A gathering approached. The risk of using some of our personal wines was nigh; some being precious and beloved, some being more of the experimental sort. Serving either one of those options to a large crowd of heavy drinkers, talkers, or beer drinkers was a disconcerting nag on the mind. To the wine (read: Utah state monopoly) store!–which is never a bad option, really, more like a solution to any of life’s probable disenchantments.
The wine buying aim, as is our social status quo, was cheap yet noteworthy. Yes, yes, I know; having to guest a sizable, fastidious grouping of philosophers and artists alike we could simply distribute tall glasses of Fish Eye, Yellow Tail, or generic guzzler from California No. 9–only geeks talk about wine at length. But what genial hosts could we possibly be with such low standards? Horrid hosts we’d be, I tell you. Not to sound too pretentious here, for all wines have their time and place (why bicker?). Besides, it’s not all about class or quality, but more about information about quality, studious wines that everyone can easily buy. Great wines deserve to be bought en mass and drunken enthusiastically…
Well, there is uncle Martin. He cares not for what alcoholic beverage sloshes down his gullet. You see, he has no taste buds–apparently loosing them one horrific incident on a Christmas evening that somehow involved Petrón, Everclear and burning flame from a Bic lighter. The details are sketchy, but that’s hardly necessary to understanding the outcome. So to Uncle Marty: sorry, but we do reserve our “best of” from you.
A notable wine blogger, Mike Steinberger, once wrote a streak of blog posts concerning ethics in the wine world. In the first “The Wine Ethicist” article, 12-7-2011, Steinberger posed the question of (is it ethical to be) harboring your best bottles away from guests during a party. More specifically, when opening one of your finest bottles should you conceal it, and open a separate, poorer quality wine for the guests that are ill acquainted with the subtleties of wine? Or should you feel obliged to split evenly with the entire group? It’s a hefty question; one that makes me feel a little ill. On my right shoulder sits the proper Aphrodite, telling me to share the wealth and leave no imbiber behind, on the other shoulder sits Ariadne, wife of Dionysus, telling me with a terse and cold ingenious lucidity to remove the “friend” factor from the equation. I’ve always been partial to Aphrodite.
Ruffino Italia Chianti, 2010 – $12
– Dark, but thinning ear the edge. Has a brown glisten.
– On the nose, a perfume of dark forest floor, old book and nondescript plum: all reminiscent of a drenched, sunny valley after a torrential rain storm. A little musty, but nice enough.
– Lightly sweet and a flutter of smoke. The forest floor comes through with an earthy under bite. A perfect balance of tannin and linger. Nothing is fantastically nuanced, nor does anything really reveal itself, but what you get is a consistent finish and static, but exhaustively pleasing, linger. An antediluvian undertone. It’s rock-steady, safe and enduring for its price.
Overall: Worthy. It may not be indicative of the finest of Chianti, but the classic motifs are all there, without being in your face about it. Like Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” the Ruffino is hotly entertaining, even brave and adventurous at times, while not always delivering the most sensations or compelling of thrills; it’s safe, reliable and easily recommendable.
Quote of The Evening:
Sake! Sake? Sake can’t be white. What are you trying to do? Kill me, for hell’s sake?