We spent the morning doing wine inventory. You don’t realize how cold the wine room is until you've spent a few hours there. A special thank you to Shanda who came in to help out. Alex tends to get cranky on inventory days. Fortunately he doesn't really let it rip when there are witnesses around. We were able to get the bulk of the counting done without him; we just pulled him in towards the end to move cases around. Those wooden cases are pretty but they weigh a TON. Most of our 2000 Bordeaux is still in it's original wooden cases (old terminology from my days at Sherry Lehmann) and we check each one to make sure that no little mice have pried them open and absconded with any bottles. Not that it has happened yet but the fact that everyone knows how thorough we are doesn’t hurt the cause.
One of the nice things about doing inventory is the memories that arise from the bottles. Each wine tells a story and many of them remind me of stories of my own. The Italians remind me of Martha's Vineyard where I had my first opportunity to create a wine list at an Italian restaurant and certain California wines take me back to our honeymoon in Napa. Now there are so many memories that an overview of the wine room is a stroll through my personal history.
Tonight we opened a bottle of 2002 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant. It's a blended red wine based upon the varietals of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and grown and produced in California. It’s a big red, rich on the palate, firm tannins, high in alcohol, loaded with fruit and oak and relatively inexpensive. As Alex opened the bottle he was immediately taken back to a dinner in the Hudson Valley several years ago with me and my mom and some very poorly cooked shad roe. It's not his favorite memory (because of the food) although he did enjoy the wine and the company that evening. On the other hand Bonny Doon wines always remind me of culinary school and a table service instructor who was huge fan of the Rhone Ranger. Each of her first year classes was lectured on the beauty of the dry rosé with the Vin Gris de Cigare held up as the perfect example of a warm weather quaffing wine. The flying saucer on the inside of the label was an added bonus.
As I slowly savor my glass of wine this evening, more memories float to the surface, spanning different varietals and vintages of Bonny Doon. I'm surprised to realize that it has been years since I've sipped one of Randall Grahm's wines. I can't be sorry about that though, because the time lapse just makes tonight's experience that much more enjoyable. There are too many wines in the world to drink the same thing every day, but revisiting an old friend from time to time is never a bad thing.