guest post

Back to the beginning…

This is a guest post from friend John McClung, Real Estate Agent by day, wine lover by night. You can follow him on Twitter @johndmcclung.

I had a great bottle of wine the other night. Almost tweeted about it, but it was too special. Let me explain:

My first taste of a wine that was not pink, Portuguese, and known more for the shape of the bottle than the wine, was a shipper label, Bordeaux made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. For me, this wine was different, plenty of fruit, and was dry and complex enough to show that a wine can be more than just grape juice or tannins with alcohol.

I quickly went back to the liquor store, but they were out and wouldn’t be getting any more. I searched other liquor stores and no one had it. I guess that was to be expected, after all, wine was not on the minds of America in 1978, and particularly not in Lexington, Ky a college town devoted to Bourbon and beer at the time.

This lead to what turned out to be a 2 and a half year quest to find a wine with  similar flavor and complexity. In the meantime I discovered that wines produced in California, could be labeled Cabernet Sauvignon and have up to 25% other grape varieties, and though I detected some that were similar to what I was looking for the quest lived on. I tried other types of wines and I tried as many Bordeaux as I could afford including Chateau Cantenac-Brown, which became a favorite for special occasions.

Eventually I found a wine that was similar in flavor, bigger and complex. It had the cherry, and plum, tobacco, earth and a touch of brown spice complimented by vanilla from the oak. Unlike most serious California wines of 1981, it was not called by the grape name, but rather had it’s own proprietary name of Marlstone. Finally an affordable, (at that time compared to Bordeaux) wine worth drinking.

So, it was not a shock, when I opened a 1995 bottle that had great red color and no brown edges and excellent depth of flavor including the cherry, plum and a hint of tobacco. The body might have been a little thin, but otherwise this 15 year old wine was tremendous. I look forward to the other bottle sitting there waiting for what now should be a special occasion, you know, like wine time.

Be great!

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