by Contributing Writer Steve Gross
It helps to have adventurous friends. Every few months, I have dinner and wine with a co-worker, Barbara. One of the great things about Barbara is that she’s wiling to follow up on the crazy ideas I come up with.
Recently, we were at Brix Wine Cellars, a local wine bar/restaurant with a good wine list. Barbara and I usually split the wine cost from the food cost, with one of us paying for each. On this occasion, it was Barbara’s turn to cover the wine, though I got to pick it (not a bad deal, huh?). All was well until I saw it – Chateau de Beaucastel.
This was the first time I’d seen this famous Rhone Valley red wine on a list. Based on what I’d read, I really wanted to try it, but there was one big problem – a $132 price tag.
I couldn’t really ask Barbara to foot the bill for my flight of fancy. So, I made this offer: we’d go 50-50 on the whole check. Because Barbara is a gamer, she agreed to the arrangement. Our choice was rewarded by a great experience with a very memorable wine.
As I said in my last post, I’d rather drink wine of great quality than more wine of less quality. My budget is not bottomless, but I’d rather splurge on one very fine bottle than simply have a lot of lesser wine to drink around the house. Having adventurous friends really helps.
So, here’s the skinny on the wine: every sip was a revelation. We tried the Chateau de Beaucastel with several cheeses and fruit. Every combination allowed the quality wine to show different elements of its character. Barbara and I savored every taste, and though the temperature dropped as we sat outside, the wine kept us warm and smiling as we watched the bottle drop inevitably toward emptiness.
Soon, we had only our memories of the wine, the conversation, and the experience, and it was time to head into the dusk. Great wines offer these memories, carrying us through until the next great bottle.