The soundtrack of our lives…

Viña Olabarri 2010 Gran Reserva

I really like Riojas. I rarely talk about them here as they usually fall a bit above the self-imposed price limit of what I review here. This one weighs in just under $30 a bottle, so worthy of mention. It recently became available and I purchased a half case, without having tasted it yet. As I have mentioned before the 2001 vintage was truly transcendental. I guess you could stay I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since. The 2009 vintage was “okay” and I have to say this 2010 rates somewhere between the two. The 2001 was mind-blowing from the very first pull of the cork, with an amazing nose and phenomenally complex everything else. The other vintages have been … just good Riojas.

Nothing wrong with that.

I was a guest on a podcast recently. Nothing to do with wine at all, but related to my profession and hosted by three people, two of whom I know, and another that I have listened to for a long time but never met. They used Zoom as their methodology for conducting the interview. We’ve all been using Zoom, FaceTime, etc for the entire past year to keep connecting with friends, family, etc so there was nothing unique about this situation to be honest. In fact there is a group of people I have been having “Saturday night Zoom (drinking) parties” with for almost the entire year since the pandemic started. But something about this evening was different. For some reason I grabbed this bottle to sip along with my interview (probably since it was sitting atop one of the racks in my office), and it was the joy of telling old stories and interacting with two old friends and one new one that made this a special evening.

We talked, and I sipped along with this delicious Rioja. Like the coffee mug of a diner my glass never quite reached empty, when, like that sassy waitress who calls you “Hon”, my left arm would instinctively and seemingly of its own will, lift the decanter and refill my glass. I would tap the stemware with my fingernail each time this happened to make that distinctive “RING” of quality glass. I was having a truly wonderful time. The podcast will be available for download in about a week and I imagine I might be embarrassed by how many times I hear that ring sound, or perhaps by my apparent tipsiness… we’ll see.

But I was reminded of something someone I know says about wine, and life: “It can be the soundtrack of our lives” meaning that often we can remember a wine by the moment in time when we enjoyed it. Like the link above, when I shared that 1962 Unico with my extended family at my father’s table, I will always associate this wonderful experience of reconnecting with some old professional friends and acquaintances over a Zoom meeting on a Sunday night.

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