While most of the country was buried under several feet snow, it was an ordinary day in Coronado, warm and sunny. I was ready to go to the beach and armed myself with my faded beach towel, my cheap ten dollar sunglasses and my Rite -Aid sunscreen. I was wearing a pair of orange surf shorts to catch the relaxing Coronado sunshine. I was watching the green waves tumble like a troupe of Chinese acrobats onto the shore, baking in the sun like a happy little lizard. I thought how logical it was for the ancients to worship the golden sun and believe it was a God. Just then I was tapped on my shoulder by a glamorous blond girl in a fashionable but tiny pink-flowered bikini. The enchantress was Talley Ho, the shapely girlfriend of Mr. Vino. She said melodically, "Mr. Vino told me to fetch you. He is opening some great wines and wants you to share."
I could never say no to great wines or a beautiful woman, they were my dog whistles. So I followed the gorgeous gal's graceful wiggle to Mr. Vino's beach mansion on Ocean Boulevard.
I never quite understood why my friend Mr. Vino liked me so much, I'm a regular guy that works at a wine shoppe. I'm not in the same financial league as Mr Vino, whom was by his own description "beyond wealthy."
We made it past the impressive wooden door and by some priceless antiques, furnishings and paintings into Spanish courtyard-pool area, I was greeted a short but handsome man wearing a vanilla ice cream-colored suit, it was Mr. Vino, He handed each of us a glass of Lucien Albrecht, Cremant de Alsace Brut Rose. I took a sip of the delicious sparkling wine from Northern France and tasted a bit of strawberry and cherry celestial flavors in my mouth.
We were engaged in small talk for a few moments then Talley excused herself and joined her comely friend, Mary Melons, for a swim in the Roman-style pool.
We went under a covered patio to try some wines, There were four wines in a silver Champagne buckets with just a little more than an inch of ice to keep the red wines at the right temperature, Mr. Vino then winked and then spoke, "Mi amigo, as you see we are going to taste four wines. These wines are full of the spirit of the great Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, the greatest winery in the world." I stared into his clear blue eyes and said, "You won't get an argument from me. Lafite is great, no doubt. But why do you think Lafite is so wonderful?"
Mr. Vino cracked a Cary Grant like smile, "Bordeaux greatness lies, in its terrior, that sense of place. But some vineyards have something more, they have a power and spirit and that is what Lafite has. I was standing in the Chateau's vineyards and I could feel it under my feet the power. That is why the wines are so great."
I just laughed, and Mr. Vino rolled his eyes, "I know what I'm saying sounds like a fabrication but it is true. There are places of power in the world like Stonehenge, the pyramids of Gaza and Mount Everest. Lafite is one of them. Great wines come from places of power, but the proof is in the pudding as the English like to say, try these wines. They have power and spirit." He poured about three ounces in his and mine wine glass.
"This is not Chateau Lafite-Rothschild but a Chilean property owned partly by the Domaines Barones Rothschild-Lafite. Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. It has a Lafite kind of style."
I took a sip and understood what Mr. Vino meant. The Los Vascos Cabernet had glossy fruit, silky tannis and undertone of earthiness that reminded me unmistakably of Bordeaux. The wine had several dimensions of fruit that were dancing on my palate. I told Mr. Vino that the wine was delicious.
"Good," Mr Vino, "This next wine is from California, it is another Cabernet, Split Oak Cabernet Sauvignon from Morro Bay."
As I twirled the wine in my glass, I could see the new world legs, the viscosity of the alcohol of the vino. The nose of the wine was bright ripe fruit like a freshly cut Gala apple. When I tasted the wine, I felt the surge of Lodi fruit. What the wine lacked in finish, it made it up for it in luster. "Another charmer," I declared.
"Argentina is producing some of the best wines in the world, a fact not lost on at wine growers at Lafite. Rothschild-Lafite are involved with one the finest wine producers in the area. Their joint venture is called Bodegas Caro. This wine is Amancaya, a Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The wine is named after a native flower from Mendoza."
I took my cue after Mr. Vino poured me a big glass of wine. The nose of wine had that coca earthness and red fruit notes which was very plesant. The wine touched my lips it was a ying and yang, of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. The Cabernet produced all the fruit and the Malbec all the dirt and hot spices. "It is crazy good," I declared.
Mr. Vino pulled out the next wine, Le Dix de Los Vascos, the flagship of the winery. Mr. Vino gave a fat glass and said, "This is the wine, I think that most mirrors Chateau Lafite-Rothschild." As I tasted the wine, I felt I just on a carousel of flavors, raspberry, blackberry currants, soft tannis all spinning and jumping around in my mouth. All making a slow exit finish, that made feel very happy. It was hard to speak because I fell in love with the wine, all I could blurt out was, "Excellent!"
Mr. Vino then pointed his finger in the air and said, "Enough wine tasting. I would like you to stay for dinner and we will have more Lafite wines from my cellar. Our friend, Chef Kenny is coming with his fiancé, Kandi Cain. And I procured a date for you, Honey Drinkwell, the lovely star of that silly soap opera TV show, "Coronado 92118."
I felt I was about to faint, thinking about Honey Drinkwell. Mr. Vino snapped my spell, "Hey, let join the girls for a little swim."
Frank Marquez (AKA Mr. Vino) is a wine enthusiast, writer, lecturer, buyer & seller of fine wines.
Frank attended and graduated from Coronado High School and has deep roots here on the island.
Click here to email
619-435-4663 or visit:
Avenue Liquor & Wine
(878 Orange Avenue)
Comment (keep it clean & on topic)