I will eat »Salsicce e fagioli« tonight – a kind of rustic bean dish with spicy Italian sausages. And while I’m going to cook, Pavarotti’s »Nessun dorma« will annoy my neighbors at least once. To get into the perfect enjoyment of this song, I have to turn the volume control up to the maximum. That’s the way it is. After all, the volume will put the song in the right context: »Nobody sleeps …«
And while Pavarotti will sing and I will cook, I will inevitably remember an evening in February 1997 when I was allowed to drink a truly sensational wine – one of the best, I ever had in my glass. A sudden memory? No! I want to tell you about it…
& A MAN NAMED PAUL, WHOSE NAME NOT IN FACT IS PAUL…
There are really days, in which I try to tidy up my mess. The cellar, the storeroom or any moving box I had forgotten – no matter! Usually on these days I always get the realization: »Damn Wenzel, you really keep any crap!«
SURPRISE… THE SUDDEN FINDING OF A WINE & DINE DIARY
However, at my last tidy-up day some time ago, I found an old notebook in the style of a »Wine & Dine Diary«. While turning the pages, I detected several one, that documented an evening in February ’97, which I spent with my good friend Paul, whose real name in any case is not Paul. I just call him Paul, because I do not want to say his real name. I’m not sure if he’s happy about telling old stories about him and me. For many years now, we are just »acquaintances« and no real friends – as close friends as before. Somehow a pity…
Anyway, I read the pages and suddenly I remembered as if it had been yesterday. It was one of those familiar evenings. We met spontaneously to cook together and to drink a bit of wine – nothing extraordinary but as always good. After our meal – of course we had »salsicce e fagioli« at that time –, we sat comfortably in the kitchen and, of course, we also listened to Pavarotti’s »Nessun dorma«.
HOVERING TO OUTER LIMITS OF WINE INTELLIGENCE
Suddenly Paul disappeared somewhere for a few minutes. After returning, he placed a filled decanter suspiciously on the table. At that time, it was quite common to give a »blind-tasting« to a friend and it was an exciting pleasure with learning effect. But that felt different. Paul rigorously ordered me, to just enjoy »the stuff« without thinking complicated. »And please, without the typical wine tasting chatter«.
A FAIRYLAND FOR ADULTS WITH WINE ENTHUSIASM
Already after the first impression of the magnificent smell, I thought I knew that the wine would not only be a good wine but a great wine. And after the first sip and a moment of deep thought I finally sank into a kind of fairyland for adults with wine enthusiasm. A quick look at Paul. With closed eyes and the glass under his nose, it seemed as if he were hovering at outer limits of wine intelligence, in other spheres – in Bordeaux spheres, to be exact. Because we had a Bordeaux in the glass. And what a great Bordeaux! With a tranquil voice but without whispering Paul said: »Château Mouton… Mouton Rothschild! Sixty-one…« Honestly, this wine does not have to be said in a whisper. I myself tried to stifle a scream.
It was not necessary at all to seal our friendship with the gift of such a wine at the time, but Paul definitely has set a sign and another milestone in our friendship. Killing a whole bottle of Mouton ’61 just for two, is already a onetime story for me. These are fairly divided – the bottle had fortunately only a little shrinkage – 375 centiliter pure experience per throat – more than just a mouth full!
There are really days, in which I ask myself, why we’re not such close friends anymore. Paul and me…
THE VINTAGE ’61
EVELYNE BARDINET-BOURDEX ABOUT THE WINE
This wine truly belongs to the unforgotten ones. I was interested in what the winery itself says about its 1961 vintage. I have requested via e-mail and Evelyne Bardinet-Bourdex [Direction Commerciale Châteaux] kindly sent me a short description.
CLIMATIC, CONDITIONS & HARVEST
Winter and spring were mild, with average rainfall.
The vegetation cycle started rapidly on 5 March. Flowering began early, on 15 May, but lasted over a month, ending on 20 June.
In a warm and dry summer, veraison began on 25 July. The crop was able to mature in remarkable conditions, producing small, very ripe grapes with very thick skins.
Picking began on 2 October and ended on 13 October. A relatively small quantity of premium wine was made.
Illustration of the label Georges Mathieu [1921-2012]
A deep red, the wine has a flowery, intense, velvet nose. A great vintage, it combines grace with power, opening with a remarkable attack, very full-bodied and heavy. Powerful, concentrated, rich and creamy on the palate, it expands in a festival of fruit: blackberry, blackcurrant, redcurrant, raspberry and more.
It is a wine now absolutely at its peak.
A good time for everyone out there!
And what will you eat & drink tonight?