It's the dog days of summer for baseball and two-a-days are here for NFL teams as they get ready for the upcoming season. Most sensible folks are on vacation somewhere, and I'm not one of them. I've been doing my own version of two-a-days here at the office, busy plowing through two flights a day over the past several weeks, hence my rather quiet blog lately.
While I can't wait for my own vacation (finally, coming at the end of this week), the good news for you is that my upcoming Rhône report will have well over 1,000 wines in it, while my annual report on Argentina that follows close on its heels will have more than 500 wines, both high-water marks by far in terms of annual reviews for the two regions. Of course I can't give away the store prior to the reports appearing in the magazine, but there will be plenty of reviews appearing in our weekly Insider newsletter over the next several weeks. If you have any general questions on either region in the meantime, feel free to fire away.
For this blog item though, I wound up being inspired by a Sunday morning of cellar work. I had quite a few boxes that had piled up in recent months and had gotten lazy with the bins, so some major unpacking and reorganizing was in store. As I was working, I couldn't help but be charmed by certain bottles in my cellar. It's a common malaise for those of us who go down to their cellars to "play" as it were. Try to just pull a bottle and suddenly you realize you've been down there for 20 minutes reminiscing over some vineyard...
On this particular morning I wasn't sidetracked by memories or even by looking at some of my favorite labels. Rather, it was the foils that got me this time.
Like most cellars, my racking keeps the bottles horizontal, and thus you can only see the tops of the foils of each bottle. I don't use neck tags (don't like the clutter) so the foils wind up making up their own interesting mix of colors. Some of my favorites include the silver foil of Château Haut-Brion, with the vintage stamped on top. HB, along with Yquem are the only ones I can think of who stamp the vintage on top of the foil, making it so easy to pull the right bottle from the rack. It’s such a good idea, I wonder why other wineries don't follow suit?
The bright pinkish and teal of Vieux-Château-Certan's foil always helps it to stand out as well, as does the electric yellow-colored foil on Bibi Graetz's Testamatta cuvée. There's the silver and black Ravenswood emblem or the polished silver foil of Jean-Michel Gérin's La Landonne bottling. And then there are the wax-topped bottles, such as Dunn's Howell Mountain Cabernet or Domaine de Beaurenard's Boisrenard cuvée. And so on, and so on.
I got a fair amount of clean up done, but in the end, I was foiled by the foils. Each time I'd finish with a little section, I'd step back and look at the rows and columns of foils. As my mind would wander more and more I eventually lost the drive to finish the job. Plus it was lunchtime, which meant it was time to unceremoniously rip off one of those foils anyway … I wonder if I should start a bowl of foils to go next to the bowl of corks I keep?
Jason Thompson — Foster City, CA — August 18, 2008 4:32pm ET
Robert Kim — Las Vegas, Nevada — August 18, 2008 5:46pm ET
Fred Brown — August 18, 2008 10:02pm ET
William Keene — North Carolina — August 19, 2008 10:51am ET
Bob Brack — Canada — August 19, 2008 1:09pm ET
James Molesworth — August 19, 2008 1:43pm ET
Jason Thompson — Foster City, CA — August 19, 2008 2:45pm ET
William Keene — North Carolina — August 19, 2008 4:59pm ET
Apj Powers — Dallas, TX — August 20, 2008 2:03am ET
John Nelson — Dallas, Texas — August 20, 2008 3:45pm ET
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