A Tale of Two Cabs

It was the best of wines, it was the…well, it was another great wine.  But I kind of had to start a piece with this title like that, right?  I recently requested my first sample.  Writing a test piece for an online golf magazine, I wanted to tie into the World Challenge tournament, so I decided to reach out to a sponsor.  I knew it was an excellent wine, and out of my general price range, but I didn’t know how far out, until after I’d already asked.

After looking up the wine, my immediate thought was, “Retract!, Retract!”  How could I just ASK for a wine of that caliber and price point, but it was too late.  A short time later, I had a response in which she simply asked for more information about the publication.  I told her that although I could not guarantee placement, being that the piece would be my first sample, I could guarantee that I would write about it on my blog, if nothing else.  She looked up my site and responded right away.  Her response was so gracious, so kind and complimentary, that I felt completely at ease.  She said, in fact, that I should ask for more samples.  I thanked her profusely for making my first request such a pleasant experience.  She told me that the 2009 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon would arrive at the end of the week. 

080Never have I been so anxious for a Fed Ex shipment, and never has it come so late in the day.  When the wine finally arrived, after I jumped around, I put it directly in the decanter.  Although I generally like to let a wine sit after shipment, I needed to turn in my piece right away, so I decanted and waited.  In the piece I did for Back9Network, I likened it to a “velvet robe.”  Lush fruit, huge but elegant, and delicious.  We paired it with Filets with mushroom sauce and a wedge with blue cheese.  A classic steakhouse meal with a classic steakhouse wine.

084The next week, I wanted to provide another fabulous Napa Cab at a more approachable price point.  After some research and some questioning of those in the know, I chose the 2009 Conn Creek Napa Valley Cabernet.  Tight at first, but after some time out of the bottle I noted red cherry, berry, nutmeg, vanilla from the oak and earth.  A very nice wine and a great alternative for an average weekend.

Was there a difference in the two wines?  Of course.  And although the Far Niente is out of my price range, even for a special occasion, it was really magnificent.  I may have to stretch my range once in a while because it was an experience, indeed.  After all, when you consider the cost of eating out and the wine mark up at most restaurants, you can totally justify this splurge if you choose to stay in and make something fabulous at home.  Yes, there will still be dishes, but you won’t mind after a glass or two. 

There is an intrinsic reward in putting yourself out there and asking for what you want.  No matter the response, you have identified and articulated your desire and goal.   That has always been a tough one for me, but something that has gotten easier with practice.  If I’d known the value of what I was requesting, I wouldn’t have asked, and I would have missed out on something fabulous.  In this circumstance, there was a very nice extrinsic reward and a lesson that goes beyond the wine.  This lesson will be remembered as my “Far Niente moment.”     And, dear friends, I think I will need occasional reminders.

Something to Celebrate

Tonight we will say goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013. Most of us will celebrate with bubbles and friends. We have been practicing around here. I took a class in sparkling wine recently which was great preparation. Champagne, Prosecco, Domestic, or Cava, there is a bottle for every palate and every price point.

I recently received a sample of sparkling wine from Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. Using the Methode Champenoise, this 2008 Blanc de Blancs is aged 24-30 months before disgorging. This wine has great acidity, citrus and green apple. The bubbles are small and elegant which yield a great texture and finish. If you are wanting to celebrate with a domestic wine, this is a great option. Looking for other options? I’ll get to that.

So what were we celebrating? Well, a few things. One being my brother’s visit. Another being the reason I have not mentioned other specific sparklers. At the end of 2011, I had just begun writing. I had posted maybe a dozen pieces, with most viewed only by friends. In 2012, I have begun receiving samples, have received invitations to fabulous events, and more importantly, have met amazing people in the industry. I have learned so much from them.

With their encouragement and example, I have grown in the social media world, and I am now writing for other publications. So, for other bubbles ideas, head over to Back9Network, a multi-media golf and lifestyle publication, where I have been writing weekly posts on wine and spirits.  So grateful for all of you that have taken the time to read my banter, for all that I have learned, and for the relationships I have made.

Wishing you a fabulous holiday and may 2013 bring you much joy.