A few months ago I was invited to celebrate the efforts of a very worthwhile charity in Monterey, California. Around the table sat some 50 guests and myself who quickly became very relaxed on a nice white wine while speeches, introductions, and some jokes were made. It was during this time that one of the guests announced that the real wine for the evening would be a flight of three different vintages of Silver Oak. I forget which vintages (all from the nineties) but I was impressed and looked forward to drinking my fair share of these legendary wines.
There were several bottles of each and the waiter poured three half glasses in front of each diner. I tasted the first, hmmm, pretty good! Very BIG. I took a bite of the filet, chatted with my neighbor, tried the green beans, and went to the next glass. This one was different but also very nice. Big, robust, fruit galore, mega body, etc. I then took a bite of the salmon and scalloped potatoes and moved on to the third wine. This one, too, was a giant with towering fruit, tobacco and leather. With all the chatting, eating and drinking going on, before I knew it they were serving the dessert. I looked in front of me and, to my surprise, the three glasses were not empty. A quick glance around the giant table revealed more half-empty glasses, no one had finished their wine. What happened?
On another contrasting occasion I visited my buddy’s house in the desert (you know who you are) to celebrate Dove Season Opening Day. Instead of Silver Oak, there were a couple of cases of our “Angry Wife” (homemade version of the Ponte Super T), and other assorted reds on the bar counter. The food was good, the conversation was witty, stories were told and memories were made. At the end of the evening we discovered we had finished almost an entire bottle of wine, each! But no one was drunk, tipsy maybe. I have seen this curious effect on many occasions and can assure you it had nothing to do with the group, the venue, or the event. The reason we finished the Angry Wife and left the Silver Oak is that the Angry Wife was purposely made to be easy to drink, while the latter was crafted to impress Robert Parker (the famed wine critic) and other wine “experts”. These wines have become so BIG, that only the first sip impresses. The flavors linger, the aromas intoxicate but, in my book, what counts is how they really drink. Do they make the food taste better, or do they overpower everything they touch? Can a couple finish a bottle with dinner and still be able to enjoy dessert?
Here at Ponte we believe that wines should be very drinkable. They should be complex, tasty, delicious and interesting. They should be delicate and yummy. They should complement food and encourage conversation about friendship, family, life, and relaxation, not about the wine itself. If drinking our wine at home reminds you of a pleasant afternoon at the winery or enjoying a meal with your significant other, we have succeeded. Thank you for your support and we’ll see you at the winery!