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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Good Wine and Great Friends

Charlie’s Weekly Wine-ing

As we have closed out another great season at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast, I am contemplating what wines to serve our guest during the 2011 season. As you know, a major part of my job at the Inn is to select the wines. I enjoy the search and, at times, Jan thinks I spend too much of my time thinking about, looking for, and tasting the next wine. With our busy time behind us, now is the perfect time to reflect on the wines we have tasted this year. If you followed my blog last year, I covered a lot of ground from casual Wine Patio in the Inn’s backyard to more formal weekly tastings sponsored by Cellar 55 Wine Merchants and the Belfry Bistro. I have not added it up, but I have tasted and blogged about 100s of wines this past year, some memorable and some not so memorable.

Sometime the wines are quickly forgotten, but I still recall warmly the time spent and laughter shared with friends as we enjoyed the moment together, as much or more than the wine.  For me, wine has always meant good times with good friends. In October, I was invited to a wine tasting that demonstrates how wines and the love of wines can bind a friendship. Our host was sharing wines from the cellar of his long time wine drinking friend, Frank, whose recent medical complications no longer allowed him to drink wine.  He gave his ‘cellar’ to Ev because he knew he would enjoy it, and Ev was gracious enough to invite us to share because he knew we would appreciate the gift. In August, 2010, I blogged about a ‘Best Bottle’ night, also hosted by Anne and Ev, where I experience some of the finest wines I have every tasted. 

For this FOF (‘Friends of Frank’) tasting, Ev organized the 22 wines from white to red, from lightest to heaviest, and from youngest to oldest. It took two pictures to capture the wine line up. To fortify ourselves for the challenge, we ordered pizza from Amari’s.

Frank had an eclectic collection, mostly from the 1990s and early 2000s, with some early 1980s French to round out the assortment. We attacked our task with vigor; the eleven of us assembled FOFs shared a small taste of each of the wines. As we started with the only two whites, Ev got Frank on the speakerphone for a toast of thanks for the bounties we were about to enjoy.

When the pizza arrived, we moved to the dinning room to complement our food with numerous reds. We quickly worked our way through several adequate California Merlots, a French Merlot, and a nice Rioja. Some wines were not meant to age, as we discovered with the 2003 South African novelty wine, Goats do Roam. The only ‘goat’ of the evening was soon followed by a pleasant surprise. At the halfway mark, our eleventh wine was an excellent Columbia Crest Reserve, 2002 Reserve Syrah, Columbia Valley. We all would have liked to have more than the small taste of this wine; it would be well worth the effort to locate some of this, if any is still available. Columbia Crest is a great Washington winery that makes affordable wine that obviously can stand the test of time. 

The group was starting to fade - even very small tastes of a lot of wines add up- but we forged ahead through another five wines. We went out of order to assure we reached the 1983 Chateau Petit Village that some of us had been eyeing all night. This twenty-seven year old Bordeaux wine from the appellation Pomerol still held its color and fruit flavors. A real treat to end the evening.

After this night of sharing wines, we all consider ourselves FOFs forever. I want to thank Frank for sharing his love of wine, and his wine, with his friends Ev and Anne, who opened their home and hearts to us other wine lovers. This was another night to remember. Even if I did not find the next wine to serve to guest at our Sandwich Bed and Breakfast, I had a great time with great friends.

Happy Wine-ing

Charlie Preus, the Innkeeper’s Assistant and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

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