July 10, 2008


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Pair vintage with vintage
2006 Prius with a 2006 pinot grigio?
By Tim Protzman letters@hippopress.com

I was in my 40s when I first heard “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit.

Now some my age would find it shocking, irreverent. But I found it refreshing and clear. A true expression of the ennui and frustration we all go through in American Life. Not that there’s anything wrong with stress and the fast-paced life, as long as you’re happy. But the day-in, day-out routine sometimes wears a person down. That’s why there’s cable TV, evening strolls, picnics at the lake and wine.

Today one of the wine columns I regularly read was all about root beer. This says to me that even the best sometimes run out of things to say about wine.

I’ve been really wrapped up in wine. I’m working with a company that puts on car shows to have a wine and car fundraising. The idea is to pair a car, let’s say a 1957 Thunderbird, with a wine of that vintage, let’s say a 1957 Chateau Rauzan-Gassies. Then people would bid on the package and have the opportunity to win a chauffeured wine ride to a special event — the Opera, the Jackson covered bridge dance, a Limp Bizkit concert.

Personally, I’d like to take the 1932 Duesenberg Legrande Torpedo Phaeton to the grocery store. I’d pair it with a 1932 Chateau Latour. It would take me an hour just to get ready. The driving gloves and goggles. The leather cap. The Spiegelau Vino Grande wine glass, and maybe a scarf.

And the best part would be that it’s a two-seater, just me and the driver, so I’d have to drink the wine myself. The wine would be, well, less expensive than the 1927 or 1933 because the weather didn’t cooperate, but I bet anything that at 75 and a half it would be wonderful. And they say the 1924 Bordeaux vintages are still drinking great.

So the real work in this car show/charity fundraiser isn’t pairing the wines, it’s finding the wine to pair. So we’re going through a wine broker, which is just a fancy word for wine pimp. You tell him what you want and he finds the buyer, seller or both. Wine brokers have hundreds of contacts. They make their money much as a stockbroker would, on the commissions generated by the sale. They can work for the buyer (who pays the commission) or the seller (who pays the commission). The funky part is sometimes they work for both. They’ll represent a seller who wants a certain price for the wine and a buyer who wants a certain wine. Usually money isn’t relevant until the sale closes. Then the broker will collect a commission from both parties. And usually they are continents apart so they’ll never meet and say things like, “That rum-running broker collected a commission from her and me!”

As we get closer to the show date I’ll have more details, but getting people to donate wine is tough. But not impossible. Last night we arranged a harmonious marriage between a 1976 Gremlin and 1981 Seppelt Shiraz from Australia’s Barossa region that the owner shipped over himself.

Here are this week’s wines:
• GH Mumm Cordon Rouge Bru ($35.99) from Champagne. This wine was disappointing. It had that leaden finish of manufactured, not crafted, bubbly. The chardonnay was unruly, the Pinot Meunier mean and nasty like a spoiled cheerleader. And the Pinot Noir? Pinot…where did you go? Couldn’t taste ya. The wine opened up a little when the bubbles slowed down, but I would not buy this wine again.
• Carpene Malvolti Rose Prosecco ($12.99) I liked this one because of its simplicity. Two dimensions, nice finish, good fruit, great price. This Italian wine comes from Valdobbiadene, in Veneto, Italy, in the foothills of the Dolomite Alps. You can taste the limestone in the grapes.
• George Gardet Cuvee St Flavy from Chigny-les-Roses in Champagne ($39.99) A small house that doesn’t have a full Web site and is probably family-owned with a slew of cousins fighting for control. The juice is really good with a touch of residual sugar and a very crisp almost ethereal finish.
• 2001 Elvio Cogno Barolo ($35.44) Another little domain producer in Piemonte, Italy. This was a very sleek, elegant wine that came in a plain brown wrapper. Like a supermodel at a funeral, the wine wore a simple, unadorned black dress. No spice, no frills and a deep brandied fruit with chocolate taste.
• 2003 Chateau St Jean Cabernet Sauvignon ($17.99) It was nice to revisit this old friend. I had not tasted this wine in five years, but the 2003 was priced to move. No jam, no chemical fruit notes, no alcoholic after burn. Was it equal to a $50 Aussie shiraz? No, but it had all the characteristics of a higher-quality Californian table wine.

