Saturday, November 28, 2009

Secret Sip

Secret Sip is a wine guessing game we play after our shift at 5 & 10. Under a shroud of secrecy, resident wine dork (sorry...Wine Director) Steve Grubbs pulls something out of the cellar, decants it, and then makes us wait like an hour (which seems like an eternity at 10pm) for whatever he's opened to put on it's makeup and get presentable. Just when we've all given up hope, five glasses appear and we all scurry off to our little sipping dens. Eyebrows furrow, non verbal savouring sounds are emitted, and we slowly sneak up on, stumble over, or completely sidestep the wine's true identity. What's great is we get to try some high-end stuff without laying out too much money (we find that splitting the cost of the bottle and buying it from the restaurant does wonders for job security). So that's the Secret Sip protocol. Tonight's victim is detailed below

Grubbs: did you try it yet?
me: no I've just been smelling it....hold on.......dang...that is some grown-up wine
Grubbs: yeah, very a well-dressed older man.
me: yeah but one that was serious and disciplined even when he was younger...
Grubbs: Totally.

I will spare you the blow by blow of us trying to figure out what it was. I got pretty close, but with lots of hints, and when Grubbs did "the reveal" I understood why I was so intruiged and confused. Quintarelli makes wines that are in such a league of their own that they are baffling. This Secco Ca' del Merlo is primarily Garganega, with some Trebbiano, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in there too. so it's like a doctored, supercharged Soave. To me, this wine screamed "oxygen rich winemaking" with primary fruit flavors giving way to complex layers that repeatedly beg the question "what am I tasting?

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