|Die Verspottung, oil on canvas, 1984|
|Tanz ums Kreuz, oil on canvas|
|Lazarus, oil on canvas, 1984|
|Georg Baselitz, here seen right side up|
Recently, at the end of a very fine meal, someone shared with me a bottle of sherry. The dinner, and the other wines we drank that night, are chronicled quite well here. I was in the company of friends, people whose company I enjoy, and I was completely unnerved. Not because of the people in the room, but because of the sherry in my glass: Valdespino "Tio Diego" Amontillado. I have had quite a few top flight Amontillados in my day as a sommelier. I recently even put together an all-Amontillado dinner with the estimable Peter Liem as the host, where we tried several excellent examples. But this wine was different. Most of all it made me think. Here was an Amontillado that showed so many elements of a fine Fino, but with the overall character of a lighter styled Amontillado. I'd never had anything like that before. Zippy, intensely dry, saline, and thus in many ways like a Fino, this wine also had a subtle richness against a rather light frame that was revelatory. All I could do was wonder about it. It was like the frames of my reference points were being turned askew. It was asking me for a new understanding, and I was drawn to think about the layers of this wine more deeply than perhaps any wine of recent memory. Here was an Amontillado that loved Flor.
Hightoned lime against richly styled caramel. It is an rare combination, yes? Perhaps only as rare as this wine, the "Tio Diego," which at this point is virtually never seen in the United States. Having once poured the the classic Valdespino "Innocente" Fino by the glass at a restaurant that I worked in, I could only wonder at the change here. Here was the Innocente, but many years later. And transformed. Clearly it was different, but what had it forgotten? Less than I might have thought.
One of the takeaways from drinking the Tio Diego was a true understanding of what Peter Liem means when he says that a real Amontillado is just another intrepretation on the spectrum of Fino. Another takeaway is that I still have a lot to learn about wine, and that there occasionally comes along an example that just totally turns my world upside down. I am still vulnerable.
|This picture is Brook's. Sort of.|