It must be the Christmas season, because I always seem to reminisce more during this time of the year. The Trout has been collecting wine for many years. During those early years of marriage, when we had the good fortune of living in Germany on behalf of Uncle Sam, we had a dear, single friend with whom we would spend a lot of time. His family owned a bar in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and they were friends with quite a few wine growers in Germany. "The Fox", as we lovingly called him, would make trips to these wine growers whenever he had a free day from the Army. The bar was called "Kurtz's Bar" and I remember he ordered a suit of armor to be sent to the States to be displayed in the bar.
I recall many times we invited him to dinner and to play gin rummy, and we would bring out a bottle of German wine. He would comment on it and then pause. He would stand up, all 6'3" of him, and say gently, "I have a bottle downstairs in the Volkswagen that you might like." And so began, our education of German wine.
Fast forward quite a few years and you find The Trout doing a lot of research on wine. It used to be through the magazine Wine Spectator that he would become informed about wine. We found a very nice wine store in western Wisconsin and in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, and then the education started becoming serious. We found a wine store in California that would send wines to Wisconsin and so it began.
One of the main reasons for traveling to Europe after retirement ten years ago, was to "check out" the wines. In those ten years, we had eight trips to Italy and France. Before 9/11, we would bring a lot of bottles back with us in carry-on luggage. That, of course, cannot be done anymore. Wine can be checked into luggage, but that is always a worry for me. So, we enjoy it while we are in these wonderful countries.
Fortunately we can still find quality wines near our residence and also have some shipped in. This is all leading up to the last two wines we had with our dinners.
Last evening we had a mustard coated pork loin with a Shiraz from Australia, McLaren Valen The Footbolt, 2001. It had survived all of our moves in the last few years and was thoroughly enjoyed.
Today we had our favorite grilled lamb chops marinated in garlic, rosemary and olive oil, with Tuscany white beans and grilled asparagus. The wine matched with this dinner was a Novelty Hill, Columbia Valley, 2002 Merlot. Once again, it was perfect, but I have not met a Merlot that I didn't like. This last wine had the label on it showing where we bought it...Pike and Western Wine Shop in Seattle. That brought back even more memories for us.
Wine collecting is a wonderful hobby...in moderation. We are getting to the age when we know collecting wine for a time in the future might not be the right thing to do as we generally try to age our wines from six to ten years.