WHAT DOES WINE TASTING HAVE TO DO WITH COMMUNITY?

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Everything. Wine tastes better when you are in the company of new or old friends. Sounds hokey but it’s true because tasting wine is more than an act, it is an experience.

Last Saturday I attended a Bordeaux tasting at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants on a freakishly sunny and warm day – the tasting was on the patio of the café next door, Bartavelle. I tasted solo and so took a breath, slowed down and embarked on tasting. Standing at the bar, I was taking notes when someone from a large group of women, also at the bar, spoke. “I see you are taking copious notes.” “Yes,” I said, “I am a wine blogger and, if I don’t, then I forget.” That was the beginning of our connection and we chatted more during the tasting and soon I was chatting with the whole group, no longer a stranger. I felt part of a small community of kindred souls who love wine and the process of exploring wine.

As they were about to leave, they probed a little more and I revealed that I am moving into the wine industry professionally but still looking for that “foot in the door” gig. One of the women then agreed that I was “knowledgeable but not snobby” and that “you would be great.”  I appreciated the vote of confidence and remain confident that this is the right career for me and that I will find my place – persistence will pay off in time!

Here are those “copious notes” for your consideration:

2013 Graves Blanc, Chateau Graville Lacoste – 75% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Muscadelle ($18)

Notes: a Zippy white that is bright and refreshing, lemon-lime zest on the nose and good minerality on the palate, an “all-day-sipper” and much appreciated on the warm day for tasting.

2011 Lussac Saint Emilion “Les Griottes,” Chateau de Bellevue, ($19.95)

Notes: a Merlot made for freshness with very little oak – on nose, a burst of fresh berries but tinged with a little earth, which was a very good turn of events. Bright acidity, simple and good.

2011 Haut Medoc, Chateau Aney. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet France, 3% Petit Verdot, ($24)

Notes: Solid wine of dark fruit touched by light oak and blessed with an inner core of earth and herbs. Classic with its unity of balance, harmony and elegance.

2010 Pomerol, Chateau Gombaude-Guillot, 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, ($79)

Notes: Screaming concentrated fruit on the nose and with a velvet glove feel on the palate. This was supposedly a good vintage and I would definitely want to see what will develop over time because “as is” it was just ok

2006 Pomerol, Chateau Gombaude-Guillot, 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, ($66)

Notes: Ok, I could smell complexity on the nose and knew my palate would be more pleased and it was. It needed to open up and so I kept sipping it over a long period of time and it was delicious. I would buy if my budget allowed and believe it or not, this is a good price in the overinflated world of Bordeaux!

2011 Sauternes, Domaine de L’allaince – 85% Semillon, 12% Sauvignon Blanc, 3% Muscadelle ($75)

Notes: intoxicating nose in an earthy gold hues wine. Nutty and kissed with orange blossoms and a nice lingering finish – pleasant and not the least bit cloying because of the good acidity that accompanied this “noble blend.”

I took home the White Bordeaux and the Haut Medoc. If I were a little more flush, I would have taken home that 2006 Pomerol, which is a steal for Bordeaux. One of my bar mates calculated the prices with the 15% discount promised that day. It would be 56 bucks, which is reasonable in a market that somehow bears bottles in the $750 – $1,000 range!

And there is a story behind the wines made by a family that has been in the business for 5 generations. The son left various jobs including engineering to devote himself to the business and so the 2010 Pomerol was the first wine that he made on his own. Next year he will be taking on the task of vineyard management from his dad.

So I left the tasting having found instant community for a short while and left fortified and standing strong in resolve because of community. Wine is inherently social and a great vehicle for bolstering conversation and fostering community.

Much gratitude to you, my dear readers who I consider part of my new and growing wine community.

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