First off, in my last blog I told you that I would tell you of my all time favorite wine (at least up to this point) and so I shall. I say to this point because as ever changing as wine is, you never really know what might come along in the future. I might also add, and as I have mentioned before, that experiencing wine can be affected as much by the wine as where, when or who might be involved as well. So here goes....
The stage is set, it is the night of my last birthday. Not that it's the last birthday I'm having, although that has crossed my mind given my age, but that it was just my birthday before the one approaching. Clear as mud, right? So I decide to partake of one of my favorite meals, this is the part where all you non-meat eating folks may want to skip, a big juicy Prime Rib. There are lots of places I could go, but I choose my favorite, Wildfire in Oak Brook. It's a Friday night and all is right with the universe. My kids called me to wish me Happy Birthday, I have such great children, and family and friends have done so as well. I am gearing up for my first ever Don's Birthday Picks Wine Tasting at the wine shop the next day. I get very excited about my tastings as I do pour my heart (as well as wine) into the events and always want to bring, what I feel, is some truly excellent wines. But I digress.
While I know that there are probably many great wines on Wildfire's wine list, I just knew that this time the wine had to be special. I perused my wine cellar, looking for just the right wine. A name hits me. Staglin. I remember this wine from a tasting I attended many years ago and also remembered how truly decadent the wine was then. Perfect choice. As a little background, Robert Parker gave this wine 94 points back in 2004. He later, in 2013, re-rated the wine at 97 points. I see that this IS the wine for this moment.
So off I go. Wine in hand and salivating about that big piece of Prime Rib (again, non-meat eaters forgive me). I get to the restaurant, am seated at a very nice table and ask my server to open and decant my wine, which she does. Well, with one minor issue. The cork crumbles. I think to myself, this can't be happening. My perfect wine for the perfect occasion might be ruined. But I get myself under control and tell the server that as I am in the business and it's my wine, that I will work on getting the remaining cork out of the bottle that she shouldn't concern herself. A few minutes later, and help with the cork from an As Ho cork remover, I expunge the cork and can now get down to business.
Now keep in mind; Birthday, calls from friend, family and kids, excitement about tasting the next day and I just placed my order for that big slab of meat (sorry one last time). Wine gets poured into my glass, I swirl the wine releasing a burst of aromas too difficult to fully describe. I check the wine's color, a deep red mahogany, perfect again. I almost don't want to drink it thinking "can the wine really be as good as the expectation?" I've come this far, no time to be timid. Raising the glass I take my first sip. Wait for it...(I think I've used that one before)... Nirvana
I wait and wait for the taste to dissipate, but it lingers for what seems like hours (okay that's an exaggeration for effect). It's that long lingering finish that allows me to rest my glass and just sit there thinking about all the nuances that I am getting from the wine. But rather than trying to describe them, I'm just going to allow them to attack my senses from every angle and just enjoy.
At this point, if the evening ended, I would have been a happy camper. BUT! The next thing introduced is the perfectly cooked, perfectly flavored Prime Rib. A little Au jus a little horseradish sauce I think there was a veggie of some sort but it kinda gets lost with everything else on the table. Now I could probably give you a bite by bite story, but in the interest of wrapping this up, I'll just say that the evening concluded with nothing left on my plate, and I am aware of gluttony, and the whole bottle consumed, or should I say relished. Better yet, it all gets paid for with my frequent diner points I've accumulated. Don't worry, I tipped my server very well.
Why do I bring this up at this time? Well, I'll tell you (did you think I wouldn't)? About a month or so ago I was offered a very limited amount of the 2012 Staglin Cabernet. For reference, Robert Parker gave it 95 to 98 Points. Not bad eh? That got me thinking about my last contact with the wine and my wish to share with you my experience.
Now, not that all of you are going to contact me and ask me to get you bottle, but at this point, the few bottles I did get have all been reserved and spoken for. I really dislike when I'm sold something, only to find out it's not available. (That's going to be my next blog about my experience at a wine release party recently where that happened to me) I guess if you're really interested, you can let me know and I can see if I can get more. I guess I might mention that this is not an inexpensive wine. $200 was what I was charging. For those of you that have ever asked, "Is any wine worth that kind of money?" My answer, at least in this case, was a resounding "YES!"
Stay tuned as my next birthday is just around the corner as is my next Don's Birthday Picks Tasting. This year the tasting IS ON my birthday, so it'll be a lot of fun. I am even having my daughter with me to help pour (and drink) the wines.
There you go. My Favorite Wine.