I had yet another birthday recently. Yes, yes, thank you so, so much. Another year older, another year wiser, right? Personally, I'm more than happy to forge on under that illusion, and I suggest you do the same. I'm on the wrong side of 40 now, which means that I've traded late nights and loud music for great food and good wines at nice restaurants.
This year, I got together with a few friends and lingered over an awful lot of nice dishes and plenty of booze in a private room at Whisknladle in La Jolla. Now, when you write about wine, despite your desperate silent pleas for cash gifts, you can count on your friends to bring you a bottle for your birthday. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining—it's a great thing to show up at a restaurant empty-handed and leave several hours later with your arms full of bottles.
This week, I got around to opening one of my Birthday Bottles, as I've dubbed them, the Hedges Family Estate 2009 Red Mountain. The Hedges Family winery is located in the southern wine region of Washington State, almost as far from Seattle as from Portland, and all the grapes included are grown on the estate itself.
It's a blend, of course, made up primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, with a touch of Cabernet Franc added for good measure. The result is a lovely dark purple, a thick, meaty-looking wine that's flavorful and complex, without being as overwhelming as it might appear. There are a lot of dark berries that shine in the nose and on the tongue and an underlying sweetness that's really quite pleasurable. It went great with hearty food the first night, and it was just fine—even better, perhaps—a night later, on its own, having had more time to breathe.
I only have one problem here, and that's that I have no idea who gave it to me. Amidst the meal and the wine and trying to remember how I was going to get home, I totally lost track of which bottle came from which guest. So, thank you, mystery birthday guest, for this. You made a good call.