I am so glad I have no moral compunction about scavenging and salvaging what I find valuable and what otherwise will get thrown out.
After all, I grew up going to garage sales and auctions with my family. For years, my dad worked as an auctioneer. When I was in college, I bought for him at garage sales, worked his auctions, and learned to refinish furniture too.
I find no shame in dumpster diving, having spent several of my formative years collecting beer cans from the neighborhood dumpsters. I still have a number of Navy middies I found at the dump when I was about 12; I imagine now they once belonged to someone recently returned from Viet Nam.
Like the recently deposed Sarah Palin, I regularly shop at thrift stores, especially on half-price Wednesdays at the Goodwill by the farmers market, and at Habitat for Humanity’s Restore.
So when it seemed that the room full of open wine left behind after the after party at the Wine Bloggers Conference was going to get poured down the drain, thrown out or who knew what, I packed up what I could manage and drove off with it, figuring I’d drink what I could as fast as I could, taste and write and taste some more, and share the wealth–which is exactly what I’ve been doing since I returned from the Wine Bloggers Conference last week.
I know now how little I know about wine. And how much less I knew a week ago before I went to the Wine Bloggers Conference and tasted more wine in one weekend than I had in the previous year.
I am not sure whether I tasted the Masia Carreras 2001 Saturday night at the after party or not, and I have no idea who brought it to the party. There was such a blur of wines I’d never heard of I have no idea. But as we were cleaning up after the party, someone urged me to take it so I did.
Over the past few days, I have been sampling it. The first time, it was ok, but not that impressive so I moved on to something else (yes, I know how lucky I am!) I tried a little more a few other nights, and each time moved on.
The other night, after enjoying with a homemade arugala-basil pesto dinner the tail end of a still very yummy 2005 Rockblock Syrah from Oregon’s Rogue River Valley ($45), I wanted a little more wine so I fished around and brought out this bottle again. I wondered how it would be after the syrah (full-bodied, rich, fruit intense with lots of blueberry in the nose and the palate, and some spice), and found it stood up to it just fine.
The Masia Carreras had opened up into a truly lovely wine–it was almost like I was tasting something completely different than the wine of the previous nights. Lots of berry fruit now, on the tongue and in the nose, sweet intense florals, and minerals too. 50% grenache, 35% carignan, 5% tempranillo, 5% cab, and 5% syrah, the blend was so pleasurable, powerful, and complex that today I realized I would need to write about it just so I would remember it! And to make me find out more about what I had tasted!
This is what I found: according to Robert Parker, who gave this wine a 94: “The profound 2001 Masia Carreras is an unfined/unfiltered, 300-case cuvee fashioned from a similar blend. From an outstanding vintage, it boasts a dense ruby/purple color in addition to full-bodied, powerful, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, acacia flower, and crushed rock characteristics. Layered and multidimensional, with superb purity and a fabulous noble stature, this terrific 2001 will drink well for a decade. Wow! What a discovery broker Jorge Ordonez made with these terrific wines from a sub-appellation of Ampurdan in the Costa Brava. Could Costa Brava be the next Priorat?”
Ahhh! Yes, the floral is acacia! Exactly. I can taste so much, but putting a name to it all is still new. And drink well for a decade. That’s what I did by leaving it open and tasting it night after night–aging it quickly to see what it would be like by 2010 or 2012!
The lesson too here is a reminder that if a wine isn’t quite what you’d like it to be, be patient! Open something else and give it a day or two! And try not to finish a wine that night but be patient! Save a little and see how it develops!
What else I’ve learned in the past week: I really like grenache–when it’s blended with something else, like this one, or the RBJ Theologicum 2001 which is grenache and mourvedre. While I liked the Quivira Grenache of last weekend, it wasn’t a standout, and while R Winery’s Bitch Grenache is a fun and inexpensive for a conversation starter, there are other wines I’d rather spend $10 on…or spend a bit more for the Quivera, for example, and support biodynamics.
I will keep waiting for that oh so memorable grenache I want to experience alone. In the meantime, I want a little sinner with my saint. (Oh to have attended the Twisted Oak Library tasting!)
Watch for a post soon on a duck dinner with a recipe from the winemaker at B Cellar paired with the wine he recommends, Blend 25, a Cabernet Syrah.
These sound great too (also his recommendations):
Regardless, I can’t wait!!