Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Red Obsession

“For centuries, Bordeaux has assumed a mythical status in the world of fine wine as a leitmotif of wealth, power and influence.”

Definitive words by actor and narrator Russell Crowe in the opening scene of “Red Obsession,” a documentary on Bordeaux valley and the capricious nature of the markets and shifting fortunes of global economies that link it’s grand influence of the wine making world. The film predominantly focuses on the recent shift as China’s new elite bolster prices for the wine to stratospheric levels.

Getting to watch the film at the annual Washington West Film Festival last fall, I can certainly attest that it’s a fascinating, personal glimpse into the worlds of the winemakers and connoisseurs involved in this centuries old process. It also got me reminiscing about my own “red obsession.”

As is with “my love of books,” I’d like to take a moment to share why I’m so obsessed with “the nectar of the gods.” From the decadent taste of a freshly uncorked bottle to the splendor of cooking with wine, I can thank wine columnist John Hailman for introducing me to its graces five years ago.

During my college internship with the Overby Center for Southern Journalism, I had the pleasure of working with Hailman, a fellow at the time, on the second edition of his book, “Thomas Jefferson on Wine” as well as other law and wine related book projects. Like the “Red Obsession documentary, his works allowed me the perception and appreciation of a world that is, in fact, mythical and historical.

When I finished my internship with the Center, Hailman was gracious in giving me a signed copy of his Jefferson book as well as my very first bottle of wine anyone had ever given me. A late 2007 harvest of Hogue White Riesling, I still have the bottle to this day. The wine was a luscious palate of honeyed peach and apricot flavors.

Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of tasting some exceptional (and some not so exceptional) wines. Along the way, I enjoyed the opportunity to visit some entertaining wineries in Indiana and VirginiaMy favorite wine, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Shiraz (30%) and Merlot (20%), has become a ritualistic souvenir from Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. As a wedding gift, my company’s president even gave my wife and me a 2003 bottle of Dom Perignon which we're saving for our 10 year anniversary.

As my vino adventures continue, I hope to one day visit a few wine valleys, including Shenandoah, Napa, and of course, Bordeaux. Until I can share those adventures, enjoy this fun collection of wine quotes and Happy National Drink Wine Day!