It's that time of year to reflect on the year that will soon be in the history books. Not only that, it feels like a decade has just gone by, in the snap of a finger and a thumb, awfully quickly.
In an effort to recap, I'll review some of the top 10 moments (or situations) in wine that I have experienced this year:
1. Tasting a series of German Rieslings that were all over 50 years old, the oldest of which were from the vintage 1921. It was amazing to be in a room full of wine tasters, among them people whose names I had heard before but finally met for the first time - Bruce Sanderson, Bipin Desai, Claude Kolm, among others - and none of us were as old as many of the wines passing our lips. Wines made before either of the World Wars. Tasting through time. Tasting from the great estates, who are still making wine today, having passed their estates onto the next generations. Very amazing.
2. Tasting 1971 wines (my vintage) both on my birthday while I was in Germany, at JJ Prum - tasting a 1971 JJ Prum Goldkapsel, with the Prums, the Wiests, and my good friends and coworkers; and subsequently back in Los Angeles with my husband and friends, who brought a 1971 Cheval Blanc to open at a birthday dinner - outstanding. Thank you.
3. Taking part in hosting Rudipalooza with 6 German winemakers, driving them all over Los Angeles and Orange Counties, San Francisco, and even Napa. Crazy stuff. Overdid it. Overworked everyone. An exhausting 6 days with multiple tastings, wine dinners, one-on-one account visits. Completely amazing to work with Bert Selbach, Hanno Zilliken, Karina Stuhler, Jan Eymael, and Johannes Haart.
4. Bert Selbach giving me a bottle of 1998 Eiswein, personally, and Gunter Kunster giving me a bottle of his 08 Kirchenstuck dry Riesling. Wow!
5. Being in Germany while the Vancouver Olympics were going on, therefore not being able to go, but sporting the red Canada hoodie in support of team Canada, and sometimes even the red mitts. Watching some of the Olympic coverage on TV, especially the one night in this awesome small hotel in Fellbach where I got the best suite in the whole place - replete with living room, kitchen, and loft bedroom - I did not want to leave this hotel! Watching the Olympics late into the night then reading my novel - yes, that made me late for the next morning's meeting with Schnaitmann..... woops. Hate being late!
6. Working the Northern California market. This was a highlight of my working for Rudi Wiest this year. Being able to go up to Northern California once a month and share our wines with knowledgeable Bay Area wine lovers. Working in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Walnut Creek and the Napa Valley was a pleasure beyond compare. The entire spirit of this area is very attractive to me - people are pleasant, happy, healthy, knowledgeable and embrace the world of wine. My stint up there has ended, but I have come away with a great appreciation of this part of California.
7. Amazing dinner at Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe. This was part of the weekend extravaganza that was the "50 Years and Older Riesling TBA Tasting" hosted by Rudi Wiest, featuring the wines from 1921 on up to 1959. This is one of the best dinners I have experienced, with wine pairs that were almost exclusively German - and dry German wines at that, with the most memorable being Pinot Noirs from Becker and Furst, and dry white wines from Rebholz and Salwey. I wish all naysayers of dry German wines could have been at that dinner because there would be no naysayers after that. Also very fun was socializing with Fritz Becker and Hansjorg Rebholz at that dinner, along with Bruce Sanderson and other fun people (who is not fun when belly is full of top-notch food and awesome wines?).
8. Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon, which actually took place in Santa Ynez. This happens every year the weekend of Mother's Day in May - not on Mother's Day, but on the Saturday, the day before. A great many of us from our running club, AREC, headed up on this particular weekend to run a half marathon from Santa Ynez to Solvang, through some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. One feels like someone doing the Tour de France - well, at least I did. The entire weekend was a cornucopia of friends, the countryside backdrop, local wines, cute restaurants, wine tasting, and relaxing. For me, there is nothing as soothing as visiting a wine region. This particular weekend in May had all the best. Oh, and I got to meet Peter Cargassachi on this trip too!
9. Champagne and caviar dinner at Petrossian. In July, I celebrated with my husband one of my best sales months to date. I offered to take us to Petrossian, the caviar place in West Hollywood. And with us we brought a delicious bottle of Champagne. That was awesome. Since that first time, we have gone again, the second time with an out-of-town friend, who also agreed it was a great way to enjoy life.
10. Surviving yet another year in the wine business. This year marks Year 5. I started officially Dec 13, 2005. 2010 was a fun, interesting and intense year, year 2 of working for German wine importer Rudi Wiest. It feels good that many of my customers are friends now, and they seem to like me. I look forward to what comes in 2011!