When I first met my lovely wife, she was not much of a drinker, and that is putting it mildly. In fact, after even the slightest bit of alcohol her skin would turn bright red and she would start radiating heat. It was so intense that I could hold my hand 1-2 inches away from her face and feel the increase in temperature, as if she were a wood-burning stove out on the prairie (I just returned from several days at a Dude Ranch, so pardon the Old West similes and metaphors).
She claimed that it was due to the fact that she, like many Asians, lacked the enzyme to metabolize alcohol. Since she is a licensed physician (also known as a real doctor in our house), I did not dispute her assertion. In fact, I benefitted greatly; she could only have a single glass from a given bottle, which left me the remainder, a great situation when the wine was at least halfway quaffable.
Well, a funny thing happened to my blissful “wine-sharing” situation, my wife has gradually built up a tolerance for the hooch. So much so that we now argue who should get the last half of glass left in the bottle.
It is now so bad that she demands that I leave her some wine to drink when I am out of town. Unfortunately, I usually neglect to perform that task before running out the door to hail the Uber that is rolling past our driveway, oblivious to the tall white guy with way too much luggage. Invariably, while I was still taxiing on my destination’s tarmac, between 2-7 time zones adrift, I would get a testy email, a curt text, or worse, an angry voicemail demanding to know where was the wine she could drink.
Eventually, I wised up. We currently have more wine than we know what to do with so I showed her how to use Cellar Tracker and gave her free range of the cellar. There are only two rules: she can’t drink the last bottle of a given wine and she has to write a tasting note. While she is usually rather good at observing the former dictum, the latter often goes unheeded.
Well, on my last trip to the Old World, I threatened to lock the cellar (I am pretty sure I have the only key) if she did not follow both of the decidedly unambiguous precepts.
So here are her first two notes when I was in Sonoma County with Rodney Strong:
2013 Ehlers Estate Merlot St. Helena: Retail $60. Very nice Merlot with a dark violet color, flavors of blackberries and some vanilla. Very drinkable now. 91 Points.
2014 Domaine Besson Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu: Retail $30. Light, nice acidity, lemon flavors. Easy to drink. 89 Points.
She had written tasting notes previously when I was out of town and they were, well, a bit more verbose. When I pointed this out, she responded rather bluntly: “I was more interested in drinking the wine than writing about it.”
While I could not really argue with that sentiment (arguing with my wife is futile–a point I am trying to get my older son to understand), I did gently request that she at least try to write in complete sentences, in the name of preserving the English language (although I did not verbalize that last part).
I am not sure, but I think she heard me, since here are the notes from the wines she tried while I was in Italy:
2015 Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel: Retail $25. While thedrunkencyclist was away, I felt like a rosé and went for one of my go to bottles – the Whispering Angel – truth be told, I meant to grab the 2016 but made a mistake.. oh well.. as usual, I was not disappointed. I find this wine, easy, not complicated, a little floral, a little strawberry, a little acid. Nice to drink with pretty much anything (in this case, potstickers) at any time of year, but today after a baseball game with lovely spring weather it hit the spot! 89 Points.
2013 Ancien Chardonnay: Retail $30. More exploring of the cellar while the drunkencyclist is away… Nice light/medium straw color – has what I think is a good balance of vanilla, light oak, minerals with some acidity. I’m not a fan of the overly buttery chardonnays, so this one is right up my alley. It has a reasonably good finish and I’m wondering if it will be better tomorrow… if I don’t finish it, more to come! 90 Points.
2011 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard: Retail $40. Remains one of my go to Zinfandels when the drunkencyclist is away. Compared to a year ago, it has matured some but remains solidly cherry/blackberry and a touch of vanilla. Not an over the top zin, which I like. At this price point, an excellent choice for every day. 90 Points.
2012 La Follette Pinot Noir DuNah Vineyard: Retail $40. Nice medium bodied Pinot with some cherry, some earthiness on the nose and palate. Not overly fruity and in my opinion the right amount of age. Still vibrant with good balance. 90 Points.
Now, there are at least a couple of areas where I could criticize my wife’s notes (she tends to eschew capitalization–I corrected the egregious violations and her numeric rating range is rather narrow), but I would never do that, for if I did, she might choose to dig a little deeper into the cellar and open up some bottles that I would rather hold a bit longer.
So I will just keep my mouth shut (another tactic I am trying to teach my son).