Friday, February 15, 2008

Covetousness, I Know Thee

I'm really, truly not usually given to envy. Certainly not in the usual fashion. I rarely covet another's fortune, fame, or looks.

I almost never fall victim to the "what's she doing with him" type either. Love is funny, what connection two soul's find will probably always be a mystery.

The upside of this is, I'm usually fairly immune to lusting for things I can't afford.

Note I said usually.

Occasionally, I read something like this.

A '47 Cheval Blanc, a '45 Latour, in the same evening????

I know it's stupid. It's one thing to lust after, say a car that's just a bit out of one's price range. Even drooling over an '89 Bordeaux, which is 5 times what I'd consider spending on a bottle of wine. But these wines are so astronomical, it's like wanting a Bugatti when you drive a Toyota. It's just plain stupid.

But to hear these wines described, and to know that even if I had the money, and was willing to spend it in such a frivolous manner, I probably would never be able to score a bottle, is a little depressing.

To know that I will never experience this:

The moment I lifted the glass to my nose and took in that sweet, spicy, arresting perfume, my notion of excellence in wine, and my understanding of what wine was capable of, was instantly transformed—I could almost hear the scales recalibrating in my head. The '47 was the warmest, richest, most decadent wine I'd ever encountered. Even more striking than its opulence was its freshness. The flavors were redolent of stewed fruits and dead flowers, yet the wine tasted alive; it bristled with energy and purpose. . . . . . . . . . I realized that it was silly even to try to place the '47 in the context of other wines; it defied comparison, a point underscored when I tasted another legend, the 1945 Ch√Ęteau Latour, later that night (yeah, it was a nice evening). The Latour was stunning—probably the second-best wine I've ever had—but it at least fell within my frame of reference: It was a classically proportioned Bordeaux that just happened to be achingly good. The '47 Cheval, by contrast, was an otherworldly wine—a claret from another planet. And it was amazing.

Frankly, it diminishes me just a bit. I'm ashamed to admit I'm that shallow, but it pains me to know I will never have that experience. I'm jealous. That's possibly the worst thing one can be.

I am seeing an old friend this weekend, someone who loves wine, I will open a beautiful bottle and it will be lovely, but I will be thinking of another when I drink it. I've never done that before. To me, it is akin to making love to a desirable woman and all the while wishing she was someone else. Trust me, I have never done that, and I never will.


Anne said...

I feel like a spoiled brat, but I can vouch for the '45 Latour being a mind-bogglingly good wine. *sheepish look*

Some day, if you ever happen to be in this neck of the Californian woods, drop me a line. You, Katie, and I can cook a delicious meal and drink an achingly good Bordeaux or California Cab.

Brave Sir Robin said...

Some day, if you ever happen to be in this neck of the Californian woods, drop me a line. You, Katie, and I can cook a delicious meal and drink an achingly good Bordeaux or California Cab.

You can count on that.

Where, when, how?????? on the '45 Latour???????


Anne said...

The how: my very dear friend Katie's dad is very knowledgeable about wine, and has quite a collection. He's also a very gregarious, very generous guy; he loves to share--particularly with dear friends of his daughters.

The where and when: it was probably at Katie's place in Big Sur (where I'm headed in an hour or two, actually), but I'm not quite sure. Usually I write these things down in a little book, so I can "remember" the some of wheres and whens very clearly ('82 Margaux at Chez Panisse, August 2003; '82 Haut Brion, '82 Lafleur, and '82 Mouton at Veritas (NYC), September 2003; etc.). But I don't always have the book with me, so things don't always get written down. Alas, I can't find my tasting notes for the '45 Latour. :(

Brave Sir Robin said...


Anne said...

Well, I can't remember the '45 Latour, but I can tell you what the '82 tastes like ('82 and '45 were the two best years for Bordeaux in the 20th century). Classic Bordeaux. Tannic, earthy (almost manure- or barnyard-like at first, but it opened up to be more earthy), with some red and black fruit undertones. Very soft, with a pleasant back palette. We enjoyed a bottle last night in honor of a wonderful friend of Katie's family, who recently passed away. Yummm!!

Brave Sir Robin said...

Yumm indeed.

'82 Bordeax!!!!!!

:) :) :)