As I write, I am riding on Highway 97 heading toward Hancock, New York, a town approximately 15 miles away from the hamlet of Lordville, population 79 people.
Lordville is the place where my father-in-law lives, and the place where I love to vacate more than any other.
It is at Pop Pop’s cabin where I get to truly relax. There is no internet service; our cell phones do not work; and our kids can roam freely, being entertained by the moss and the river and the deer.
I love it here, and my husband spent a great deal of his childhood in these parts of the world so it is even more of a special destination.
I call it God’s Land; he calls it Mother Nature. Whatever you call it, Pop Pop’s is a special place where our family can retreat and relax.
It isn’t often where Stephen and I splurge on a bottle of wine to drink at home. Even less often is that special bottle a red.
No, Stephen and I mainly drink Cava, beer and wine left over from the weekend as our by-the-glass pours.
But in honor of being away in the Garden of Eden (as I like to call Pop Pop’s house), I decided to bring an ultra-special bottle to celebrate life in its grandness.
Angelo Gaja, anyone?
Kinda long story, but just in case anyone is interested, I’ll start at the beginning.
Angelo Gaia is the king of the Piedmont. He has revolutionized Barbaresco by not conforming to the regions’ laws or standards. In fact, his three cru Barbarescos are named by the vineyards where they are produced, never mentioning the word Barbaresco on the label. Sori Tilden, Sori San Lorenzo and Costa Russi are the three crus where great things happen in the world of red wine. Primarily Nebbiolo, he is known to add a little Barbera to the blend, being a major reason why he isn’t allowed to label these wines Barbaresco.
But I digress.
Besides Gaja’s wines being insanely delicious, they are also insanely expensive. Beyond that, they are highly allocated, and the only places in North Carolina receiving the opportunity to carry these wines are mammoth steakhouses like Ruth’s Chris, Sullivan’s, Angus Barn and the like.
As fate would have it, this past April when I was knee deep in catering details for a very large wedding, a six-pack of what was supposed to be Gevrey Chambertin 2007 at $29/bottle came in Angelo Gaja Sori San Lorenzo 2001. Six bottles, ladies and gentlemen.
Six bottles delivered to me with no hesitation, no favors, no nothing, and the cherry on the sundae was the invoice made no mention of Gaja or any other reflection of a superior wine.
The facts: On the Square received 6 bottles of wine that retail for $300 a bottle for only $174 big ones.
Being a firm believer in Karma as well as being sympathetic to the fact that someone could lose their job over this blunder, I called our awesome sales representative and gave him the low down. I also said if they would wait for us to get paid for the upcoming wedding, I would like to buy this six-pack as part of our journey to make On the Square’s wine list one of the greatest in North Carolina.
I’m not sure if it was the economy or what, but the distributor allowed us to keep five of the six bottles, and we paid for them the following week.
You know those people who make a little money and they spend it immediately.
Well, I am one of those when it comes to wine. Forget shoes, clothes, purses. I like to buy wine, and sometimes it’s more hedonistic than realistic, but it’s what I like to do.
So, here we are, about to go on vacation, and I figure this is the time to splurge and buy a bottle to enjoy on our great trip up north.
It helps ease the pocketbook pain a little that Stephen is preparing for his Master Sommelier exam in August so we are also blind tasting quite a bit and we can use the wine as a write-off.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for. So, how did it taste?
Can you say Glee, Yankees, Bring It On, Fletch, Children Behaving Well in a Restaurant, My Lord all in the same sentence?
Yes, it was all of our favorite things combined in one sip. Spicy raspberry fruit mixed with leather and smoke and bacon and anise that gripped but didn’t scratch and soothed as you swallowed.
Worth it? Absolutely.
Money well spent? And then some.
A learning experience? Always.
The only way to sell it to our customers? You bet your life.
There is no better way to talk about wine than to taste it first. That is what makes our jobs so incredible. To taste and then to talk about it.
We should be punished.