It was Saturday afternoon, and Mrs 12×75 (Mrs 12) was out.
Too early to open a bottle of vino, and I was feeling too lazy to go out.
I reached for the remote and frantically looked through my Sky Plus for a movie that would help pass the time. The only job she had left me was to try and book a table at the ever popular restaurant Gymkhana. I had been dissuaded to try because every attempt kept throwing back the words ‘I’m sorry we’re fully booked’.
Walking around on twitter I noticed that a lovely lady and MW was having the exact same problem with Gymkhana. Was it worth trying?
It almost motivated me.
Remember I’m the guy that managed to get a 7pm table at Hakkasan (when they were fully booked) on valentine’s day – booking it only the night before. I could do it….in fact I was so confident that I could do it, I bet Mrs 12 a bottle of Troplong Mondot (her fav).
Scrolling down the movies: seen that, seen that, rubbish, girlie flick, no horrors, not in the mood for a drama – had to be something I’d seen before so I could fully focus on getting my table at Gymkhana. And there it was an amazing movie, one I hadn’t seen for years. The type of movie I was envious that people hadn’t seen because they could watch it for the 1st time. Pulp Fiction. I hit PLAY. How could I not?
As the movie began, I fired up the Laptop and pulled up the number for Gymkhana ‘sorry, we’re fully booked for tonight’ – no surprise. After all I was booking for the same night. I tweeted their account and direct messaged them in the hope they could squeeze me in. They still couldn’t and were still full.
A friend of mine, a sommelier (RDP), wrote to their sommelier / owner to see if perhaps she could help. The answer was still a no! I was screwed. There literally was nothing I could do. Fully booked is fully booked.
I looked up at the TV to see the scene with Butch (Bruce Willis) meeting Marsellus Wallace in the bar, with Al Green playing in the background.
Marsellus: In the fifth, your ass goes down. Say it.
Butch: In the fifth, my ass goes down.
Well my ass had gone down and Mrs 12 had won this round. I took out the bottle of Troplong Mondot 2007. It was from a case I had bought 3 years ago with 2 other friends and it was my 4th and final bottle. I find that some of the 07s are really coming into their element, Troplong included, however my experience with the last 3 bottles was that they needed a good amount of time in a decanter. And when I say a good amount of time, I mean literally just that. More than a couple of hours.
I sat back and began to get engrossed into the movie. I hadn’t seen Pulp Fiction for years, however watching it this time, I became obsessed. The movie is simply brilliant. The acting, the directing, the characters, the organised randomness, the soundtrack, and so much more. I watch movies I like twice. But rarely after that. If it happens to be on, perhaps, but not really.
When I buy wine for myself, it’s generally by the bottle and not the case. And if it’s a bottle of fine wine, the budget at the time dictates whether or not I can buy it again or use that doe for something different. But the Troplong was different. I had 3 other bottles before the one I was about to open. All three tasted different yet similar. In many ways just like Pulp Fiction I knew what to expect, I knew how it would end, but what I had forgotten is why I loved the movie to begin with. The texture, the fabric, the sequence and the ending. Not dissimilar tests we apply to wine.
Fast forward to that evening, and after 3 hours in the decanter, I poured the Troplong for a very gloating Mrs 12. As far as she was concerned she won either way. If not for my ego I would have seen that.
It was divine. Again I knew what to expect, but the order, the power the levels of magic were just delightful. Sometimes I find my need to continue exploring new and different wines thwarts my ability to go back and re appreciate some of the older wines I’ve tried. I suppose to continue learning is to continue appreciating.
It’s an extraordinary experience to buy a case of the same wine and vintage. If you love it then you’re really lucky. For me, with the Troplong, by the time I hit the 4th bottle, I felt I knew it all. I knew the optimum time to decant it, which glasses they tasted best in, what best to pair it with.
Writing this I ask myself how many people are in the same boat? Clearly we’re not all as lucky as Parker and Jancis who get to try vintages they’ve tasted before but what’s the norm? Assuming you have a budget for fine wine, do you continue to discover new wines or do you go back and enjoy wines you’ve had before? Perhaps you do a bit of both?
Either way, I will say my Saturday was great. A day of Pulp Fiction and an evening that included a bottle of Troplong….both were amazing to rediscover.
To leave you with my favourite quote from Pulp Fiction:
Jules: Do you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in France?
Jules: Tell him, Vincent.
Vincent: Royale with cheese.
Jules: Royale with cheese. Do you know why they call it a Royale with cheese?
Brett: Because of the metric system?
Jules: Check out the big brain on Brett. You one smart motherfucker.