May 03, 2007

Joe Dressner and Australian Shiraz?

I love the first line of Maureen Dowd's column the other day about former CIA director George Tenet. Poor Slam Dunk, she began.


And poor me. Too long I delayed, and when I finally called E&R wine shop in Portland today to see about attending tonight's Louis/Dressner Selections tasting, I was denied. There's a wait list, I'm told. No chance even joining it.

But what's this? An email in my in box? Who could it be? Would you believe...Joe Dressner at the World Cup cafe in NW Portland (next to Hot Lips pizza!), and he's sought me out.

Is he psychic? Is he from the government? What's the difference?

Now, Joe was a charter reader of this web log two years back. But he hasn't been around for a while. We've missed him, but we haven't given up hope that someday he'd return.

Sure, my email inbox isn't this controversial, hard hitting vanity site. It's a mirror all its own, but I'll take it. I feel I'm on the cusp of something special.

I reply to Joe detailing my plight. The long nights blogging, the many mugs of World Cup coffee. I simply forgot to RSVP for his tasting. How could I be so stupid? Now there's a waiting list and, try as I might, I can't even join a waiting list for that.

Maybe Joe will get the hint. Maybe he'll plead for my presence. His reply arrives, ending with a cryptic "xsee you soon."

What does it mean? Am I in? Does he think I'm someone else? Should I crash the tasting? Should I follow him around all night? After all, I would like to talk to him about our sedimentary Oregon soils, which he's remarked about in the past. I'm sure he's excited about that.

No, this doesn't feel right, and I don't do anything but ride the slow bus home and open a bottle of fine, aged Australian Shiraz.

No kidding, the 2000 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Shiraz, vinted according to the label in the Frankland River region of Western Australia.

And just when this day couldn't get any stranger, this is delicious, satisfying, even compelling fading ruby colored wine.

The fragrance is peppery with a charred earth note that speaks of France more than anything. Then there's a subtle eucalyptus aroma mixed in with ripe but not overt red fruit. In the mouth, it's more austere, even lean in the middle but moderately long with a mixture of fresh and aged flavors.

This isn't Barossa Shiraz, candied and artificially tart. This is honest, cool climate syrah that's really satisfying, even if it doesn't make me forget the collection of Dressner wines I'm missing at this very moment.

Oh well, maybe next time. Of course, that's what I said last year when my ticket to the Real Wine Invasion went sadly unused.

Joe, is it too early to book my spot for 2008?


Paul said...

Dude, LOL, you crack me up! Although I get the sentiment, as I've been dying to make it to a Dressner tasting here in NYC.

Marshall Manning said...

Apparently Joe doesn't like me either...I didn't get a personalized invitation.