I entitled my first column, “Why I Drink.” Editorial priorities changed it to “Why I Drink Wine.” But that, unfortunately, missed the mark. My point was not why I drink wine as opposed to scotch (beside the fact that it reeks of alcohol and tastes like mouthwash). Rather, I wanted to ruminate on the attractions of imbibing booze.
Over the weekend Terry and I experienced yet again the fellowship of wine. This event reinforced for me the joys and delights in drinking, especially with others.
Our good friends, Allen and Diane Eggers, had purchased some noteworthy bottles with date significance (to some degree). They had three vintages of Château Pichon Lalande, a Second Growth from Bordeaux, 1979 (the year they were married), 1981 (their daughter’s, Holland, birthday) and 2005 (because it was a good year).
Back in 1855, Emperor Napoleon III (not the short guy, but his nephew) was throwing a big soiree and wanted all of the wineries in Bordeaux that were of a certain quality to provide wine. He dictated that the wines be at least of fifth classification quality. So, some wine brokers rated the various chateaux and determined that only 58 of them foot the bill. Four were listed as “First Growths”, twelve as Second, and all the way to Fifth Growths.
So, we knew Allen and Diane had some world class wine to offer. Then, to compare French with California, they offered two years of Joseph Phelps Insignia, a remarkable wine in its own right. The 1987 was for the year their twins, Elissa and Whitney, were born. 2006 was just because.
We arrived at their home and were greeted with homemade gnocchi, mushroom brie cheese, and other delectables. Then we joined the Eggers family (along with two boyfriends) and started drinking. All were delicious.
By the end of the evening everyone agreed that the 1979 was the best. No surprise – someone said it smelled like chocolate raspberry sticks and tasted of candied fruit – who wouldn’t love it.
But the highlight of the evening was simply the warmth and friendship the Eggers home exuded. Everyone enjoyed the wine, made some classic critical assessments (the 1981 smelled like a “hamster cage”), and were overwhelming good company. And good wine was the stimulus for all of us getting together. And that’s why I drink. Thank you, Diane and Allen.
© Carl Kanowsky