Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.
Robert Mondavi

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Welcome to my wine world!

As published on 9/23 in the Nashua Telegraph (click link to view Telegraph version).

When I first proposed writing a wine column to the Telegraph, I did so for a few reasons.

First, as a restaurant/personal wine consultant, I hold a firm belief that wine has a way of elevating life's special moments. This belief may sound overly romanticized, but hear me out.

Have you ever had people over for dinner, or gone out to dinner with someone special or a group of friends? Of course you have. Now have you noticed how those same occasions are noticeably different when a nice bottle of wine is served?

Catch my drift?

Wine has special qualities that elevate a family meal into a feast or a chat around the table into a brainstorming session about fulfilling your dreams.

The second reason is to counteract what I have experienced from the beginning of my own wine journey. Wine has been the object of some very pretentious people who make it far too complicated. My goal is to show you that wine is simply wine – and it is meant to be enjoyed by all. The appropriate level of involvement is up to you. Never let anyone who thinks he or she knows more about wine make you feel inferior for not knowing!

Finally, there are truly special things going on in our neck of the woods regarding wine. My intent is to introduce, or re-introduce, you to local wine-related gems and review some of the restaurant wine experiences available in the area. No need to worry, restaurateurs! (Well, no need to worry if you offer a good experience for your patrons.) I will also be sharing my perspective on goings-on in the wine world, including some delicious and not-so-delicious reviews of readily available wines. I will also be offering practical advice for those who appreciate and/or collect wine.

Let me begin by offering the review of a wonderful wine that I recently enjoyed: 2006 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon - $44.

Domaine Drouhin has a very rich background. It is the product of the expansion of French wine houses into the new world. Maison Joseph Drouhin, of Beaune, France, had been producing celebrated pinot noir since the 1880s. In 1987, it sought to pursue its own expansion when it purchased 225 acres of what was then a Christmas-tree farm.

The 2006 Domaine Drouhin is one of my favorite pinot noirs. The aroma is of beautiful rich cherry that is mirrored on the palate along with a hint of spice. The tannins are noticeable; however, they are well integrated and somewhat delicate. This is a very thoughtfully made, well-crafted wine that is confident in structure and complexity. It is very much a Burgundy-styled Pinot Noir.

Wine ratings issued by a reputable publication serve as a barometer of the quality. As you will find out, I don't normally fall in line with the Wine Spectator reviews a majority of the time. I feel they are tightwads in some instances, but then again, it is only one person's rating/analysis. WS gave it a 90 for the 2006 vintage, and I almost feel slighted for them! This wine is very comfortably a 92 pointer – 90-94 points indicate a great wine – and I think this will only get better with time. Wine & Spirits gave the DD a 93. I think this illustrates that ratings are highly personal! I hope you have a chance to enjoy this terrific wine.

All of the wines featured in ongoing reviews are readily available at the New Hampshire Liquor Store off Exit 6 behind the Nashua Mall.

Until next time, cheers!

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