Posts Filed Under wine appreciation
I could tell that I wasn’t quite myself based on the number of business cards in my backpack.
There were dozens of those little cards left, staring back at me when I opened my pack. Cards that I should have given away to friends old and new at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla. The “normal” Joe would have been handing out those cards left and right. Instead, they were practically shouting their futility – after all, what good are they to me? I already know who I am.
It wasn’t the fact that I had been in a new place for the first time, seeing new faces (I’m well used to that scenario); it also wasn’t the fact that back home one of our 100+ year-old trees came down on our neighbors garage in a fierce storm, cleaving it nearly into two (no one was hurt, apart from the trees). The reason I wasn’t myself was that my teacher was dying.
My teacher was my dog, Sam. He passed away while I was at the conference (if you were in attendance and I appeared out of it or seemed dismissive, please understand that it wasn’t you, it was most definitely me).
Sam was pretty sprightly for a guy in his 80s (people years, of course), still weighing in at 85 lbs. of mostly muscle. Still fairly strong, too (he had once accidentally broken my left hand when we were out for a run). Stubborn, too – in fact, I used to joke that I could sum up Sam’s thoughts in one sentence (“Hey guys – this is what I want to do now”).
Our experience with Sam was more Marley and Me than Lassie – he had a penchant for stealing bread, licking the icing off of cakes on the kitchen counter, eating through metal cans of dog food, and practically destroying the house during thunderstorms. BUT… he was one of the sweetest souls I’ve ever known.
Sam taught me a lot about how to really appreciate wine (yes, I’m serious – read the post). But his greatest lessons were in teaching me compassion and patience – the latter being something that I’ve often cited as the ‘secret sauce’ of wine blogging (and life in general, really; yes, I’m serious – watch the vid).
My only real regret is not that I wasn’t there to say goodbye when Sammy passed – it’s that I wasn’t the quickest study when it came to fully grasping all of those lessons in compassion and patience that Sammy tried to teach me.
Here’s to a friend, a sweet soul, an old teacher – long may his lessons be remembered.
1WineDude.com has never (and will never) accept sponsored articles, which means that whatever you read on its virtual pages is purely the product of my somewhat deranged mind.
I do need to feed my family, however, and so I have been taking some paid writing gigs on the side. One of those gigs has been for the blog of Wines.com, called Wine Crush. That gig is not promoting individual wines, producers, or brands, and I have free reign on the content for my posts – Wines.com just wanted to add the value of quality wine-elated content for their customers (but for some reason, they still chose me as a contributor…).
Over the last few months I’ve built up some content at Wine Crush of which I’m proud and thought that I’d cal attention to it here, in case it’s of interest to 1WD readers. Similar voice, of course, but the topics are a bit different than what I cover here and so I think they’re complimentary (the Wine Crush content is meant more for those at the start of their wine journey, while 1WD remains more in what I like to call the “Intermediate” space, though all are certainly welcome, newbies and experts alike).
Anyway, check it out if you’re so inclined:
“A bottle of good wine, like a good act, shines ever in the retrospect.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
Stevenson had it right about special wines being eminently memorable, though he forgot to add the part about how wine tasting, like a hot date, owes so much to anticipation.
And as much as I like to think that I am inching ever closer to the Zen mystery, it’s really difficult not to put expectations on a tasting in which magnums of 1995 Champagne and Graham’s Vintage Port (1977), as well as bottles of 1981 Vieux Chateau Certan, take second billing.
Which is exactly what happens when you have a bottle of (genuine) 1929 Haut-Brion in the lineup.
That’s because the 1929 Haut-Brion is one of those extremely rare triple threats: world-class producer, renowned vintage (before every other release was deemed “vintages of the century” in Bordeaux) and rare old wine (in decent condition).
Or so we had hoped, anyway.
As it turns out, that fabled bottle that had me (and several other guests at the Columbia Firehouse restaurant in old town Alexandria, VA) buzzing with anticipation last week had apparently leaked at some point in it’s 81-year history.
We (a group of about 15 people) were assembled as the hand-picked guests of my buddy Jason Whiteside, DWS (Washington Wine Academy instructor, friend of the Dude and frequent guest poster here) to celebrate the achievement of his WSET Diploma in Wine & Spirits (a pre-req for entrance into the Masters of Wine program). It’s a difficult and hard-earned achievement, well-worthy of opening some special bottles. As our generous host put it after inspecting the most special of that night’s bottles, “this wine could be deader than Lincoln”…
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