Spit Happens #51 – Sticky Winter Nights

A number of years ago when we lived in Vancouver  my wife and I did a series of tastings over the course of 6 years. We called it “Sticky Night in December” . It was an evening of approx 10 homemade desserts and a matching number of dessert wines AKA “ Stickies”.  We would make a guest list of approximately 30 people and usually about 22-25 would show up. Lots of customers and wino friends and the occasional Master of Wine Candidate. It was an enormous amount of work for my wife and a lot of patient collecting on my part . We would include Madeira, Port, Sauternes, Barsac, Monbazillac,  Trockenbeerenauslese , Rutherglen Fortifieds, older rare late harvest Zinfandel from California, BC Ice wine , Commanderie St John from Cyprus as well and Vin Santo and Banyuls ( France’s version of Port made with fortified Grenache )  Each was specifically matched with a cake, biscotti, chocolate or other sweet treat and each guest was handed a list of all the dessert wines and desserts. We would let them pour the wines for themselves and portion the dessert to suit their tastes. Each guest could come and go at their own schedule and at the end of the night they all got a goodie bag filled with dessert items suitable for travel. It was in the top 5 tastings we ever put on in our home. The reason is it was very satisfying to hear people say to me or each other “ I have never tried this before and it’s amazing “ or “ I never buy these wines because they are too sweet, but know I know why David like them “ also the comments about the pairings were interesting .  I’m the first person in the room to express a preference for cheese and dessert wine as an after dinner treat rather than a sweet dessert but given enough time to think about it and tweak a recipe the results can be sublime. In the spirit of those events I would love to tell you about three of my favorite styles of dessert wine that are a little less traditional.

  • Banyuls , as mentioned earlier Banyuls is France’s version of port . Grenache dominant and typically slightly lower in alcohol than Port . Absolutely brilliant with chocolate based dessert. Individual chocolate that have dried fruit in them and flour less chocolate torte are among some of my favorite matches. Legacy Liquor Store in Vancouver has some Chapoutier Banyuls for sale.
  • Rutherglen Fortifieds , I my view the Albury Wodonga region of Australia referred to as Rutherglen should be a World Heritage site and is worthy of a special trip to Australia just for these wines. Muscats, muscadelle and other fortified wines aged in a reductive environment , often not in a coo,l cellar but a passive above ground storage , sit in casks for 10 20 30 years before being bottled and in my view sold for ridiculously cheap prices. Britannia Wine Merchants in Alberta had a single bottle of Seppelt DP 59 for sale and it’s brilliant.
  • Sauternes , while wine drinkers know about these wines they rarely buy them and age them , often purchasing them just before a tasting or dinner with very little planning. In my view a well aged Sauternes is a thing of beauty and worthy of a place on your dinner table , buy them and age them 5-15 years and call me. My old store , Marquis Wine Cellars has a small selection of 375ml Sauternes.

Thanks for your time.

If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ .

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers
David Lancelot

Spit Happens #50 – Drink Your Good Stuff

After being in the wine business since I was in my mid 20’s I have noticed a trend that happens to occur among people who have wine cellars. They often buy too much and end up drinking wine that’s over the hill or don’t drink them at all. There can be a tendency among humans as they age to have a change in how they process smells and flavor profiles. IE the older wines are too subtle to be enjoyed as the tannins and aromatics are muted by age. There is also a tendency for wine drinkers and collectors to say “I bought Wine X for 25$ a bottle years ago and now it’s worth 500$ now it’s too expensive to drink.

I’m here to make an impassioned plea to you that you should drink those wines. First of all life is precious . I have been asked to inventory cellars of deceased wine collectors and they often have only Blue Chip wines ( a lot of them ) and tended to drink the lesser wines first to defer ratification . What are you waiting for ? I know the wines you select are special to you but you likely have only 6 or 7 special occasions in a year. How many special occasion bottles do you have ? I bet a lot more than you need . Now I hear you saying it’s too good I need to save it. Chances are those super duper special occasion wines might not meet your expectations as you build too much into it. How about a nice dinner on a Tuesday night and just open it and share with someone special. Notice that I said someone… I’m not in favor of the idea that you need to get 10 people together and everybody gets 2 ounces.Savor the whole bottle over the course of an evening. Enjoy it’s development and don’t think of it’s value. From an economic perspective it’s a sunk cost , just drink it… Hell drink it with take out pizza but don’t fetishize it and collect just for the sake of it. A well known collector in Vancouver once gave me a bottle of 61 Parce Banyuls as a present . I thought WOW that’s generous but 2 days later I drank it with a few friends. Why ? Because tomorrow is only a promise… not a guarantee.

I have been fascinated by a singer named Laura Pergozzi. She has a song called Lost on You. The line “Smoke ’em if you got ’em “ is never more true when it comes to your wine.

Lost on You
LP
When you get older, plainer, saner
When you remember all the danger we came from
Burning like embers, falling, tender
Long before the days of no surrender
Years ago and well you know

Smoke ’em if you got ’em
‘Cause it’s going down
All I ever wanted was you
I’ll never get to heaven
‘Cause I don’t know how

Let’s raise a glass or two
To all the things I’ve lost on you
Oh oh
Tell me are they lost on you?
Oh oh
Just that you could cut me loose
Oh oh
After everything I’ve lost on you
Is that lost on you?
Oh oh
Is that lost on you?
Oh oh
Baby, is that lost on you?
Is that lost on you?

Wishing I could see the machinations
Understand the toil of expectations in your mind
Hold me like you never lost your patience
Tell me that you love me more than hate me all the time
And you’re still mine
So smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em
‘Cause it’s going down
All I ever wanted was you
Let’s take a drink of heaven
This can turn around
Let’s raise a glass or two
To all the things I’ve lost on you
Oh oh
Tell me are they lost on you?
Oh oh
Just that you could cut me loose
Oh oh
After everything I’ve lost on you
Is that lost on you?
Oh oh
Is that lost on you?
Oh oh, oh oh
Bab, is that lost on you?
Is that lost on you?
Let’s raise a glass or two
To all the things I’ve lost on you
Oh oh
Tell me are they lost on you?
Oh oh
Just that you cold cut me loose
Oh oh
After everything I’ve lost on you
Is that lost on you?
Is that lost on you?

Songwriters: Laura Pergolizzi / Nathaniel Campany / Michael Gonzales

Thanks for your time.

If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ .

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning.
http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers
David Lancelot

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