Well here I am in the city of wind. With access to the net, I am able to at least give this update from Chicago. I stopped by a "Wine Spectator" affiliated wine store and felt like I was dropped in dream land. Binny's is a large chain the area with a vast array of wines from around the world. I could have spent a couple hours just gawking at labels and fantasizing about a cellar filled with bottles of first growths. Alas, traveling is not real condusive to purchases of more than a couple bottles.
I purposely brought along my "wine tote" anticipating that special find and bringing it back to New England. A wine tote is a carrier usually made of a canvas type material with two compartments; one side is for one bottle of wine and the other side is supposed to be for carrying two wine glasses. There are also a couple little pockets for storing a cork screw and whatever else might aid your impromptu picnic. (You can find these for $15-$30)
Its primary purpose is for that Summer time outing to the seaside, lakeside or park and you want to bring along a bottle to open as you enjoy God's great outdoors. The compartments are lined with an aluminized substance with reflective and insulating properties with an "R" value probably somewhere around .3. Never-the-less, it does provide some kind of temporary protection of the wine from the scorching extreme of a sun baked vehicle.
With the wine glasses removed, it makes an adequate carry-all for two bottles of wine and fits neatly into a carry-on or suitcase.
Overwhelmed with the selections in front of me, I had my eye on a Beaulieu Vineyards "Georges De Latour" Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon-2001. But instead of just snatching it up, I grabbed one of the so-called wine experts of the store; explained to him my situation of travel and asked him for a couple recommendations of something special I could take back "home."
He said the BV Special Reserve was nice but he unequivocally steered me toward a Darioush 2002 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. It was pricey at $65 but his exhuberance, excitement and unmitigated desire for me to try this wine over many others was compelling.
I then took him over to the Bordeauxs which was a who's who in winedom. I asked him to pick out something in the $30 range that was particularly nice. He gave me a choice of two or three bottles and after some interrogation I settled on the Chateau Leoville Barton 2002--$37.
With my wine tote in tow, I made my purchases and will head back for "home" tommorrow looking for the right opportunity to open each wine with a story and a memory. And there is the beauty of the study; it's more than drinking a beverage as I have written previously. It is about an experience, memories, stories and sharing of life with someone(s) special.
The next time you have to take a trip for business or pleasure, consider taking advantage of the destination to which you're headed and take an expedition or two for that special bottle of wine that might just turn your dreaded obligation into a wonderful adventure. Now raise a glass to our travels back to New England.