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Valentine Wine

I was delighted to attend the Valentine Wine Tasting at Vintage Spirits in Herkimer, NY last Friday.

I started my sampling with a Charles de Fere Blanc de Blanc Brut. I knew that blanc de blanc was a sparkling wine — having also been made aware that the correct term is “sparkling wine,” because champagne only comes from a specific region in France. I’ve probably noted that before, but I must trot out my sophisticated wine knowledge whenever possible (and by “sophisticated” I mean I say it with a little sashay). Friday I learned that blanc de blanc is made from the Chardonnay grape. This gave me a chance to air the one other thing I know about wine.

“Is it aged in stainless steel or in oak?” I’ve discovered that I only like Chardonnay aged in stainless steel.

Bronson explained to me that the champagne method entails aging in the bottle. Boy did I feel silly with my stainless and oak sashay. I explained to a couple of other tasters about my little bit of Chardonnay knowledge and how foolishly proud I am of it.

“I was at a gathering once where they had Chardonnay in a box and I was all, ‘Is it aged in stainless or in oak?'” I gave myself a snooty tone of voice, making fun of my own pretensions. “Somebody said, ‘It’s aged in cardboard! Drink it!’ So I did.”

They were amused. It’s my favorite Chardonnay story.

A lady that started tasting after me asked how long you could keep champagne — uh, sparkling wine. Bronson said indefinitely, as long as it was not opened. I said that was good, since I’d had a bottle in the fridge for a while now. Bronson said that wasn’t so good; the vibrations could make it lose its bubbles. I asked if it would get skunked like beer if I un-chilled then re-chilled it. Bronson thought not, but I think I’ll go ahead and just drink that champagne soon. No point in taking chances.

The lady also told us about an old bottle she had acquired. She hadn’t known to store it on its side at first, so she was not sure if it had kept well. She also couldn’t quite make up her mind on an occasion to open it. I told her about Open That Bottle of Wine Day, which I heard about on NPR one time. A couple of wine aficionados had so declared a certain Saturday for just such a situation.

“What day is that?” she asked.

“I don’t remember,” I confessed. It had been a long time ago, and I had not had such a bottle at the time. However, we agreed that it would be acceptable to declare one’s own Open That Bottle Day.

I tasted a number of wines that earned my favorite accolade of “yummy.” I purchased a Chateau Blouin 2009 Bordeau. I learned that all Bordeaux are blends, and I tend to like blends (this could be dangerous: me acquiring more wine knowledge). I went home and declared it Open the Bottle I Just Bought Day.

Vintage Spirits is located at 246 Mohawk St., Herkimer, NY. Phone number is 315-866-6800. You can get on a list to receive emails about upcoming tastings. Maybe I’ll see you there!

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