Monday, July 8, 2013

A Fortnight Without Wine

Last month, my beautiful wife went to Argentina for 16 days for a school trip. Naturally, I didn't drink wine while she was gone (mourning and all...). Well, that's not exactly the case. I did attend a Ribera del Duero tasting and I shared a bottle of J "Cuvée 20" Brut with George Rose (Director of Communications for J) over dinner. But at home, it was just beer or water that was in my glass.

To me, wine is something that needs to be shared. I enjoy talking about a wine with my wife (or anyone else for that matter) probably more than just drinking it. Wine is the most social of the adult alcoholic beverages. Wine graces the dinner table better than beer or spirits. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy those two categories as well. I will just as easily drink those by myself as I will at a party with friends. That didn't come out quite right, but you get me point. Yeah, I clock that typo, but we definitely need more cockney in Porcupine writin'.

Every time I thought about opening a bottle of wine, I thought to myself that I really wanted to share that bottle rather than just drink it. That rarely comes to mind with beer or spirits. So, I actually spent a few evenings trying out a few new local breweries. I had a Hall Brewing Company Farmhouse Ale (Parker, CO), River North Brewery Quadrupel Ale (Denver, CO), Paradox Beer Company Brown Ale (Woodland Park, CO) and finally a Goose Island Beer Company Maltida (not local, but from Chicago, IL). All were very enjoyable beers and I didn't care I drank them alone as I watched the entire (new) Batman trilogy after the little one went to bed (on average six times a night...).

But near the end of the two-week stint of bachelordom, my parents came out for a visit. it also happened to be my father's birthday. Two great reasons to open some wine indeed! As I grilled some delicious steaks (plug for La Vaca Meat Co. in Littleton...), we sipped on the lovely 2011 Lorenza Rosé. I've written about Lorenza before, and it wasn't any less of a pleasurable wine this time around. It's beautifully light and tart and both fruity and savory at the same time. Perfect for enjoying on a warm summer afternoon.

Sticking with the Rhône variety, female proprietor and kick-ass wine theme, I dumped a bottle of 2010 Keplinger Red Slope Grenache into a decanter to complement the meat as we dined outside. I met Helen Keplinger last year when she was winemaker for Bryant Family Vineyard. When I found I she made grenache, syrah, and petite sirah under her own label (and a fraction of the price of Bryant) I signed up for her mailing list. This was the first of her wines that I actually opened. Despite its heft it is an amazingly fresh and fruity wine. The 15.3% abv could have easily been falsified as 13.3% due to its balance. With lots of dark fruit and spices it tasted like an exquisite pie and quickly disappeared from our glasses.

The wines were both stellar, but I doubt they would have tasted as good had I not shared them. Wine is meant to be experienced not just drunk. That is why I started this blog (to share my experiences, however cliché that sounds), why I enjoy getting together with my tasting group and why I like visiting wineries. The social interaction adds to the wine experience. It's also why it wasn't so hard to go a fortnight with almost no wine and why we opened a bottle for lunch and another for dinner the day my wife returned.

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