Writer’s Block

Last night something unusual happened while I was working the floor.

We 86ed three different wines from our list.

For those not familiar with the term “86,” it means you run out of something.  There are a few suggestions of where the term originated, but that’s really not the blog I am writing this morning.

Our wine list is 10 1/2 years old, and there are a handful of wines on the list we have cellared over that time.  Those bottles are far and few between, and for the most part, these wines are ready to be consumed.

Of course, from my point of view, these individual bottles represent time, time that can never be revisited.  A bittersweet experience, these wines are ready to be enjoyed, but once they’re gone, I will never ever see them again.

These wines have special meaning, and I have watched them lie in my bins for such a long time that I expect them to be there when I return to work the following day.

Domaine Dujac Morey St. Denis Blanc 2003:  the first wine to say good-bye to mama last night.  So pretty and yet so ready to be released. Dujac has such sentimental meaning for me because it’s the domaine where Stephen and I worked the harvest in 2002.  We lived with the Seysses family while we picked grapes.  It’s the place I performed my one and only pigeage, and it’s the wine that represents Burgundy for me.  Of course, 2003 was the year Stephen and I married so I think about that vintage as a super hot one (which it was), and when I say hot, I mean the temperature in France.  Ten years later, this wine was drunk by some of my favorite guests who gave it the attention it deserved.  My one and only bottle said good-bye, and I was fortunate to have a sip before she left me forever.

Gargiulo “Aprile” Sangiovese 2005:  Aprile is a friend I met when travelling to Napa about seven years ago.  We are roughly the same age, and what we have in common is we both attended universities 15 minutes away from one another.  What we don’t have in common is that she attended Duke and I attended UNC Chapel Hill.  That’s a major divide, but we worked through it.  Aprile invited me to dinner at her beautiful estate along with a few others, and she prepared this incredible meal to accompany her fantastic wines.  As soon as I returned home from my Napa trip, I ordered this wine, and this was the last bottle of the 2005 vintage.  I had hidden this bottle in a spot where no one could find it but me (any of you who have seen the wine room at On the Square will not have a hard time believing this).  When I got him out, we had a few words before I knew it was time for him to leave.  The minute I opened it, I smelled the cranberries and the wild cherries, and I knew he had developed into the wine he was destined to be.

Corison Cabernet Sauvignon 2002:  Cathy Corison.  Female winemaker extraordinaire.  I have been buying her wines since 2000 when her fantastic 1997 was released.  She was highlighted on the wine list at Windows, and Stephen went to her winery in Napa in 2001 when I was sitting for my first advanced sommelier exam in San Francisco.  This was the last bottle, and I couldn’t believe it when I looked in the reserve bin to find there would not be any more after I opened her.  Eleven years after the harvest, this wine was finally letting go.  Some of my favorite guests had ordered this bottle as well, and they were excited about trying her after all of this time in bottle.  She did not disappoint, and as much as I hated to say bon voyage, I knew the minute I decanted her, it was time.

Time continues to turn, and I am constantly amazed at how long it’s been.  In 2003, Stephen and I were married; in 2002, we opened a restaurant and in 2005, we had a one-year-old daughter.  These are vintages in the vineyard, and they are also vintages of one’s life.  These years mark time, time where monumental events occurred.

The beauty of wine.  It triggers so many senses on the palate and on the nose, but it also triggers a sense of time.  Time that can not be revisited, but can be remembered.

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  • Angela Griffin

    you’re such a beautiful writer.