Had some wine recently. (Gasp! Surprise!)
1997 Roc de Cambes. Supposedly some famous stuff from a minor French appelation done by some hot shit rock star garagiste. Picked this up for $28 at Trader Joe's a couple of years back, and man, I sure do more about wine now that I did back in 2000. For example, I can now verify that Robert Parker mostly talks out of his ass. Marcia, Dan's Mom, got me a copy of the brand new Parker buying guide for Christmas, and it's utter trash. A lot of useless information about now-dead wines you cannot possibly buy, and a lot of terrifically useless information (eg for good value California sparkling wine, buy Maison Deutz - earth to Parker, that winery went tits up back in 1999 or so; you couldn't buy it if you wanted to cuz TJ's blew out all remaining production for $10 a bottle). So. Parker seems to like this stuff, but the 97 was his lowest rated vintage.
Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Right. If you're going to buy a famous wine, especially if it's French, you really have to be prepared to start haemorrhaging money like crazy. If it's anything remotely within your budget (say, $28), it's because it's from a bad year (other vintages of this wine cost $50 and up). Remember, back in the Old World, wine varies a hell of a lot from year to year, unlike here in the New, where it's generally going to be OK. Finally, if it's something Parker likes, it's almost certainly going to be a ridiculously huge, oaky, fruit monstrosity with no interest whatsoever. The Roc de Cambes sucked donkey dick. It was just a big seething ball of something or other with no charm whatsoever. It didn't get better with air. It didn't go well with dinner. It had a weird sour finish. And I've had more interesting wines that cost me $3, not $28.
Also had an old bottle of Pacific Echo rosé scrounged from the cellar. It was old enough to still say Scharffenberger on the neck. It was... OK. Nothing fantastic. I still think Roederer Estate is the best I've had; their vintage rosé is the bomb.
Opened a bottle of some minor Sauternes, a 1998 Ch Ménota. After about a sip, this went down the sink. Bleah. You know what? Some of the very best wine I've ever had has been French (notably a mystery 1992 Madiran from the French equivalent of MacFrugal's), but nearly all of the worst wine I've ever had has been French. When it's bad, it's really bad. Looking through my cellar, I'm kind of relieved that there is very, very little French wine down there - and what there is should be known good (it's largely a few bottles of expensive Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Madiran, etc).
Finally, shortly before midnight, I figured what the hell, might as well open another bottle to empty out the fridge. The last bottle of cheap sparkling wine went, a NV Segura Viudas Reserva cava, $7 from BevMo. It was OK but kind of pointless. The last truly good sparkling wine I've had was a 1997 Pelorus, and a bottle of something else that I can't remember what it was with Julian.
It has just occured to me that this post sucks. Oh well. With any luck I'll get my writing chops back later on in the year. Right now, I'm going to go reheat the lamb roast from last night and serve it up with the dregs of the Roc de Cambes and see if it's better the second time around.