On the Wine Trail

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  • A Day in the Desert

    A Day in the Desert

    There is something to be said for getting away. Even when you have to work a bit in order to do it. For me, the desert is a transcontinental flight and a two-hour drive away. Which essentially adds up toe full day of travel. When I arrived, 1999 Laurent-Perrrier bottle in tow, the "dry" heat of the sun left me drained and parched. And when I'm tired, I have no time for wanna-be wine. There is so much in the world that lacks authenticity. With people, they pretend to be whomever they need to be to get by--steal someone's style; dress like your girlfriend wants you to; withhold your true comments and thoughts about backward thinking to remain in someone's good graces....in short, they lead with their bullshit. With wine, its the producers who create a storybook setting backed up by a label but no sound terroir or winegrowing. I'm not much for mixology in my wine. But when I'm tired, my open-mindedness shuts firmly closed. Just give me something delicious. Something with some soul.

    So I popped the cork on my last bottle of 1999 Laurent-Perrier Brut and waited to be refreshed. I wasn't sure how "fresh" this wine would taste and became worried that my selection was a mistake. Back home on the east coast, where Fall and its accompanying "snap" had arrived, the flavors of a more mature champagne would pair with the environs a bit better. But here, where the dust of the desert mixed happily with the gusty winds off the mighty San Jacinto Peak--I was thinking refreshing might have been more in order. Perhaps the Ultra-Brut would have been a better choice. The lack of dosage in that wine would have preserved a bit more of the freshness by denying the wine to energy to continue to evolve after being disgorged. 

    But oh well. There I was and there it was. The beautiful mousse filled the glass as I poured and settled in a delicate, pin-straight bead of fine bubbles. Just what the doctor ordered. I was happy to find that the wine within was still fresh and light but balanced with a concentration of baked apples and pears with notes of citrus and jasmine, all wrapped in the buttery baked notes of well-made brioche. I ripped apart the croissant and voila--I was sustained. I swear I could survive on bread and bubbles. 

    The amazing thing about authentic champagne, particularly one from big house, is the depth, balance and elegance. For me, it isn't always the complexity that makes the glass. Sometimes less complex but more depth is a happy trade-off. I would say that I didn't find this to be the most complex bottle but it was heart-warmingly deep. And real. With great substance that managed to be refreshing in a thoughtful sort of way. You could taste how unafraid and unashamed she was to be just as is. And who wants a phony when you're exhausted? Or someone you have to cater to or create the perfect meal around to be appreciated. When something is authentic, it can just be.