Most often, I have to admit, when my wife and I open a bottle of wine, it does not make it through the night. My wife does ‘help’, but to say that she is a major contributor in grooming the bottle for its next role in the recycling bin would be disingenuous. A few weeks ago, however, my lovely bride had been away and I was left alone at home to care for our two
monsters angelic little boys. To that end, I thought it best not to drain a bottle each night by myself in anticipation that one of our sweet darlings would club the other over the head with a baseball bat and we would need to rush off to the emergency room. That did not stop me, however, from having a glass or two each night.
A few nights into my most recent foray into single parenthood, I finally realized that I had a bit of a problem (no, not that I might have a drinking problem–I knew that already). I had amassed several open, partially consumed bottles of wine–each with their own Vacuvin ‘cork’. This does not happen very often in the drunkencyclist’s house, so there is not really a precedent for this type of thing. Seeing that my wife was several thousand miles away, she was not ‘here’ for me either. As a man that tries to pass himself off as (at least) semi-intelligent, I conjured up a quick plan: ‘Leftovers’ (I know, I know, I am a complete genius). Since the boys and I were also eating leftovers, I figured it was as good a time as any to take a few sips from the bottles that remained in the fridge (but still being able to make the trip to the ER should one or both of the boys decided to check out the sharpness of our Ginsu knife collection).
I figured I would also make a little tasting event out of it: How the wine was when I first had it, and how it was a day (or two) later. Or something like that. Yes, I was making this up as I went along. The only things I knew: I was going to have some wine and I was out of Vacuvin Stoppers (the reason that I was out of the stoppers: our babysitter kept throwing them out–I mean ‘former’ babysitter). Below, I present the wines for this ‘tasting’ with the original impression followed by the ‘leftover’ evaluation.
2008 Littorai Sonoma Coast Chardonnay: Retail ~$40. I paid $38 at the winery. Much like Siduri (which we had at Studio Kitchen) I am an unabashed fan of Ted Lemmon at Littorai. Sure, it is very cool that he is fluent in French (though I have never even met him to test that out), and yes it is interesting that they farm biodynamically (although Wes Hagen at Clos Pepe once said to me that Rudolph Steiner ['inventor' of biodynamic farming] was “bat-sh*t crazy”).
The plain and simple fact is that his wines are phenomenal. Littorai is certainly among my favorite wineries in the Sonoma Coast appellation (along with Freeman, Flowers, Hirsch, Skewis, Failla, B Kosuge, Morlet, etc.). In fact, Littorai is clearly in the top three (or higher). I would certainly buy a lot more if I could afford it.
First Night: I originally opened this when the wife (and some friends) were here, and right after a 1995 Pommery that was corked (UGH). I had high hopes for this one. The last time I was at the winery, the tasting room staff told me I should drink this bottle sooner rather than later. Well, this wine was rocking. Deep nose of lemon and butterscotch. On the palate, this wine had fantastic balance, with a long finish of a bit of oak and butter. Outstanding 91 points.
Leftovers: I was really surprised by the subsequent night. First, I was surprised that we had not finished this off, especially since it was so good. Second, I was amazed how well it held up three days later! It was a bit cold, and there were some notes of oxidation, but this wine was still rocking. Unbelieveably so after a couple of days. Still outstanding. 90 points.
2000 Montirius Vacqueryas: Retail ~$20-25. I paid $8. I got a few of these from a semi-trusted internet connection (he alone is worth an article) and I was a bit worried that they might be a little past their prime. Normally Vacqueryas (form the Northern Rhone) can be a big, powerful wine, made mostly from grenache with some help from syrah.
First Night: Although the fruit was not as powerful as it can be in some (younger) Vacqeryas, it still maintained a presence in this wine, demanding some attention. The mid-palate was a bit disappointing, but the finish was strong, with a bit of backbone/tannin. I would certainly say this wine is on a downward slope, but still a nice little wine. Very Good. 87 points.
Leftovers: The overnight was not that kind to this wine. The minimal fruit that was there the First Night, decided not to hang around for the encore. The lack of fruit really underscored the problems in the mid-palate. The finish, too, suffered, so this wine slipped down in rating. Good. 83 points.
I’ll be back with the rest later in the week….