Margaret’s Mixed Case

The good news is I have a broken shoulder. A torn rotator cuff would have required surgery. I was told to go about my business as best I could and not lift anything heavy. It turns out a bottle is heavy, and lifting it to the counter at Martin Brothers was painful, so a week before Christmas I quit. Using a corkscrew was excruciating. Who would open the champagne on New Year’s Eve?

Margaret, of course.

The sommelier’s wife stepped up to every task. While I was getting my MRI, Margaret was talking wine with our eye doctor. At his suggestion, she checked out a site called WTSO.COM, Wines Til Sold Out, where they sell an item at a large discount. When it’s gone, they sell another. Margaret was buying.

The first delivery was 4 bottles of 2006 Clos du Bois Briarcrest, an Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. We’ve been drinking Clos du Bois Cab and Chard for years. They are a reliable winery, with a full line of varietals and a French approach. The Alexander Valley is an AVA, American Viticultural Area, our equivalent of the French appellations. Seven years in bottle is a decent amount of time, and besides, it’s a Briarcrest, which makes it special, although we don’t know quite how. “Buy it now or rue the morrow,” Margaret might have said.

It was a powerful California cab, inky red, flavors of cassis, plums and dark berries, hints of licorice and oak, with a chocolate and coffee, tannic finish that promised even better things to come after another year or two. Under $20/bottle.

Then came Sancerre, 2010 from the brothers Raimbault. For generations, the family Raimbault has tended vines in the Loire. I wrote about them twice in 2010, a chenin blanc with Ellen and Mercer, and a pinot noir rosé with Carol and Ken. I doubt Margaret knew that – I had to look it up.

It was ripe with citrus, not grapefruit as from New Zealand, rather something tropical that we hadn’t tasted yet. It had sauvignon blanc’s typical nose of fresh-cut grass, and good minerality, especially at the finish. It had a fuller body than the typical NZ wine, probably from sitting on its lees, like its Loire cousin muscadet downriver. Under $15/bottle.

The third delivery, Aglianico del Vulture, was just delivered by Fedex. This is another wine we know and like. From Basilicata, in the arch of the Italian boot, on the slopes of a volcano, this wine is called the Barolo of the South. I expect we’ll drink a bottle soon. About $12/ bottle.

There will be no fourth delivery (at least for a while). The notices of sales had come so randomly, sometimes several in one day, sometimes none. Like a day trader, if she had to think about it, the deal could be gone. It was making her crazy, so she suspended her membership in WTSO. If she ever rues the day, she can always sign back up.

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