Horace Walpole coined the word “serendipity” back in 1754 and it means fortunate happenstance or a pleasant surprise, and this is the theme of this month’s Monthly Wine Writers Challenge. I have added the word “redux” onto my title, which means revived or brought back; and I feel that I have been blessed many times with serendipity when it comes to wines, and I will point out a few of the tales this raconteur has enjoyed, as I am sure that most of you have not read some of my earlier forays.
I had just recently wrote an article called Serendipity, where I was called in to help a wedding party that was having trouble with the art of making a proper knot for the bow ties. It only took a few minutes of my time, and it meant the world to the men, especially the intended groom. I ended up with a bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, a delightful bottle of wine, and the largesse of the Uncle of the Bride surprised me to no end. I saw some of the family members after the wedding, and they were so happy to bring up the occasion, because it was all recorded by a videographer. A week or two later, I saw the Uncle, and I thanked him again, and he asked me if I knew a couple of men, and I said yes, and discussed how it was through their family that I was introduced to the Duckhorn wines. He then showed me an email on his phone from one of the men, and they were getting together in China, and one of the other men that he was going to meet was of the Duckhorn family. That made me smile, and I told him all about how I did a tasting of Duckhorn wines in the back of a semi-trailer and was turned on to their wines and especially to their Howell Mountain Vineyard.
Also through serendipity, I ended up meeting a gentleman that was with “Les Amis du Vin,” a wine society and was invited to a talk and wine tasting with the celebrated man of wines, Mr. Harry Waugh; and what a wonderful night of French Burgundies it was. For a young kid to get to listen to the stories of the great wines, and a chance to have some wines like Vosne-Romanee and Echezeaux was a tremendous experience. While I am thinking of the wonderful red wines of Burgundy, I remember another fortunate happenstance, when I was enjoying a glass of Chevas Regal, during my college years when I was “Just Plain Lucky” and not in the way, that it can be construed in today’s parlance. There are just not that many men, let alone a young kid that gets the chance to enjoy a bottle of Richebourg 1921.
It is because of wine, that I have also had a chance to dine at some great restaurants both locally and around this great country. When I get to my deathbed, which I hope is still ages away, I think that I can safely say, that I may never have a finer meal than at The French Laundry, and I recorded the menu for that evening and a wonderful wine, that I may never have tried, except for the sage advice of the Sommelier. Of course I have also dined at Daniel in Manhattan and what a great menu and wine we had that evening, as well. I also went to Bistro Boulud at the Wynne hotel in Las Vegas and had the Hamburger of all times. If one wants to talk about a pleasant surprise in a restaurant, then “My Favorite Story” needs to be repeated, and I think I wrote about that evening in two different versions, because how often does one get to enjoy the cult wine of all cult wines Screaming Eagle?
Most of my tales as a raconteur center on dining, because I think one cannot dine properly with out wine. My Father’s generation always referred to a night out on the town as “Wining and Dining” and who am I to change that concept. You want to talk about serendipity, my Sister-in-Law was born in 1961, and that is considered one of the top three vintages of the last century, and according to her husband, that is the finest vintage. For her fortieth birthday, he had “A Celebration of the Women and Wine of 1961” and the menu alone that was created for that evening was wonderful, but when you add Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour and Chateau d’Yquem, and all of the 1961 vintage, it was a most memorable night and even a learning moment for all the dining guests as well.
I have saved what I consider the greatest moment of serendipity in my life for the last, and to be totally frank, there is no wine in the story, but it may be my all time favorite story and it covers our theme perfectly, so I do hope some of you humor me, and look at some of my early writings, but none of them do it more for me than “How My Bride became “My Bride” and a Great Cup of Coffee.”