Friday, July 30, 2010

Hobby or Obsession?

I can remember vividly when the "light" was switched on in my head (the wine light that is). Or maybe since I still have "Exhibit A" I can refer to the date on the spine of the Wine Spectator magazine that shoved me into the deep end of the wine pool (March 31, 2003).
I had been a wine drinker for more than 20 years and though I love the taste of wine I never really thought about what I was tasting. Looking back it surprises me just a bit. I am a very accomplished chef and I was good at matching food to wine, but after reading that issue of Spectator I had a revelation. That revelation was simple: "I need to buy 2000!".
For the next several weeks I poured over as many sources of information as I could get my hands on. Wine Spectator, Wally's of L.A. newsletter, Wine Advocate, Zachy's online and countless online sources I can't even remember. The result was that I ordered about 15 cases of Bordeaux. Most of this was Petite Chateau and Bordeaux Superior, but I did also snag some Cru Classe wines. My goal with my selections was to get as much high quality wine as I could for what I had to spend. This also meant that I needed to get a place to store the incoming wine since suddenly my 5 case under counter cooler was now woefully undersized.
I discovered a new wine storage facility on the Eastside of Portland called
Portland Wine Storage. I rented a 18 case locker and the rest is history. Today my locker has turned into a 30+ case room and the owners Tom Harvey and Joe Padulo have become good friends of mine. Tom, his wife Andria and my buddy Sam Sundeleaf and I are on the verge of making wine commercially. The funny thing about wine is that once you start amping up your collection you would be surprised how often I can walk into that 30 case cellar and still not feel like I have anything to drink.
Here is the list of the wines I purchased (listed alphabetically).Chateau D' Agassac
Chateau Batailley
Chateau Beaumont
Chateau Bellefont Belcier
Chateau Cambon La Pelouse
Chateau Cantemerle
Chateau Cantenac
Chateau Clos L'Eglise
Chateau Fombrage
Chateau Gigault Cuvee Viva
Chateau Haut Batailley
Chateau Lynch Bages
Chateau Lynch Moussas
Chateau Martinens
Chateau Petit-Village
Chateau Pibran
Chateau Reignac
Chateau Rollan De By
Chateau Rouillac
Chateau Sociando Mallet
Chateau Les Trois Croix

I have sampled all of these wines with the exception of the Sociando Mallet and the Lynch Bages. The find of the bunch I think is the Reignac. Wally's wine shop was out of one of the wines I was ordering and they recommended this wine in its place (Parker gave this 92 pts. and I think I paid $19.99/btl.). The nice thing about purchasing wine that you intend to drink versus collect, is that any of them can be broken out for a party whether it be formal or just a couple of friends. Wine is meant to be shared and I hope I can share some of these with those of you who are my friends reading this.
The top bottles I purchased were the Lynch Bages and I tell my 15 year old son that someday we will open those when he gets married. This makes me wish my Dad had set down some 1961 Lynch Bages for my wedding.