What to keep and what to drag to the curb
By Tim Protzman email@example.com
I’m getting a new downstairs neighbor. I liked the last ones because they never complained about my busy entertainment schedule. The only thing I didn’t like about them was that they never brought the empty trash cans back in on garbage day. And when they moved out they left a heap of stuff behind.
Two neighbors ago I got a lot of stuff that was left over from a tag sale they held right before they moved. They were very nice and from San Jose. They introduced me to the wines of Truchard Vineyards. They had a great Pinot Noir on the Napa Dinner Train. I found it in the store and shared a bottle with them. They gave me an answering machine. It still had a message on it. The newlywed wife had left a “love message.” It was sweet, but it sounded like dialogue from a Warner Brothers’ cartoon.
“Oh, you big strong hunk of man.”
“I could just kiss and kiss you.”
Nothing too descriptive, but not for family dinner, either. I played that PG-rated tape to all my friends.
They too left a bunch of stuff behind, but at the curb, so I didn’t have to drag it out.
I don’t know about your neighborhood, but in mine, salvaging stuff from other people’s trash is OK. The Truchard Pinot-drinking, sexy answering machine message-leaving newlywed couple left some odd things. A hydro-sonic foot bath (seems like every house in America has one of these, and they’ve all never been used), two lamps, a headboard for a bed and a medicine cabinet. The trash pickers went wild. Everything was gone long before the garbage men came. The only thing left was the contents of the medicine cabinet. Nail clippers, cortisone cream, an industrial-sized bottle of aspirin and three prescriptions for Valium, all expired. I sealed everything in a trash bag, except the least-expired tranquilizers (you never can tell when a case of the nerves might hit), and stuffed it under a Jansport backpack that was all ripped and the zippers didn’t work.
Last night I went to take the trash out and was confronted by a mountain of junk. A foot bath, a shelving unit, a broken vacuum, a heater fan that blew warm in the winter and doubled as a regular fan in hot weather.
I dragged everything to the curb. The only thing I salvaged was a pack of razor blades. It was in a box of bathroom things. But I did find an empty wine bottle. The last neighbors were also newlyweds, and they spent their honeymoon in Tuscany. They shared some wine with me once or twice, but mostly stuck with themselves. But I was fascinated by the empty bottle.
2001 Pietranera Brunello di Montalcino. Jancis Robinson says the wine was over the top in terms of oakiness, ripeness and its similarity to wine from California, Australia, Chile and some of the lesser Bordeauxs. I wonder if this is a scandal wine. Could it be that some cabernet sauvignon or syrah was intentionally placed in the wine, totally in violation of the Denomination of Origin Control and Guaranty (DOCG), which mandates which grapes are used in what wine?
The scandal didn’t involve bad wine; it involved unsanctioned grapes getting into wine that by law should not have those varietals in it. Brunello di Montalcino should be 100 percent Sangiovese grapes.
Here are some nice Brunello di Montalcino producers available in local stores: Altesino, Angelini, Antinori, Banfi, Brizio, Carpineto, Col D’Orcia, Fanti, Fontevecchia, Frescobaldi, Nardi, Poggione, and San Polo. I can’t be sure they’re all 100 percent Sangiovese, but they do taste good.
Before I get to the wines I tasted this week here’s another wine I didn’t taste. I was reading a personal account of the San Francisco earthquake and the gentleman who was recounting the story of being shaken out of bed, going downtown only to be turned back by fire, heading home to the Mission District only to encounter waves of flames and grabbing a few things from his house — clothes, a pistol, gold coins and a bottle of 1868 Johannisberger Schloss reisling.
Johannisberger Schloss is a 900-year-old vineyard outside of Mainz, across the Rhine from Ingelheim. The wines are among the finest produced in Germany’s Rheingau region. And the earthquake gentleman drank it as he watched Nob Hill burn. He said it tasted smoky but refreshing.
Here’s the wine I drank this week — my Champagne kick continues:
Lanson Black label non-vintage, $32.50 The House of Lanson dates back to 1760 and only declares a vintage (a banner year) when the optimal growing, harvest, fermenting and bottle conditions occur. Lanson vintages since 1900 are 1904, 1921, 1937, 1947, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1969, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1988, 1990, 1995, and 1996. Nice, with a sweet start of grape juice followed by a hint of Juicy Fruit gum and a quick finish with no bad aftertaste.
Taittinger, $39.99 Yummy. A subdued start with crisp juicy flavors of rose water, apricot and passion fruit followed by the crispest beer-like carbonation with a honeysuckle finish.
2003 Damilano Lecinquevigne Barolo, $42.89 This one needed a few more years, but the licorice, tobacco and violet grace notes come through. The Lecinquevigne means grapes from five vineyards.
2003 Chateau Grand Ormeau Lalanade-de-Pomerol, $29.99 This was my favorite red of the week. Balanced, structured and layered. Plum, cassis, endive and a bit of bitter chocolate.
2005 Haute Cotes de Nuits Domaine Michel Gros, $24.49 I wanted a traditional Burgundy and this, my second-favorite red of the week, fit the bill perfectly. There was gentle fruit, a rich finish and none of that jammy manipulated taste.