I have been writing mostly about the good fortune of our wines in the wine cellar, as we have survived the lockdown. Just like we have been trying to use up the food in the freezers and the pantries after we attempted to assess what we had, we applied the same concept to the wine cellar and to the wine vault. I am hoping that we eventually will see the inside of restaurants again, but this is all predicated on the whimsy of our harridan. She returned from some sort of celebration in the District of Columbia and according to some sources, she didn’t need to wear a mask, just like the others in attendance. I will be glad to report of a visit or two to a restaurant again, and pray that her largesse is maintained. “Let them eat cake” as long as only twenty-five percent of the venue is used. Just like we are losing restaurants in Michigan, we lost two bottles of wine that were in our cellar and now the count is up to five, which is still not bad odds, but I am sure that there are more casualties that will be reported, before all of this is over. I don’t know where everyone lives, but here in Michigan, it is rather common to find a refrigerator and/or a chest freezer in the garage beyond what is normally found in the kitchen. I have been trying to stock it with some bubbles and an assortment of white wines, some of questionable age and some more recent.
The first wine that I pulled out of the refrigerator, I gave myself maybe fifty/fifty odds that the wine would be good, but I wasn’t going to throw it away with out going through the motions. All wines are worth a chance. I had a bottle of wine that I did not recognize, which is not an indication of anything per se, but it was Bodegas y Vinedos Artadi Orobio Viura Rioja Blanc DOC 2005. Bodegas Artadi is a wine estate in the Alavesa region of Rioja and their single vineyard El Pison 2004 received a perfect score from Robert Parker, but this was not that wine. Bodegas Artadi began as a co-operative of thirteen growers in 1985. The vineyards and winery were purchased by Juan Carlos Lopez de Lacalle in 1992, and he also owns estates in Alicante and Navarra. This wine is pure Viura the local name in Rioja for Macabeo, a very versatile grape that is found on both sides of the Pyrenees and is very popular in Spain and southern France. This grape is known for being quite impervious to oxidation, but from most reports that I have read it seems ten years is the life span and this wine was fifteen years old. Alas, it did not make it.
The second wine was one that I knew was just taking up space in the refrigerator and is the biggest selling Bordeaux wine in the world. Baron Philippe de Rothschild Mouton Cadet Bordeaux Blanc 1990, and evokes Philippe when he took over control of Mouton Rothschild as he was the youngest son, a cadet, and this new wine he started in 1930. It was originally a way to sell wine that did not meet the criteria of Mouton Rothschild and still a way to sell some wine. It proved so successful that he eventually began buying fruit from other vineyards in Pauillac, and a few years later from across Bordeaux. A white wine, Bordeaux Blanc, was introduced in the 1970’s and since 2004 the wine was structured to be more fruit forward with an eye towards the American Market. The wine is a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. I knew just by looking at the color of the wine in the bottle that this was a futile gesture on my part, but I proceeded. When I removed the foil cap, and started to insert the corkscrew into the cork, the cork actually started to slide into the bottle; by using my Durand, I carefully caught the worm of the screw into the cork and then used the Ah So two-part steel ribbons to extricate the cork which was ready to start crumbling. I poured some of the wine into a glass to take a photo and the nose alerted everyone in the room that this was not a wine to be even tasted and the glass and the bottle were both poured un-ceremonially down the drain. With a wine cellar, one has to take the good along with the bad at times.