The other day I went down to grab a bottle of wine from the cellar to bring up for dinner and it was in an awkward spot in the rack. After I pulled the wine that I wanted I decided to look at what was glued on the wall that this bottle was hiding and it brought back a pleasant memory. If you aren’t aware when I built my wine cellar, I had paneled the walls with the old wooden wine crates and then when I ran out of them, I then painstakingly glued individual wine labels on the other walls to serve as a form of wall paper in the room, even though most of them would never be seen. This label brought back a memory from another buying trip when I was in Chicago years ago.
It was my second time to have dinner at the legendary Pump Room in the old Ambassador East Hotel. Back in the day the Pump Room was one of the few restaurants whose name was recognizable and it meant Chicago, just like the London Chop House meant Detroit. The walls featured photographs of all the celebrities who had dined there over the decades and everybody gawks, no matter how many times they have been there. I remember starting off with a shrimp cocktail, when jumbo shrimp were really jumbo, followed by the house salad. The entrée that evening was a duck dinner that was wonderful and by that time, I was quite the fan of duck and I still am to this day.
Of course with an entrée of duck, I always think of a Pinot Noir, and I chose a spectacular bottle of wine that evening, one that I probably could not afford today in a restaurant, in fact I would really have to think twice about the cost even at retail for the cellar. I had a DRC Romanee-St.-Vivant Marey- Monge 1974. This is a fabled four acre plot that was owned by the family of the widow of General Marey-Monge and was part of the Domaine de la Romanee Conti, and about a decade later the family sold the property to the DRC. They used to lease out part of the property and I once had a bottle of it that I have already written about, but by this time it was all strictly DRC production. This is one of the Grand Crus of Romanee Conti, and it exemplifies what every wine from the Cote de Nuits wishes it could be. All I can say is thank God for such great memories and the chance to enjoy some of the true nectars of the Gods.