Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rollercoaster Transition Week but Not Without Great Wine!

So it's my last week full time at The Wine Country as I transition to working for Rudi Wiest Selections selling exclusively fine German wines. I'll be back working at The Wine Country part time on the weekends so I can see my friends, have fun in the store, and hand sell wines from all corners of the world.

So when there's change, even when good, there's a bit more stress and anticipation, but all is good. I'm so happy to be in the wine business, you cannot imagine. It's just a lot of fun, it's my dream job, and if I had to create an ideal life, well, I have it, so that makes me infinitely happy.

Much of this has to do with the people, and I cannot emphasize how important that is. If you know the folks at The Wine Country, then you know what I am talking about when I say this is a genuine bunch of great people through and through. This sort of thing starts at the top, with great leaders who choose good people to work for them. I'm getting all sorts of warm fuzzies just thinking about it!

This week, being my transition week, I've had coworkers cook for me, drink Champagne with me, crack open magnums with me, drink 10 year old wines with me, share German wines and tapas with me in a gorgeous outdoor patio restaurant, buy me and my husband dinner... let me just say that in my former life in the health care business, there were good folks also - there are anywhere and everywhere - but the wine business is unlike any other business other than maybe show business? ... but with much, much better wine and food!

But it would all lose its luster without people to eat, drink and laugh with. This is the truth.

Meanwhile, my next step in the wine business awaits. This means excitement and intrigue. New territories and potentials for spreading great German wine. The wines that refresh and enliven the palate. Great stuff.

In the meantime, here are a few of my personal notes on some fantastic wines I enjoyed this week. Life is good.

Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Non-vintage Champagne

Out of the magnum at coworker Amy's house. One of the best Blanc de Blancs ever. Grower stuff, meaning they don't buy grapes, they grow their own and make their own estate grown Champagne. 100% Chardonnay. Crisp, a touch yeasty, crunchy apple, the most refreshing stuff ever. Very easy to drink too much of it! A serious go-to Champagne for anyone that loves Blanc de Blancs! Comes in 750 ml bottles too of course, and if you want to go all out, get the vintage ones (1999 for example).

2004 Didier Dagueneau Pur Sang

Out of the magnum bottle, this is our wedding gift from Sam & Carl a couple of years ago, and as one of our customers comments, what goes around comes around! Shared also at Amy's house served with some rockin' homemade coq au vin done in white wine (Touraine, also a Sauvignon blanc). The wine was developed, with pie spices and autumn fruits on the nose, while on the palate, mellow, rich, a touch of celery seed. I commented that it seems like white wines such as this and white Burgundy and Riesling all converge on this one taste profile after some years and years in the bottle - Sam agreed and said it is a white wine oxidizing thing. Not to say it is completely oxidized or anywhere near but it does develop this developed white wine thing. Tasty, interesting, different!

1998 Zind Humbrecht Clos Windsbuhl Gewurztraminer

Alright, I had to check out Samantha's Blog (Samantha Sans Dosage, see blogroll) to get the right name of the single vineyard for this wine as I'm not very well versed with Alsacian vineyards. This wine was fabulous!! I love sweet wines, but this was not ordinary sweet wine - 10 years old and fresh as a daisy! Lovely botrytis flavors (noble rot, which gives wines that luscious honeyed aroma and flavor), minerally salinity, dried apricot and pears. Not too much of that typical lychee tropical fruit thing - this is one heck of an elegant Gewurztraminer, a wine I couldn't put down, and wish I could have a whole evening with. Arguable, this was my wine of the night, even next to awesome grower blanc de blancs and Dagueneau!

Thank you for sharing this Sam! And a signed bottle too, by owner when he was at The Wine Country almost a decade ago.

2006 Kunstler Pinot Noir

Brought this to dinner with coworker Ronnie and his lovely wife Madeline at one of their local neighborhood restaurants Black Sheep Bistro. Love this place because it reminds me of The Wine Country - proprietor-run, unique, quirky, and full of quality. I love the wines of Kunstler, especially their Rieslings as they are full of mineral and complexity, not to mention some of the best fruit around. But this is their Spatburgunder, now labeled for the American market "Pinot Noir" - this is a very Burgundian, light-colored Pinot Noir that hits your palate on the light side but then as the night progresses, the wine builds power somehow! There's a lot going on and in summary, it's a pretty red wine that goes well with food, especially something full of different flavors, like a plate of 12 different tapas. In other words, this is a versatile red that sings with food.

2006 Von Buhl Forster Jesuitgarten Riesling Spatlese

Von Buhl is an estate in the Pfalz that hit it out of the ballpark in 2006 with their fantastic Rieslings in a very difficult vintage. While many estates, including theirs, experienced a difficult harvest where a lot of fruit was lost to rot (due to rain and warm weather during those critical harvest weeks), Von Buhl had the manpower and the expertise to select, select, select the best grapes out of their top notch vineyards and made the most beautiful wines ever. Their 2006 Armand Kabinett is one such wine, and we have sold about 35 cases of that wine this past year. This Forster Jesuitgarten Spatlese sold a lot less, probably because the price point is higher, but this is a top-notch vineyard is a special one. Okay, the wine: gorgeous, weighty without being too heavy, fabulous fruit without too much sweetness. In fact, its degree of discernable sweetness was such that one would guess it was a Kabinett, but its concentration and complexity tells you its a Spatlese. Drinking lovely, this wine paired well with the tapas and main dishes that followed, giving another thumbs up for white wine with meat (I had lamb chops).

So that's it for now, a week with great wine, lots of excitement, lots of love from great people - I love it!

Hope you all had a good wine week too!


Samantha Dugan said...

What a sweet heart felt post, gave me warm fuzzies too! I have to let you know that only seeing you on the weekends is going to be really hard for me, I adore you as a person, you giggle at all me lame jokes and funny voices and I always feel that I can count on you...going to miss that. Upside is I will get to see you on the weekends and hear all about the other side of the business and you are getting to do what it is you have been dreaming happy for you and I wish you if you just hate it you can always just come right back home to The Wine Country.
As both of our posts show I did in fact have a great wine week too. Don't you just shake your head sometimes when you think about the amazing things we taste? Like I always say, "The wine business, well it does'nt suck".

Lyle Fass said...

Congrats. Rudi has a great employee on his hands. Don't sell it all. Save me some!

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