Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ae Fond Sip...Remembering a Fine Wine

I'm not highly educated in the making of wine or even in the fine art of describing how a wine tastes. I leave those things to well-educated and seasoned friends who can help me in a pinch.

Richard Peck is one such friend. He is a Certified Wine Educator (Society of Wine Educators) and Certified Sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers), a fine writer and heads up the Greenville (SC) Wine Meetup group, among other things. He also has a great blog called Vine and Grape, which is an online gathering place for friends of Table 301 restaurant group and the wine-lovers of Greenville, South Carolina.

Richard introduced me to the wine meetup group and to some mighty fine wine at a recent tasting with Bartholomew Broadbent, a rock star of the wine world. He was down to earth, entertaining and brought with him some outstanding wines. That evening, my husband and I purchased a dozen or so bottles. One, and sadly only ONE, of those bottles was a 20-year-old tawny port. Here's a photo...of the empty bottle.

This bottle was shared with two friends. It was a wonderful evening: a simple roasted chicken and salad dinner, stories, music...typical good evening with good friends. Then came the drinking of the port.

For those who are not wine lovers, imagine this evening as a wonderful late night of sitting by a campfire singing songs and having great conversation with friends.

We had salted macadamia nuts, gruyerre, fig preserves and a hearty and rustic whole grain bread slathered with mascarpone cheese to enjoy with the port. The music of Leonard Cohen was playing in the background--it really was one of those perfect memories that builds itself. There's nothing that you can add to it. You cannot predict it. You cannot plan it--it just makes itself. And, of course, the shining star of this perfect memory with friends was the lovely port.

My husband and I thought, hey, we'll share this with Peggy and Clyde (the friends) now, and invited them back next week, when we can enjoy the rest. That's just not going to happen. We enjoyed every last drop of port on the same evening.

Robert Burns tells us

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!

Alas, ae fond sip... and now we have the memory of it, instead of the taste of it.

Long live the memory!
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If you have an interest in purchasing a bottle of this outstanding port, I'm sure that Richard Peck can steer you to an appropriate supplier. You can reach him via the e-mailing feature for the wine meetup group.

© 2010 Despina Panagakos Yeargin