Sometimes a wine gains significance from the occasion on which it is served, going beyond what is actually in the bottle.
For example, Schramsberg’s Blanc de Blancs, which debuted in 1965, was America’s first commercially produced, Chardonnay-based brut sparkling wine. But its reputation was made when President Nixon served the wine at the historic “Toast to Peace” in Beijing, China, in 1972.
On Sept. 27, I attended a Celebration for Michael Batterberry, the founding editor of Food Arts, who died on July 28. Hosted by Marvin R. Shanken and held at the Pierre Hotel in New York, the event drew many luminaries of the culinary world, including Danny Meyer, Sirio Maccioni, Dan Barber, Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller. Food Arts is a sister publication of Wine Spectator, and I considered Michael a mentor and a friend.
The event was a unique and appropriate combination of food, wine, music and remembrance, all things Michael loved. And though the wine was not meant to attract attention, I couldn’t help but check the label as it was poured: a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from St. Supéry in the Napa Valley. It was delicious, with bright flavors of guava, lime and herbs.
Frankly, I wasn’t calculating ratings at the time. But I know now that whenever I hear “Bird Songs at Eventide,” which was beautifully sung by Robert White, accompanied by Philip Edward Fisher on the piano, I will taste the wine, and think of Michael.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for St. Supéry Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2009 (88 points, $20).