Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wine for a New Home

Finally, it's happened. After living in temporary housing since our return to San Francisco in October, with all of our stuff still locked away in storage, we have found a house.

In fact, we have purchased a house, which is something I never really thought we'd be able to do.

And while I am beyond thrilled at the thought of moving into this new space, getting everything we own out of storage and finally feeling like I have a home again, there is also a certain amount of terror, which I think must accompany any home purchase.

First there are the never-ending loan documents and scrutinies, then there is the act of watching all of one's life savings get funneled into a down payment.

These are both followed by home inspections, during which various people inform you of the rotting stairs, the decaying sections of foundation which need to be repaired, and the rotting windowsills which at some point will need to be replaced, as will the small back deck and the fencing around the property.

Not to mention the house is currently painted a rather alarming pinkish-orange, so at some point that, too, will have to be changed.

It can all be overwhelming, to say the least.

But none of that can completely detract from the joy of knowing that we will soon be living in a place that is ours and only ours, and in which we plan to live for a long, long time.

I think a new home calls for a celebration, which is why my wine for the occasion is something truly extraordinary: Richard Hennessy Cognac.

Let me preface this by saying that I am not ordinarily much of a cognac fan. It is normally too much for me; too sharp, too high in alcohol, and, I am embarrassed to say, not sweet enough! I normally would prefer a port or dessert wine to end a meal.

But then Alan, the Master Sommelier at the restaurant where i work gave me a tiny taste of this Richard Hennessy cognac, and my eyes actually rolled back in my head, I was so delighted.

Cognac is a type of brandy from the Cognac region of France, and is made from distilled fermented grape juice. The most common grapes used are Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard, and the fermented juice is distilled two times before being aged in oak casks for a minimum of three years.

The Hennessy Company was founded by Richard Hennessy in 1765, and in 1794 the first deliveries of Hennessy cognac were made to America.

The "Richard" Hennessy cognac was created as an homage to the cognac house's founder,and is blended from some 100 different brandies, all matured in oak to their fullest. Some of the brandies are as much as 200 years old.

The flavor and feel of this cognac are extraordinary: warm and rich, with none of the usual alcohol bite, but rather smooth as can be, with a nose of black tea leaves and dried fruit and a palate of honey, raisins and caramel.

I took one sip and felt my head spin around a couple of times. I think all I could manage to say was "wow". I think I may have actually shed a tear.

I shed even more, though, when I was told the price of this elixer: at the restaurant we charge $150 for 1 1/2 ounces. A bottle retail will set you back $2400-$4000, depending on where you get it.

If you have the means, I cannot recommend it highly enough. I, of course, cannot afford it. I have foundation work and seismic upgrades to pay for, after all.

I will be taking a little break from this blog, but will return in May, once we have moved and settled in.

Until then....cheers.