I am not a big fan of Christmas. I am not entirely sure why, but I get a bit turned off by the whole thing. It got marginally better once we had kids since they really get into it, but I still am rather nonplussed when it comes to yuletide cheer. Perhaps it is the commercialization, or maybe that the original meaning has long since eroded. Maybe I am afraid of rather plump men dressed in red suits.
This year, I decided I needed to jump start my Christmas spirit, and given the swell wine blogging community, I thought I would tap into all those good people to try and turn around my proclivity toward Scrooginess (no, that is not a word, but thanks for asking). The idea was to take the idea of the Secret Santa a step further. For those of you that don’t know, “Secret Santa” is usually run by the most annoying person at your place of work. He/she assigns everyone another person in the office and you secretly give them gifts on the lead up to the much needed few days off. On the last day, everybody reveals who they had as their recipient and you try to pretend you’re happy with a pair of really ugly wine themed socks.
“Secret Alcoholic” is roughly the same concept, but you send a bottle of wine to someone else in the country and you end up with a bottle of wine instead of a coffee cup filled with Hershey’s Kisses (even though you don’t drink coffee nor like chocolate). Although I would love to take the credit, I am not the one who had the idea to do a Secret Santa with wine (they have been doing this on the Cellar Tracker forum for at least a few years). I will take credit for calling it “Secret Alcoholic” however (which is really nothing to be proud of, but I am obviously grasping at straws).
The concept was fairly simple: all who joined were to send a bottle or two to a randomly assigned recipient, who was sending a couple bottles to someone else. The suggested total expenditure was $25 (plus shipping).
My thought behind the whole endeavor was to both expose others to more blogs and spread a little holiday cheer. (OK, I tried to keep a straight face there, but it is just not happening–it is going to take visits by several spirits [pun intended] to get me to ever spread “holiday cheer”.)
In the end there were thirteen people who signed up (there were actually fourteen, but one ended up in my Spam filter and missed out and she has yet to forgive me–hey, it’s not my fault your email smells like Spam!). My wife joyfully (?) agreed to randomly assign everybody a Secret Alcoholic and send everyone an email indicating their intended victim.
A total of 37 seconds passed after the emails were sent when the person to whom I was assigned (i.e., who was supposed to send me wine) contacted me and immediately identified herself as my S.A. (Clearly she did not read the comprehend the “Secret” in “Secret Alcoholic”.) It was Chef Mimi (of the aptly named chefmimiblog.com) and she intimated that she was intimidated when she received my name out of the draw (had she waited even 12 hours before contacting me, she could have read this article I published the following day). After trying to assuage her fears, I turned my attention to my intended recipient, Jeff of FoodWineClick.com who lives in Minnesota.
I figured before I sent off the wine to him in the great white north, I would check the weather. It looked something like this:
Back to my wine—I got the wine (2007 Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 55% Slope Impassable Mountain Reserve–perhaps the longest name of a wine ever) a few days before Christmas, followed by several emails from Mimi wondering when I was going to get around to drinking it. Succumbing to her relentless pressure, I popped the cork last week.
Speaking of the cork. This wine retails for $80 and being a Cabernet, I would think that many people would like to hold onto this wine for a few years (that would include me normally, but I was afraid that Mimi would run from Oklahoma to Philly and kick my butt if I waited even a day more). The stopper, however, was an agglomerated cork (cork pieces glued together), one that is intended for wines for immediate consumption. For me, putting an agglomerated cork in a high quality wine that could be aged for many years makes absolutely no sense. But that’s just me, I guess.
Fantastic. One of the better cabs I have had in a while.
2007 Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 55% Slope Impassable Mountain Reserve: Retail $80. 14.9% ABV. Agglomerate cork? Really? Quick decant and then into the glass. Rather dark and ruby at the edges. Nose a bit closed despite the decant with hints of cassis, blackberry, and vanilla. A little heat comes in at the end. Lush fruit on the palate right away, but by no means a fruit bomb. Quite balanced throughout with an impressive tart mid palate with a bit of earth. The finish is really impressive, lasting well past a minute. This wine certainly is fabulous now, and normally I would not be in a hurry to drink it, but with that cork? Um…. Outstanding to Fantastic. 93-95 Points.
There has been talk of having another “Secret Alcoholic” this Spring–please let me know if you might be interested!