Saturday, November 22, 2008

Impromptu Fire Pit Party

Well, it was impromptu for us, anyway. I had just finished a short day but a long week of being on the road in the field, and Johan had just finished a day of working from home, being on phone meetings, and we had trekked over to the Yard House for some happy hour treats. When we returned home, we started to take out some wine that were the day's spoils (not spoiled spoils, but wines left over from sampling over the week that wouldn't last the weekend) and pondered a light dinner, when suddenly, Johan returned from getting the mail and said, "They're having a fire pit inauguration party upstairs by the pool!"

Now, we live in a condo overlooking the ocean, with a bunch of neighbors we don't really know. We had noticed an incoming firepit a few days ago, but I guess last night was the night they decided to fire it up for the first time. According to Johan, a group had convened with drinks and appetizers around the roaring fire. Should we join them? Sure! I was a bit tempted.

So we put in our hands a couple of wine glasses (Riedel vinum Bordeaux) and a just opened, barely sampled 2006 Becker Estate Pinot Noir and an opened-for-two-days 2007 Becker Limestone Pinot Blanc. And we headed up to the party.

Indeed a group had formed, and introductions were made all around, and I found myself amongst a group of true party animals. Bottles of wine, martini shakers, cheese platters, sausages, and even grilled white and green asparagus, and a pretty fire in the middle of a marble/granite fire pit. Right on the ocean. Why even leave the building?

I tasted my favorite little German Pinot Noir, and immediately I felt - this tastes bland. I wondered why. It was not the tasty little Pinot Noir I remembered from Becker, the one I hand sold a number of. It wasn't off or horrible, just terribly lackluster. I think it was either an off bottle or an off-batch - maybe this batch was made with lackluster fruit? Or maybe it was just that it got cooked a little in my car? It wasn't in the icebox the whole time with all the white wines - perhaps the Pinot Noir's delicate nature was startled by car heat? I hope that was what the problem was.

Then I tasted the Limestone Pinot Noir. A world of difference. A gorgeous, rich white wine without a stitch of oak, just citrus, white peach, white flowers on the nose, followed by an oppulent palate of stone fruit and limestone. Loved it!!! I wanted more.

The Becker Pinot Noir's underperformance still nagged at me, but I was impressed by the Pinot Blanc, and it is not usual for me to be impressed with Pinot Blanc. That was a bit of a wine epiphany for me right there.

Aside from the wine, I really enjoyed myself conversing with various folks I hadn't really met before. I found out that one of The Wine Country's neighbors, a friend of Randy's, lives in my building; also a prominent medical administrator, a woman who is a pilot and now works for a leer jet company that is located just down the street from The Wine Country, and a really nice man whose family came from Tuscany. Oh yes, there was also a lot of wine talk.

All in all, not a bad night. I decided, wine and fire pits bring people together.


Samantha Dugan said...

I absolutely love those kind of parties, a way. I find that my painfull shyness tends to make people think I am stand-off-ish or even worse, (not being a big "smile" person some people think I'm a bitch...pout) but when you throw some wine or cocktails into the mix and shit howdy that outter shell breaks away and I can make friends like crazy!!

Curious about the little Becker Pinot Noir, I know you love that it not in your post from the other day about wines that you love to sell and taste people on?! You should open one at the store today and see if it was just a funky bottle. Pinot Blanc? Really? Never once have I heard you even talk about Pinot Blanc, makes me want to try that one because truth be told....I'm not a fan of the grape as a whole. Even in my little Alsace department I only have one, I tend to find them flat and lacking any depth...gonna try and taste the one you were talking about.

Too funny that there are connections to The Wine Country in your building and you didnt know about it...I swear our store has such a following, it really is amazing. (The fact that you were to find this out while on the roof with a bunch of party goes is not shocking in the least, makes perfect sense) Just like I was saying yesterday when I told you about the guy that, when he found out my name was Samantha asked, "Are you Samantha Dugan?" and then wanted to shake my hand and tell me how much he loves my articles...I just stood there feeling awkward, but really flattered! People treat us like minor celebrities, but I guess with ten thousand readers we have a wide reach!

Fun post and great descriptions...wished I was there drinking wine in front of the marble fire pit with ya!

Nancy Deprez said...

Thanks for the nice comment, Sam!

Yeah, Pinot Blanc, who would have thunk it? Maybe I do like white wine more than I think!

We don't have this Becker Pinot Blanc in the store - it is wholesale about $25 a bottle so retail maybe $40? It is not an inexpensive lean Pinot Blanc, but a totally rich-tasting one.

We are also out of the Becker Pinot Noir in the store. I do have a sample in my samples stash, and I will open one next time and taste.

Nancy Deprez said...

I don't think people think you are a bitch!