Can wines be works of art? Some wines are beautiful. Some stimulate the imagination. Some are deeply meaningful–their flavors and textures connect us to a geographical region and its cultural traditions. Some wines express the distinctive vision of a winemaker or the unique characteristics of a vineyard. A wine of originality, meaning, and beauty. Why not consider such a wine a work of art? That was the theme of the Wine Society of San Diego meeting last Saturday.
Perhaps it was the lovely sunset visible through the panoptic windows of the Red Marlin Restaurant (at the Hyatt Mission Bay), or the succulent spare ribs resting on a delicious, complex tomatillos and black bean sauce, one of the savory options served by Chef Gillespie. It was surely helped by the thriving conversation between this engaging group of wine lovers about some remarkable wines.
In the end I think most of us agreed—the right bottle of wine can be as stimulating and interesting as a painting or symphony.
It would be hard to choose a winner. The sexy, seductive Cakebread Merlot won a few hearts; others were captivated by the stunningly beautiful, mysterious Alma Rosa Pinot Noir; and the rustic elegance of the Chateaux Musar was brought into focus by the story of heroism and determination required to make quality wine in Lebanon. But art is not really about winners or losers. How many points would you give a Monet? An absurd question.
I think every wine on the list was mentioned by someone as a favorite. Oh. Except for that lowly Tormaresca Neprica, which was there just to remind us of the difference between art and vin ordinaire.
Special thanks to the Red Marlin for catering this celebration of vinous virtuosity. Following is a list of works on display:
Ferrari-Carano Siena 2010
Cakebread Merlot 2005
Tormaresca Neprica 2010
Adobe Guadalupe Gabriel 2005
Domaine Michel and Stephane Ogier Syrah La Rosine 2010
Chateau Musar 2003
Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant 2007
Alma Rosa Pinot Noir 2010