PIERMONT, N.Y. -- We all have passions that lead us in different directions. Some collect stamps, some coins, some artwork or old vinyl records. My passion is wine.
At a very young age, I was introduced to the world of wine and I've loved it ever since. Wine is a living thing and can be a complex subject but as the great winemaker and importer Alex Lichine said many years ago “If you want to learn about wine get a cork screw”.
I've been opening wines and tasting with friends for several decades. I love all kinds of wines -- from the Gran Cru villages of Burgundy to the Pinot Noirs made on the Sonoma coast in California to first growth Bordeaux to the Rieslings of New York State. Wine has been an integral part of every significant and not so significant event I have celebrated since I was old enough to legally drink (prior to that I'll admit I snuck a bottle or two of non-craft beer).
My tasting group, which gets together about four times a year for wine tastings with food pairings, is centered around a theme. it's made up of five, sometimes six individuals whom share my passion for great wine. After all, any good collection needs to be shared by those who share the same passion.
Our wine themes have included “Death by Amarone” and included some of the greatest of these wines ever made including vintages from DalForno, Quinterelli and Bussala.
We have drunk the pleasures of Chateau Petrus against the incredible cult Cabernets of Arroyo, Bryant and Screaming Eagle as well as bottles of 1990 La Tache from Domaine Romanee Conti alongside the Pinots of Martinelli and Williams Selyem. And let's not forget Le Montrachet white Burgundy next to the Chardonnays of Kistler vineyards.
And while all these evenings are built around great wine, it has always been the company of these oenophiles that made these nights truly special.
So I want to thank Billy, Wally, Frank, Joe and Marc for sharing not only their greatest wines with me but their passion and friendship.
Cheers to all and happy Thanksgiving!
This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
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