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  • Susan Welsh

Elegant, silky, savory, and supple. . .


These are some of the adjectives used to describe the crowd favorite at last night's Pinot Noir wine tasting held in Lambertville, NJ. This was the resurrection of a monthly ritual that in decades past belonged to my grandfather, then owner of Welsh's Wines, and several other wine aficionados and friends who shared his love of wine.

The California favorites were all from the Santa Lucia Highlands where the fog and breeze wafting off the Monterey Bay perform alchemy on New World Pinot vines, turning grapes into precious potables at the end of the thermal rainbow!

The popular vote went to the Roar 2014 "Rosellas Vineyard" Pinot Noir and you can find it at Central Liquors in Flemington, NJ which has an amazing inventory of "cult" classics, geek wines, and classics. It feels the way a great wine shop should ---part library, part museum, and part heaven's-within-reach in a bottle. The eager and knowledgable staff here are happy to accommodate your wine wishes.

Gary, Karen, and Tony curated an outstanding collection of Pinot Noirs from both France and California. Naturally, my heart gravitated to California, as it always will. We tasted some wonderful examples of French Burgundy like the Antonin Rodet Nuits- Saint -Georges Premier Cru Clos de Thorey 2010, whose "juicy fruits" earns it every one of the 93 points Wine Enthusiast awarded it, but alas, it's the wine gods and goddesses of the Santa Lucia Highlands that spoke to me.

Kathy's gorgeous home, art-filled and amber-hued with firelight was elegantly cozy, and a beautiful setting for this gathering of wine aficionados. I felt lucky to be a part of the evening and luckier still that several of them recounted stories of my grandfather--his thoughts and philosophy about friendship, wine, and life in general. It was apparent they really "knew" him--had been a part of what he was passionate about--gardening, dining out, collecting and drinking wines, enjoying the company and camaraderie of his community. I am touched by their stories, and consider their generosity of spirit in sharing them with me a gift.

Gary had e-mailed us days before the tasting that the event would be an informal learning experience where discussion was encouraged and where we shouldn't feel like we "are in church. . ."-- a relief to me since church and it's strictures have always terrified me. The thing is, by the end of the evening, I was ready to give praise and testify to the glory of the world and to a god who created wine, among all the other wonders of the world. That's how good crushed grapes in a glass can be (when drunk responsibly). Can I get a Hallelujah?!


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