“A warm up.” Barnett Vineyards Merlot 1995

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Sonja’s about to roll her eyes, right about… now. Or maybe she already did. I told her I needed to go finish up a few articles for Food & Spirits Magazine, which I do, so when she sees this blog post pop up as a push notification, she’s going to wonder why I’m not doing that. She’ll be forgetting, of course, what I have already explained: that I am an extremely limited writer. I work well only in the mornings, free of distraction, coffee at hand, and, most importantly, having warmed up. The older I get, the more I realize how much my muscles need time to warm up before exercise. The same is true of my brain. There are times when I can’t recall what I did first thing in the morning or late at night, and I’ve come to realize that this is because when I’m tired my brain just stops working. So this brief blog post is intended to warm my brain up so I can finish writing an article on Fume’ Blanc. That said, I do have something I want to share with you this morning. Bear with me, faithful reader.

Last weekend, I was seated next to my new friend Cameron at a Passover Seder, and he remarked that wine is history. He articulated the idea eloquently, explaining that it was born at a certain time and continues to live in the bottle, that its organic nature makes it unlike architecture or other human-made things that withstand time. This struck me, not because it has never occurred to me before, but because I don’t expect it to occur to people that don’t obsess over wine the way I do. So when Cameron came to dinner last night, along with several other friends, I made it a point of finding a bottle of wine that had been born the same year he had.

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For an older Merlot, this wine held up beautifully. The tannins had become long, elegant structural support and the fruit, though faded, remained. Titus sniffed the wine and informed me he smelled chocolate. It may have been the power of suggestion, or it may have really been there — I suspect his palate will far exceed my own in time, but either way, I smelled dark chocolate on the dry black cherry, black berry, and currant. I decanted it for about half an hour before we started to drink it, and it evolved nicely over time. Paired with tacos, a tip of the hat to my friend Mike, we had a wonderful evening seated around the dining room table, sharing this wine and talking about life.

Tonight, I’m having a group of friends over for “Library Club” and we’ll drink wines ranging from 1980 to 1994. I needed this warm up in writing to get my brain going, and I needed the warm up with my osso and an old cork last night in preparation for tonight. Our house was built in 1905, our piano somewhere between 1855 and 1872. I was born in 1981, Sonja in 1980, Titus in 2015 and Zooey in 2017. It never ceases to amaze me that time passes the way it does, nor that some things last while others do not. I can only hope for the wines tonight what I hope for the lives of my family: longevity. But now too much time has passed, and I need to start working on those articles.

Cheers to the faithful passage of time,

Mark

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