Swallowed: ’52 Burgundy & ’82 Rioja


Opening a 1952 anything should be a pretty special treat. Unfortunately, after opening two bottles of 1952 Joseph Drouhin Clos Vougeot, one as an experiement and one with very high hopes for greatness, we were left pretty dejected. Gold amber colors and subtle yet slightly captivating smells only served to mask what has become a lifeless, completely dead wine.

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Jeff Berger: Supertaster


Apparently I’m a Supertaster. For those that aren’t familiar, Supertasters are people with heightened and/or additional taste buds, and are able to detect flavors other’s can’t. Don’t worry too much about it, apparently it’s mostly stuff in the ‘tastes terrible’ column. I don’t think there’s any transcendental truffle-foie gras-sauternes-ice cream that only I can taste.

I took a little test I grabbed online here, which I’m guessing was a small solution of propylthiouracil soaked onto a small piece of paper (thank you Wikipedia). Put the paper on my tongue, and it tasted downright terrible. Like licking the inside barrel of a recently fired pistol, making out with a 12 day old corpse, and eating vegemite all at once. Metalic, chemical, downright putrid. The taste wouldn’t cease either, even after gargling with some cream, eating some eggs, some jello, and waiting a couple hours (it did subside a bit, but it hung around like crazy.

I did the only logical thing I could think of, I immediately woke my wife and made her take the test. She groggily threw the paper on her tongue, resigned to being woken up from an afternoon slumber by a frantic husband insisting she put paper in her mouth. I’ve conditioned her well.

After a few seconds, she just stared at me. “It tastes like…   paper?” She couldn’t taste a thing. For years we have had a passive aggressive war going on in the kitchen. She spices her food with the blind fury of a sadomasochistic salt lick rolling in a field of hot peppers and onions (cajun) whereas I cook things in an understated, delicate, refined fashion (bland). Now I have an excuse.

Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry for not eating anything but combinations of meat, cheese, bread and tomatoes for the first 18 or so years of my life. Apparently as a Supertaster things like spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage were far too overwhelming for my pallet (it wasn’t your cooking, I swear. Seriously).

I’m not entirely sure this is a good thing or not as far as wine tasting goes. In one regard I guess I taste more components of a wine that many other people. But in general all that extra tasting falls into the bitter/poison identification category so I’m worried that wines other people enjoy with ease will turn to ash in my mouth. I hope it means a heightened sensation of tasting vs other people (can’t really jump into someone else’s skin and try their tongue out). Simply based on my wife’s penchant for loving to drink nearly any wine I put in front of her (except older wine curiously enough), I’m going to extrapolate that I do indeed taste a myriad rainbow of flavors in that small glass of port that others do not perceive. I’ll try and convey them as best I can. I guess the pressure is on.


Review: 2003 Gravner Breg

Tasked with presenting an ‘interesting or unique’ wine to my grandfather, I settled on the 2003 Gravner Breg. This was my first foray into ‘natural’ wines, which in essence are wines made like they were 2000 years ago in roman days (and possibly even earlier, ala the ancient middle east). This wine was made up of 4 different white grapes, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio, all mashed up together and thrown into a clay anfore (a kind of clay pot) lined with beeswax. Initial maceration is done for 6 months, then the grapes are pressed and transfered to giant oak casks. No added yeast, only natural yeast. Racked once a year. The wine is orange.

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Review: 1945 Richebourg

I received this bottle from my grandfather as a gift. He was under the assumption that it “was probably cooked.” The label says ‘Gabriel Corrol Richebourg’ and then in small print it lists Gabriel Corrol as the Negociant. Not sure who made the wine, all I know is it’s war wine, and from Richebourg. Delicious Grand Cru Burgundy. I’m glad he has a few more still.

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Cellaring Wine Is Scary

Wine is a finite resource for me, because there’s only so much of it I can afford. I tend to lean towards collecting what I hope will be really great bottles and opening them after they’ve resolved themselves and come into their magnificent prime. I find myself walking slowly past my wine, brow furrowed, arms crossed, trying to will the bottles to be ready to drink. When a good friend shows up and I want to share one of my great bottles, I often can’t bring myself to do it. If I wait a bit longer, it’ll get even better. I anxiously wait, week after week for the perfect day. But when the hell is that?

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Wine is Art


Rating wine is a difficult proposition. At it’s essence, there’s basically varying degrees of two categories – good and bad. 85-100 points can give you an idea of how good a wine is, maybe how well it’s made for that varietal, that vintage, that region. A small description and a guess at it’s potential can tell you about it, but is gratuitous literary license and 15 numbers the right way to convey what’s in that glass bottle? Maybe it’s time we concede that wine is art.

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