufina Riserva
- 2005 Carlisle Zinfandel “Gold Mine Ranch” Dry Creek Valley (unfortunately, slightly corked)
- 2006 Carlisle Zinfandel “Gold Mine Ranch” Dry Creek Valley
- 2003 Domaine la Barroche Chateauneuf du Pape
- 2006 Pax Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard, Mendocino
- 2006 Pax Syrah Mellessen Vineyard, Green Valley, Russian River Valley (interesting having two AVA’s on the label)
- 2004 Mauro Terreus, Spain
- 2003 Clos Mogador, Priorat, Spain
- 2006 Turley Zinfandel Hayne Vineyard, Napa Valley
- 2005 Pax Alder Springs Cuvee, Alder Springs Vineyard, Mendocino
- 2002 Gibson Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
- 1980 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley
- 1980 St. Clement Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
- 1990 Heitz Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (my wine of the night)
- 2003 Ridge Monte Bello
- 1995 Ridge Monte Bello
- 2004 Pine Ridge Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon
- …. and after I left they popped some Chateau D’Yquem. I’ll never the first to leave again!