A Wine Story
How is our memory for taste?
This was put to the ultimate test today when I opened a spectacular bottle of wine. I’d like to share my story with you.
Sometime around 1995 I first became seriously interested in wines. While living in Washington, DC, Marieta and I took two ten-week wine courses back-to-back, presented by a master sommelier who wrote for Wine Spectator. To say those classes were life-changing would be an understatement.
However, given we’re on a budget, I’ve never been able to afford super expensive wines. So, my wine knowledge pretty much is non-existent at any price point above $100. My daily price cap is more like $15.
I distinctly remember about five key wine moments in my life. One of the most memorable of those took place in 1998.
Marieta and I were staying at the Two Trees Inn at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. We were attending a poker event. A friend, who sadly I lost contact with named Nick Partenope (who I believe is/was an NYC MD) presented Marieta and me with a bottle of Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon. I distinctly remember opening the bottle of Arrowood in the hotel room. It blew us away. It was spectacular, and at the time, the best wine I’d ever tasted. Back then, the price was considerably higher and Arrowood was hard to find where we lived. Hence, we haven’t had a bottle since then in 21 years.
Until today and now.
A few nights ago, we went to a local wine dinner and to our surprise received a bottle of wine from the host. We didn’t even look at the label, expecting it to be some run-of-the-mill bottle that was nice, but hardly in a class of its own.
Today, we looked at the bottle. It was Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon! Instantly, we remember Nick Partenope and our encounter with this splendid old friend two decades earlier. Make that two old friends.
We don’t drink many reds during the summer, but this baby couldn’t possibly wait. We wondered aloud: Would this wine be as memorable as all those years ago? Arrowood has changed and we’ve changed, too. Our expectations were ridiculously high, perhaps even unreasonable.
And so, the cork was popped and the verdict was immediate.
The best way to describe the Arrowood was it was as tasty as blood to a vampire. It was ass-kicking incredible! I do mean a blast of fruit that bombs the taste buds. Fucking WOW!
I didn’t expect this. I’ve had most of the fruit bombs and usually don’t find them to be nearly as sophisticated as my taste for the classic Rhones and Bourdeuxs and wines from Burgandy and Loire. If you’d have bet money that I’d be partial to a California wine above my classic traditional favorites, I’d have wagered any amount of money. Well, I would have lost my wager.
This Arrowood is quite possibly the best wine I’ve ever tasted, certainly for the money. Clocking in at $29 per bottle and a 14.5 alc. content, it’s a dangerous and tempting beast.
And so, 21 years after falling in love with a wine, an old flame had been reunited.
I cannot possibly recommend Arrowood more highly. It’s truly THAT amazing, and then some. Dr. Nick Partenope, if you are out there reading, thank you for the memories — then and now.
Note: Marieta had an identical reaction.