A very fine wine | AspenTimes.com

A very fine wine

Roger Marolt

Using words to describe the circumstances that led to the occasion would be a waste. The “hows,” “whys,” and “whens” are not important.”What” is important, and that was me sitting at an elegant table with a fine meal, and an incredible vision of a single glass of 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac provided for my sole enjoyment.Not being a particular connoisseur, I had little idea of what lay in front of me. Being somewhat of a quick study, however, I absorbed a great deal in a short course.”Look at that color!” exclaimed one guest to my right. It was rich!”How about that bouquet?!” effused another to my left, head tilted, eyes rolled back in ecstasy. It was priceless!I swirled my full-bodied red, buried my nose in the glass’ opening, as the others had, and drew the aroma in deeply. It verily was more than I expected. Oh, so much more!If I should describe it, which I suppose is my reason for writing about it in the first place, I would say that it impressed me with the scent of an ancient vine loaded with newly ripened blood-red fruit, located on the shady side of a damp, centuries-old, mossy stone wall holding in place sandy soils that, in times past, yielded the buds of France’s first wines, mixing with a refreshing fragrance of an imminent late summer thunderstorm lingering over distant fields of hay waiting patiently for the harvest. There may have been a hint of black currant, too.Then, after an interminable interlude of anticipation – the first sip. I must admit, as incongruous as it sounds, I dreaded it. Everything was so perfect that the actual taste would surely be a let down. Reluctantly, I raised the glass to my lips. The now familiar aroma preceded the precious liquid by a moment and introduced it to my anxiously awaiting palate. Then, just like that, it was there.To call it a taste would be an unpardonable offense. It was a sensation! I felt its weight on my tongue. There was no warmth or coolness, not the slightest hint of the burn that fermentation inevitably brands upon juice. It was not buttery. That’s too crass. While that substance cruelly hardens the arteries, this could do nothing other than soften the heart. Silky might be appropriate except even that royal cloth implies a hint of inherit dryness that was nowhere present. Whatever, I knew immediately that I could bear not to watch this remarkable stem go dry.Other excellent wines were served that evening, all of them a delight and a pleasure to sample. But, after they came and went, the Rothschild remained at the table to keep us all good company. An occasional sip was stolen to keep her entertained, but nobody was eager to see this most pleasant guest take her leave from the festivities.Long after the dessert plates were cleared and conversational topics several times recycled, but a few precious sips remained. Well into the wee hours when the most obsequious waiter barely stifled a yawn, it was apparent that we could prolong the evening no longer. I tilted my glass one last time and the remaining drops rolled across my taste buds and into my very blood. A few tears were expelled from my eye to make room.On the drive home, I drifted to and from that place where the holy nectar had invited me. The fresh memories and impressions of the Rothschild kept me good company on the long ride back to my hotel in the cold and unfamiliar city.The next morning dawned drear and painful. The fairy tale was over. While I slept, my Rothschild had abandoned me ever so completely, leaving my mouth parched and throat dry for want of more. The heart ached, but not so nearly as much the head pounded over the realization of my loss. That life must continue on was in serious doubt. Yet, after awhile I found the strength to make my way back out into the world and down to the hotel restaurant.I took in a large gulp of the steaming hot, muddy brown coffee poured in front of me. Its familiar bitter taste insulted my senses. Acid instantly inflamed my esophagus. Its base stimulants jolted my consciousness. It had the effect of relegating the previous evening to nothing more than a memory that may not be visited again for a very long time.Soon, however, I was feeling much better.The extraordinary ultimately leaves Roger Marolt feeling out of sorts, but the ordinary eventually makes him feel good. It’s all good at roger@maroltllp.com