6/26/2008 Leftover wine

6/19/2008 Fortune favors Opus One
6/12/2008 In the year 2048
6/5/2008 Tea, the original infusion
5/29/2008 Hello old friends
5/22/2008 Ancient in the new world
5/15/2008 You are the expert
5/8/2008 The must-drink list
5/1/2008 Gaming wine futures
4/24/2008 Chronos and me
4/17/2008 Getting lucky
4/3/2008 The daquiri's of spring
3/27/2008 Germans play well with others
3/13/2008 Complain yourself happy
3/6/2008 Operatic wine tasting
2/28/2008 Everything must go!
2/21/2008 His & hers bottles
2/7/2008 Friends in spam
1/31/2008 Warm up the wine
1/24/2008 A drink to them
1/17/2008 Stalking the barking dingo
1/10/2008 Wishes and predictions
1/3/2008 Bit of bubbly
12/27/2007 Drinking blind
12/20/2007 Not fighting for the right
12/13/2007 The liquor store suite
11/29/2007 World of drinkin'
11/22/2007 Thanks for the Napa cabs
11/15/2007 Drinks with Diwali
11/8/2007 Candy Corn hangover
11/1/2007 Drinks with History Channel
10/25/2007 Schooled in Shiraz
10/18/2007 Spooky wines
10/11/2007 Location, location, location
10/04/2007 Shiraz history
9/27/2007 Ingenious appellation
9/20/2007 Small world of wines
9/13/2007 How not to get screwed
9/6/2007 Wine lover's shopping trip
8/30/2007 Bottle surfing
8/23/2007 Lobster goes red
8/16/2007 Emotional tasting notes
8/9/2007 Stop, wine thief
8/2/2007 Be your own sommelier
7/26/2007 You do know your wine
7/19/2007 Booze free association
7/12/2007 Raiders of the sidewalk
7/5/2007 A sustainable buzz
6/28/2007 We are the merlot
6/21/2007 Forgot Dad? Bring booze.
6/14/2007 Jack & Jill and a pail of wine
6/7/2007 Our lady of the Rioja
5/24/2007 Breaking the fast
5/17/2007 What the best bears drink
5/10/2007It's OK to be pink
5/3/2007 In praise of tastings
4/26/2007 Invention-tini
4/19/2007 More 'Mas'
4/12/2007 Futures in a bottle
3/29/2007 Uneasy glass of spring
3/22/2007 Chateau de blech
3/8/2007 Finding new beauties
3/1/2007 Infatuation or addiction
2/15/2007 The extraordinary ordinary
2/8/2007 A glass of sweetness
2/1/2007 A glass of sweetness
1/25/2007 Ham it up
1/18/2007 Cheating on wine
1/11/2007 Burning down the tree
1/4/2007 New Year's hangover
12/28/2006 Sins of the vine
12/21/2006 Kissing frogs
12/14/2006 Wine for horrible friends
12/07/2006 Like dregs in the wine glass
11/30/2006 Gift of calmer shopping
11/23/2006 YouTube for YouWine
11/16/2006 Welcome to wine
11/9/2006 Fine art, supermarket wine
11/2/2006 The geography of grapes
10/26/2006 Please continue to hold
10/19/2006 The trouble with reds
10/12/2006 Making new friends
10/05/2006 TiVo-ing the wine
09/28/2006 From an unknown battle
09/21/2006 Toast to turkey
09/14/2006 Wine for life
09/07/2006 What are Malpeques, Alex?
08/31/2006 Hanging out wines
08/24/2006 Falling into new wine season
08/17/2006 Where has that wine been?
08/10/2006 Bringing out the dead
08/03/2006 The birth of a wine fop
07/27/2006 Slow process of maturation
07/20/2006 The pain of adolescent wines
07/13/2006 Nice day for a white wedding
07/06/2006 Scoring goals with booze
06/29/2006 Beer, it's what's for dinner
06/22/2006 A drink fit for a czar
06/15/2006 A summer of beer and fried clams
06/08/2006 Keep your cool, fool
06/01/2006 The social lubricant
05/25/2006 Water, water everywhere
05/18/2006 Big fat greek wine tasting
05/11/2006 Drinking to the end
05/04/2006 Schooled in the art of wine
04/27/2006 Make a wish
04/20/2006 Immigrant wines
04/13/2006 A pain in the glass
04/06/2006 Got milk?
03/30/2006 Throw a dart and there's wine
03/23/2006 A life of good wine
03/16/2006 Honoring the dead soldiers
03/09/2006 What once was old i new again
03/02/2006 The taste of sibling rivalry
02/23/2006 Wine travels, doesn’t sing
From grape, to barrel to red-tape jungle

02/16/2006 Love and vine
02/09/2006 A dog-drink-dog world
02/02/2006 The winos' mecca
01/26/2006 Date-nite drinks
01/19/2006 Touring eastern wine country
01/12/2006 Wine, Cheese and Granny Smith
01/05/2006 Resolve to try new wines
10 Wines To Get Lucky With

Adventures in and past the Euro-Cave
A Do-It-Yourself Wine Tasting
A Red For Everything
A Red Wth Your Leftovers?
A Tasty Way To Put Wine To The Test
A Year Of Wine
An Around-The-World Holiday
A wine for every holiday

Basking In The Mondavi Light
Behind One Door Is Great Wine
Beware The Hot Bottle
Brandy and the nude beach
Champagne, The Other White Wine
Cheers And Whines Of The Vine
Days of wine and jelly beans
Deep in the heart of Texas
Drinking for your health
Drinking like a newspaperman

Drinking Whites After Labor Day
Finding A Great Medium-Weight Drink (I)
Finding A Great Medium Weight Drink (II)
Gifts for blood, love or money
Grill and sip, sip and sip. Finding the perfect wine for barbecue
Hey baby, stay cool
How The Corleones Saved Wine

In Praise Of An American Wine
In search of the girl next door
Keeping it in the family
Keeping up appearances
Looking back at the heyday of cheap wine
My Big Fat Greek Wine Tasting
The Best Drinks On A Budget
The Highly Drinkable (Mostly) Merlot
The Long, Strange Journey Of Wine
Old French grape in the New World
Olé! to a week in wine
Opening the Parker book

Our French friends — really
Our Northern Neighbor
Poker faces and wine

Presenting A New England Vodka
Presenting The Wines Of Spring
Rewarding Your Support Staff
Schooled In The Art Of Wine
Shopping for Wine Bargains

Sitting By The Fire And Dreaming Of Wine
Slipping A Little Sideways
Spending the holidays in NYC
Spirit World Tales
Springtime calls for wine and ice cream
Sudden ugly mood swings
The new face of fine wines
The wines of fall
Thinking ahead to the holidays
Time To Stay Frosty
Tipples for turkey day
TV worth drinking
What it means to miss N.O.
What To Drink When You Eat Wild
What's Your Wine Sign
White’s OK after Labor Day
Wine Between The Season
Wine for the NASCAR set
Wine is in at the Inn
Wine’ll make you crazy
Wine Works With Red Sauce