Aspen Wine Snapshots

By Ray Isle Posted June 16, 2007

Up this morning early to prep a little for my seminar later today on Cabernets from Napa's Mountain Appellations, then as I wandered out to pick up a croissant from the Saturday Aspen Farmer's Market (a nice adjunct event going on here every week), I was mulling over a few wine moments from the Classic so far, such as:

-         being handed a glass of Bollinger while in line for the gondola ride up to our publisher's party on top of Aspen Mountain last night, then having the glass taken away by the gondola staff before I got into the car. Man, don't torture us like that! 

-         Robert Bohr of Cru in NYC ordering a magnum of '83 Chave Hermitage and serving it to about twenty friends and random lucky people who happened to be hanging out at the lobby bar outside Montagna last night. Spurs the thought that a very good piece of wine advice is simply, "Be wherever Robert Bohr is."

-         Being served a glass of Beringer's Alluvium Blanc last night at the CIA student chef awards, asking the server what the blend of grapes was (it's Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon) and being told, in an outrageous French accent, "I believe zee grape is zee Alluvium grape." Ah. Of course. 

-         Tasting (among many other wines) two terrific values at the Grand Tasting yesterday, both from South Africa: the bright, zap-you-with-flavor 2006 Pecan Stream Chenin Blanc ($13) and the crisp, limey, focused 2006 DeWetshof Unwooded Chardonnay ($15). Case buys, no question.

-         Drinking Tio Pepe fino and eating Jamon Serrano at the Wines from Spain reception and feeling, momentarily, as though I were back in Andalucia rather than in Colorado. Happy to settle for either, though. 

-         Witnessing Richard Betts at Montagna thoroughly stump about ten wine industry professionals (including me) with a mysterious red wine served blind, which is what Richard Betts always does to us when we come to Montagna. It was a 1996 Valtellina, which is Nebbiolo done in an amarone fashion. Recovering my honor somewhat when I at least managed to identify a white served blind as grand cru Burgundy (it was a 2002 Le Montrachet). Not exactly rocket science, that last one, but I'll take what crumbs of dignity I can get.

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