Friday, June 15, 2012

favourite wine

'What's your favourite wine?'

Not the best wine you've ever drunk, but your favourite. It's not as easy a question to answer. Or maybe I'm making it too complicated. Maybe you can answer it just fine and I'm over thinking it all. It wouldn't be the first time. For me, best wines are easy. I've got them categorised and everything, and can reel a list off counting by finger with very little effort. 

Favourite, to me, is different. A favourite wine is a bottle whose moment, or moments, pierce through the memory of palate, heart and mind. It may have been a revelation or a comfort, or both. It comes to be something that we consider defining as who to we are - not just wine, but food, music, art, movies, architecture. Often the story of how one particular thing becomes a favourite becomes one of the defining stories of our life. 

Again, maybe it's just me. It could be that I weigh down these moments with significance in hindsight, turning the odd moment into something far more than it has any right to be.

The first wine I tried from Freddie Mugnier was his 1997 Musigny. It was March 2003, and my flatmate at the time brought the bottle back from a trip to Beaujolais and Beaune. I cooked some lamb gigot chops from the farmer's market and decanted the bottle into my prized decanter (sadly broken a short time later). I didn't know anything about Mugnier and Musigny was almost as much a mystery. Andy paid €75 or something close to that for it, so we expected something good. What we got was something tremendous. The purity, elegance and precision of the wine blew me away. 

I spent the next seven months pestering the MD of our wine shop, demanding he find the importer and order vast quantities of every cuvée he could. It took awhile, but he did, and they stock those wines to this day. They're a bit pricier these days, sadly.

So that's my favourite wine. I love it. I wish I could afford to drink it more often.

Musigny 2000, JF Mugnier

Pale, translucent, rust with no orange. Bright to the core.

Bushels of cranberries, redcurrants, dried spice in bushes and some forest floor. Some cured, savoury notes come through with coaxing.

Bursting with crunchy, red, juicy fruit on the front side of the palate. It's no longer cranberries or redcurrants but cherries and cherry stones. There's a light dusting of cocoa that coats the cherries like leather. As it passes from the middle to the finish there's a soft heather note that slips into that perfumed, ephemeral dovetail.


Tasted with good friends on Greyfriars, 7 November 2011

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