I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week. I certainly did. And, as per usual, I brought a ton of wine to my parents’ house. It’s always fun to try new wines with the usual Thanksgiving setup of turkey (fried this year), stuffing, candied yams, corn on the cob and, of course, cranberry sauce (my mother favors the version that comes straight from the can, retaining that jelly-like cylindrical shape we have all seen at least once in our life). This year I brought Beaujolais, Oregon pinot noir, Austrian dry riesling, Pommard, Framboise Lambic (I suppose this is a product of the cranberry sauce) and finally a rose’ Champagne for after the feast. I only managed to open the Lambic and the Pommard during dinner (only my wife and I drink wine; the others stick to beer or iced tea). The Lambic worked marvelously and the Pommard was also fantastic. But we’ll get to that a little later down the line. Before I go into the wine I’d like to take a moment to briefly comment on this thing we call Pleasure.
I was reminded on the drive back from my parents’ house of a Thanksgiving I spent away from home, while in school. I was a sophmore at the University of Houston and living with four of the most insane, creative, intersting and intelligent devils I had ever met. We studied little and spent a great deal of time on the roof of our two story home in the Heights drinking, smoking and talking about just about anything. We would rage on until the early morning nearly every night of the week. Funny to think how, back then, it was nothing for me to take a Latin II exam at 9 am after having slept less than 2 hours the night before… and even passing it with a solid B. Anyhow, I digress. I was remembering that Thanksgiving the five of us spent in the house on Yale and 28th. To sum it up, we were all delegated specific Thanksgiving feast components to prepare. We were to eat at 6 pm and then nobody really had any plans save some football watching and some heavy slumbering. Well, the turkey was naturally destroyed by Tito’s inability to grasp the concept of time, Shafer’s yams were all but underdone (not even the blanket of marsmallows had begun to melt), Derek’s green bean caserole tasted and smelled exactly like burnt lion’s hair and James’ fresh-baked rolls, well, actually, I remember those as being pretty good. As for me, I was set in charge of the booze. I suppose I succeeded alright in this venture as it was the most largely consumed item of the entire meal. My roomates and I slurped down entire twelve packs of cheap beer by the half hour. We knocked back shot after shot of Jack Daniels and George Dickel. We killed a bottle of really cheap Mezcal (someone ate the worm so I guess there was a bit more protein in the mix) before sundown. We smoked cigars and various other things. James nearly killed himself falling off the porch after draining an entire jug of Carlo Rossi, “Chianti”. But, we really had fun. It was just totally decadent. Some girls who lived down the street came over and then some older guys from across the street came by and before 9 in the evening it seemed like there were 20 of us on the roof, laughing and dancing and just really going completely insane with fun. I awoke the next morning on the second floor balcony with a vision in my head of a large glass of water… it was glowing, nearly angelic in its glory. I stumbled downstairs, dragging an enormous, ponderous hangover behind me like a wet fur trenchcoat. I felt terrible. But, thinking back to the night before, even then, as I quickly drained several glasses of cool water from the tap in rapid succession, it was totally worth it.
Over the years, my friends and I moved away from one another (except for one, Shafer, who actually moved back to Texas after over a decade in New York City to open a bar with me), got married, had babies, got real jobs and basically settled down. I suppose this is why I thought about that crazy Dionysian “Thanksgiving Feast” with the guys back in school. The thing is, there is nothing wrong with going crazy every now and then. I mean, who the hell CAN’T go crazy at least once in a while!? And by “crazy” I don’t mean “crazy” like freak out and go shoot up an entire theater of innocent people watching the newest Batman (or is it Dark Knight?) movie. I mean “crazy” like fun crazy, like wild, unbridled pleasurable crazy. What I’m trying to say is that it’s good to let it all go every now and then. Enjoy life to the greatest extent possible. Don’t do it all the time, no, not every single night of your life. The key here is not to live life in a state of constant moderation of pleasure. That, to me, just sounds like boring mediocrity. No. Live your life well and be healthy. Do not constantly over drink or smoke all the time or dance on rooftops and forget to eat dinner… no, not all the time. However, now and then, say, once, maybe even twice a month, let it all go and forget about any and all constraints. Also, never do anything to dramatically hurt yourself or anyone else. But, by all means necessary and possible: have fun.
Now, onto the wine. The Burgundy I opened this Thanksgiving was one I took from the 13 celsius cellar. It had come in about 2 years ago and I was curious to see how it was drinking. Louis Latour, Pommard, Beaune, Cote-d’Or 2008. Really, this wine did not strike me as being portentious of greatness… but, one never really knows with Burgundy. Screw it! I grabbed it from the shelf, tucked it into a slot in thhe box already nearly filled with other bottles for Thanksgiving.
2008 was a fairly difficult year for the vigneron in Burgundy in general, with unpredictable weather. As a whole, the vintage isn’t considered great but I think the whites faired relatively well and the reds were mostly showing well in the immediate youth. As for this particular bottle, the nose comes off kind of lean and extremely subtle at first but expands to give aromas of black fruit and hints of anise. In the mouth the first thing to show is acid, and lots of it. With a little time in the glass it opens and does show fair fruit with some complexity. Mostly, however, this is a youthful wine enveloped in a cloak of acid, which, thankfully, does make it good for a large meal, but, I think it has passed its prime in terms of its full expression of flavor and aroma. Not a bad wine but certainly not the powerful, seductive Pommard I have grown to love.