Working The Bottle To The Bitter End

Highlighting one wine this time: The Château de la Charriére Beaune 1er Cru Clos Des Vignes Franches. A 2011. It’s one of these rare wines that comes across my way that doesn’t drain my soul. Meaning it’s relatively inexpensive. And delicious from end to end –– this is something we will touch upon in a moment.

For, I have a problem with my frugality. What’s the problem? If I spend over thirty dollars a bottle, my knees shake and I feel much too woozy, like a diabetic running a Cookmarathon. I wish I could say I was exaggerating. I’ll blame my parents for indoctrinating me with the simple equation I’ve come to know well: Money Spent = Sin/Devastation/Sadism/Masochism/Deviancy. Oh, and I won’t even go into my state of mind when I buy organic food (!).

And organic wine? Are you mad? I can hear my mother fainting from two states away. And there. What’s that sound? Why yes, that is the cry of my grandmother in her grave craggily imploring me to “stop that right this very instant! Do you know what you can be doing with that money? Do you?”

A personal psychoanalysis aside, there are some lip-smacking, bright and simply gorgeous wines to be had at terrific tariffs. The ’11 Charriére carried its weight well, being scrumptious from beginning to end.

Now, many (okay, all) wines evolve as the night unfolds. Some start off quite happy only to turn dark and brooding after a few hours. Others are harsh, exhibiting an acidic rush, only to loose it all and feel hallow and sugar-laden thereafter.

Eric Asimov is at it again –– showing everyone up in the wine writing world, causing us to question why we even try to begin with. He’s crafted a wine drinking course, of sorts, that he hopes many will participate via a thread on the New York Times website. The idea is everyone will buy one or more of his recommendations and then log in to elucidate on just how they experience said wine.

Sure, it’s a great idea; after all, there’s never been a discussion online where disagreements end poorly, or with verbose hatred clearly defined in ALL CAPS. I suspect everyone’s opinions about how they experience wine will be treated with declaration and the utmost respect.

What’s intriguing to me about wine is that it evolves. Mr. Asimov points this out well enough. The most keen of us pick up on it. Others don’t give two hoots in hell. But if you choose to ignore, I’d argue, you are missing half of the fun. Wine is a very temporal experience. It’s all over the place, a very tumultuous fire child; it’s what The Animals were really signing about with their cult-ish and youthful lust cull, “Wild Thing.” (Challenge me if you will on that assumption).

With the grand majority of the wines we purchase, most open life a fire bomb and fizzle out just as quickly. It’s the new thang of the wine world, am I right? You open, say a Shiraz, and it has this way of screaming in your face. You are enraptured by it at first, but then find out you’re too old too keep up with it and you leave it by the wayside. They’re damn exhausting.

A good wine works when you open it. It works when you’ve come to the middle of it. And it works at the end of it. A good wine makes you want to open another. A good wine dares you to miss it. Greater wines do the same, but challenge your intellect in the process. A wine with god-like muscularity does all of the bellow, but seems utterly bonded to its dichotomies. Great things push and pull you. They should never bore you. Rather, they engage you. We seek out these wines for the same reason we seek out anything else in our lives.

God. I’m a wino.

This would also send my grandmother flopping around her grave.With respect, of course.

2011 Château de la Charrière Beaune 1er Cru Vignes Franches – $27
A solid, grounded sort of nose. Firm, lovely. And long draw of elegance.
Silky-smooth butter over the tongue. A good tannic base with a balanced mild fruit. Lip smacking and inviting. Very enjoyable. A terrific pinot that begs you to keep going.
Worthy. Very Worthy.