I am a proud New Yorker. And, like many of my neighbors, I have spent most of the last week in the dark. After Hurricane Sandy came through, I have had to read by candlelight and walk 30 blocks to shower and wear two sweaters at night and throw out everything in my fridge except for a few condiments. Now that my power - oh, blessed power! - is restored, I can post about a topic that just about everyone dealing with Hurricane Sandy knows: hurricanes and wine go hand in hand.
As I write, many are still completely devastated by the aftermath of this storm. I have dear friends who live in Far Rockaway, literally steps from the ocean, who now have three feet of sand blocking access to their house (which, mercifully, was otherwise unaffected.) I have other close friends who live in Hoboken, who had to evacuate their building wearing garbage bags as makeshift waders, who have lost everything they were storing in the basement. Photographs, mementos, linens, clothes, files... irreplaceable markers of their lives.
There are still thousands without power, gasoline, and even homes that may never be restored. If you are inclined, you can help by making a donation to the American Red Cross. Click here for their Hurricane Sandy relief page.
That said, most people I know spent the past week up to their eyeballs in WINE.
Here's a little about my Hurricane Wine Week:
I was sipping on a NV Gruet Blanc de Noirs when the power went out. I opened my fridge super fast to grab the bottle and put it in my bathtub (which I'd already filled with water) to keep it cool long enough to drink. As it got warmer and warmer, I drank it faster and faster.
The next night, my friend Carol (another refugee from NY's newest neighborhood, SoPo [South of Power]) and I walked uptown to some other friends' for dinner and wine and a shower. Steve and Carlos were incredibly generous with their home... and their wine. Notably, a Dal Forno Romano Amarone della Valpolicella - as you know, I adore Amarones, and I'm sorry I didn't record the vintage, it was lovely. A 2001 Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Riserva was simply gorgeous and drinking wonderfully. As the meal wound down and the conversation wound up, we hit a couple of Burgunides: a 2008 Drouhin Meursault-Perrières, and a 2009 Domaine de la Vougerie Pommard Les Petits Noizons, and headed to the finish line with a 2007 Voge Cornas "Vielles Vignes" from the Rhône. Sooooo amazing, such a wonderful bounty to share - I will never be able to repay them. But I promised that sometime soon they'd come to my house and I'd try.
When the trains running to CT came online again, I hoofed it to Grand Central Station and hopped out to see my folks. They had definitely dodged a bullet - a few trees were down on their property but none had damaged the house. One GIANT pine tree fell on the driveway, but Dad was able to pull out the chainsaw and carve a path out. However large the tree looks in this picture, it is much bigger in reality. The upper edge of the root swath stood at least 9 feet in the air.
Luckily they'd also kept power, so I hopped in the shower - praise hot water! - because we were going to a wine dinner in a nearby town that had also managed to keep power. And not twenty minutes later... my folks' power went out! Gaaah. However, Dad had a generator that switched on, so there were a few lights, one working plug to charge our phones, and one shower that would stay warm.
What else to do but... go to the wine dinner and drink lots of wine! This dinner was an event at Boulevard 18 in New Canaan, CT honoring the wines of the Alsace legend Maison Trimbach. I have long loved Trimbach wines and it was spectacular to sample so many, beautifully paired with a sumptuous six-course meal from Chefs David Raymer and Kerry Dolan.
I adored the 2006 Trimbach Pinot Gris Réserve Personelle Gold Label. It was elegant and concentrated, with hazelnut, honey and apricot notes, bright yet rich and sexy, and paired wonderfully with the Wild Mushroom Strudel course. I also got to try something I'd never had before - the 2009 Trimbach Pinot Noir Reserve. It's unusual to find many red wines from Alsace, although Pinot Noir does grow well in cooler climates. This had a cherry and pomegranate nose and was herbal with good fruit in the mouth. Of course, the star in the Trimbach crown once again shone brightly, and I just lapped up the 2005 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile. It had a heady nose of petrol and white florals, super unctuous yet flirty, just amazing. My mother has always fancied this wine, and while there are not many 2005s left on the market, I may pick up a couple of 2006s for her for Christmas. (I'm such a good daughter.)
Believe me, there were many more bottles consumed over the past week by this Minx. When you lose power, there is a loss of control. You worry about your friends and loved ones, and even about strangers a few miles away whose lives have been devastated. Wine is always a beverage for celebration, but it is also a beverage that soothes and comforts in times like these.
I joked about my hurricane essentials: candles, batteries, water, and lots of wine - but nearly everyone I know turned straight to the vino to help them get through and did not laugh about it.
My thoughts and heart go out to those still dealing with the repercussions of the storm. We seem to have a nor'easter on its way in a few days, which hopefully won't be too bad for anyone, especially those still recovering from Sandy. But I will make sure that I restock the essentials: candles, batteries, water, and lots and LOTS of wine.
And please, help in any way you can. Thank you.