It happened during last night’s class, when my lovely American wine instructor was innocently screeching French appellations into my ears. We tasted a line of Chardonnays from all over the world and I still could not find THE One. Five reds then sat for a bit on my table, so they’d breathe and give me their zest.
Half-awake and ready to zip through the line, I swirled the first glass and stuck my face into it.
Cherries suddenly slapped my nose. Big, meaty, dark, sweet cherries, like the ones that make me dig and fish them through the whole Cherry Garcia ice-cream pint. I closed my eyes. I swirled and smelled, again, and once more, hoping not to be disappointed. Sometimes there is a disconnect between the smell and the taste of a wine. I sipped, did the mouth-walk-around tasting tricks by the book, and then spit it.
Damn the spitting! The Domaine Jessiaume Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2009 felt lively, velvety, slightly acid, low in alcohol. I loved-loved-loved it!
I zapped through the other four wines, thinking I may have been wrong. I begged Willamette Valley, Sonoma Coast and New Zealand for more cherries, less leather taste, less tannin, less boldness and spiciness. I wanted to make sure I was not biased toward the French wine only because it reminds me of Europe and the dry, light and lively wines we like there. As I went through other glasses, I gave fewer and fewer points for color, aroma, flavors, texture and balance. The others fell flat of impressing me.
And back I went to my new French amour, ditching the rules, swallowing sip by sip by sip – eyes closed and throat filled with love. There were more cherries, even more cherries, a bit of vanilla and all I could imagine were red hearts, red roses, delicate aged-paper labels and, eventually, a château in Europe, where people can properly pronounce: Domaine Jessiaume Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2009.