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Woman on the Verge of a Glass of Wine

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Fourth July



It can't really be unusual that I always want to relive the fun and happy moments of my life. This tendency has got to be human nature, this need to recreate a successful event or fun family time and to want experience the feeling of joy and celebration over and over again. We all do it; we venture to host our second and third annual Christmas parties, revisit the exotic locations of our family vacations, travel on our second honeymoons and decide to have more children. I have tried on my occasion, often unsuccessfully, to recreate my most cherished times and have often ended up disappointed because frankly, it is just really difficult to make something "happen" more than once. Most of the time the problem lies in the fact that my expectations are just too high and my memories of past events too idealized. Other times, the stars and planets just don't align in the same way they did before. I guess that's life.

For me, the Fourth of July is that day that I try to "do over" year after year and for the last four, I've been really lucky. It all started four years ago when we invited our friends Amy Christine and her husband Peter Hunken out to our place in Malibu for a day of sun, food and fireworks. Amy and Peter make some really fantastic wines (Holus Bolus, Hocus Pocus, Genuine Risk and Dalla Pancia) and to say that they are serious wine lovers is an understatement. They also happen to be two of my favorite people on earth. They are fun, laid back and just really nice to be around. We invited them out for a belated celebration of Peter's July 1 birthday with a feast of food, wine and fireworks.

My task that day was to make lunch while Amy and Peter grabbed a bottle of wine from the refrigerator in my garage. I tend to keep more than a few bottles of yummy special wine out there since for me, Malibu is the perfect place to enjoy a bottle of wine. You see, the house that my husband and I have out there is one of the few places that I can go to really relax. It's very casual and quiet, and best of all, it gets horrible cell phone service, so going out there, all the way to the edge of Zuma is an act of strategic, wine-filled escape.

Now, believe it or not, I don't have the crazy wine collection that I should. I just don't have the time or opportunity to drink the wine that I would amass if I was to start my own cellar. My husband doesn't drink, so opening an entire bottle of wine for me to only consume one glass is just too wasteful for me to handle. And honestly, cataloging and caring for such an investment is more than I can handle right now. Instead, I've bought a few random special bottles to enjoy when friends come over or to drink on a special occasion like this one.

I told Amy and Peter to pull out any bottle they wanted and was thrilled when they came back with a bottle of 2004 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne. I bought a few bottles of Coche-Dury wines in pre-recessionary times and was waiting for the perfect time to open one up. Coche-Dury is thought by many, including me, to be one of the all-time best and most sought-after producers of white Burgundy. Jean-Fran├žois Coche is the third generation of Coche's to tend the less than 9 hectares of the family's vines. He, and now his son Raphael, care for their vineyards with reverence and rigor and in doing so produce vines of low yields and extremely high quality. In the cellar, long lees contact (to prevent oxidation) and high doses of new wood give Coche-Dury's wines their characteristic opulence, vibrance and acidity. Though most people would probably plan a meal carefully around the opening of such a rare bottle, at the time it seemed like the perfect, impromptu thing to do. We were blown away by the wine from the moment we looked at it. The wine had an stunning golden hue and striking nose of slate-like minerality and power. On the palate, the wine was equally as intense with notes of pear and apple, hints of hazelnut, exotic spices and incredibly racy acidity. We all loved the wine itself, but also the fact that we got to enjoy something so great in such a casual, unplanned manner, together.

For each year since, I've invited them back out to celebrate the Fourth with the promise of another bottle of Coche. We've drunk the 2005 Corton-Charlemagne, the 2004 Meursault-Perrieres and just this last holiday, the 2005 Meursault. Each of these wines has held their own against the others and has memorialized each summer celebration with its stunning deliciousness. I'm hoping that I can get my hands on another bottle before July of 2012 so that I can keep this annual tradition and my Fourth of July "re-do" alive.