In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been creating much. I haven’t been writing, I haven’t been tweeting about wine, I haven’t been developing new, exciting anythings. I haven’t been creating.
I haven’t been creating, partly because I haven’t been inspired. I haven’t been drinking much wine lately.
There are a lot of reasons for that. A tighter budget. A diet (I’ve lost 45 pounds since February). A lack of interest due, frankly, to boredom. That all changed yesterday.
You see that over there? Those are pinot noir grapes. I’m not sure when—before yesterday—the last time I’d had pinot noir was.
Cabernet sauv, chardonnay, Italian varieties up the wazoo (including something new I liked: vermentino), pinot blanc and pinot gris, but not pinot noir.
Have I ever told you folks the story of how/why I started really liking wine? The whole “what bottle got you started” story?
In 2005, I started dating my wife. A month after we started dating, for Valentine’s Day, I took her to Disneyland, because I am a geek like that, and so is she. On Valentine’s evening, we had dinner at Granville’s Steakhouse at the Disneyland Hotel.
Now, my wife doesn’t drink wine. She’s got a nasty alcohol allergy, and so doesn’t drink at all. But still, I wanted to impress her. For some reason, I thought ordering a nice bottle of wine would do that.
I had neither the money to afford—nor the desire to get drunk on—a single bottle all to myself. But the restaurant offered half-bottles. I basically picked at random from the list of half-bottles, and settled on a 2002 Saintsbury Pinot Noir from Carneros.
It was delicious. I’d spent the previous 5 years or so swilling Two Buck Chuck and supermarket merlot straight from the bottle. But this, this was wine! She even had some, and liked it too. I, on the other hand, was completely taken over by pinot.
At any rate, I reveal all that to say this: yesterday, I participated in judging the Pinot Noir Shootout, a production of Barbara Drady’s Affairs of the Vine. This year and last, I’d helped Barbara by being a judge for the Cabernet Shootout, but this was my first time sitting down to taste 32 pinots in four hours.
Pinot from all over. There was even a Spatburgunder. The flavor profiles were just everywhere. Fruit, cocoa, coffee, smoke, orange peel, marshmallow, toasted caramel, vanilla, mushroom and earth. All over.
It was truly something. It reminded me just how much I love pinot. And it gave me a few wines I am actually excited to write about again.
Which was really the point of all this. To say I’m back. Now, I accept that this isn’t as good as just being back, and writing about the wine. But I’ve written just two reviews since early July, so I figured I’d start by waving my hands a bit and reminding y'all that I am, indeed, still here.
Still here, and still in love with pinot noir.