Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It Was A Very Good Year 1993 Pellegrini Merlot

One of the few nice things about getting older, not including being able to say, "Been there, done that," in your jaded way, is that there are a few surprises that say to you, "Shut up! You're not as old as you think. You still have a lot of living to do." This was said to me the other night by a bottle of 1993 Pellegrini Merlot.

I had bought three bottles back in the mid 1990s, and drank two right away, and carried this other bottle since I lived in Park Slope Brooklyn, many years ago. A few nights ago, my wife asked me to surprise her with something. I was looking all around the cellar, looking under this bottle and that, when suddenly, I found this dusty old bottle. It lay there forgotten, discarded, like a kid who'd been passed over at the schoolyard basketball court for more than a decade. A loveable loser. I brought up a second bottle, just in case this one did not work out.

I could remember the day I bought it. I had found a trove of it in a small store. I was already seeking out such wines years ago, prodded on by reading people like Howard Goldberg of the New York Times. I can remember where we lived, where my office was, what my commute was like. It was like a quick trip back in time, remembering when my wife and I were newly married, and taking the subway from Brooklyn, before we owned our first car - a hand me down Subaru station wagon with more than 100,000 miles on it. Bush (Herbert Walker) was President, the subway was still under $1.00, the Yankees were still struggling to win their division, and Ray Handley was trying to single handedly destroy my beloved NY Giants.

I looked at the wine in the bottle against a strong light, and saw much sediment. So I carefully decanted and filtered the wine through a coffee filter (I hear the hissing now.....relax, I saved some raw sewage for myself to taste the unfiltered wine separately), making sure to remove the sediment that was dense at the bottom of the bottle, and decanted it.

I was doubtful, until I breathed in my first wisp of the aroma. And then a broad smile filled my face. It was like finding Cinderella's slipper. It was going to be a good night. The wife was going to be very happy.

The aroma was that of fresh bright cherries...and something a little deeper, maybe chocolate? I wasn't entirely sure. So, I poured a sip, and played with it in the glass. And then I tasted. Fresh, bright cherries were intense on my palette, followed by deeper berries, like blackberry or plum. And a nice, dry finish. Oh, boy.

Long story short, I was a hero. We langorously devoured the the rest...very slowly. We were newly weds again. And many of the issues and problems that beset us, not the least of which are two rascals for sons, and three loving and large dogs, melted away. It was nice to find that kind of surprise in the cellar. And it also tells you how long it has been since they've been making wonderful reds on Long Island.

Find some old vintages from Long Island, and relive a little bit of your youth. Back when you were superheroes, when the world seemed less complicated and more fixable, and when jeans and sneakers were still you biggest concern, and not car payments and soccer games. Cheers!