This month I had the pleasure of attending Heartâ€™s Delight, the 9th annual wine auction extravaganza put on in Washington by the American Heart Association. I wrote
about the event last year, and became involved this year for personal
reasons, hoping to advance the cause of research into heart disease.
Iâ€™m pleased to say the event earned nearly $1.2 million for the AHA,
and that I may have contributed to some very small part of that. (My
personal lot of an in-home wine tasting, with the Washington Wine
Academy, had attracted exactly zero interest in the silent auction about
20 minutes before the end of bidding â€“ but I wonâ€™t take that
Heartâ€™s Delight is sponsored primarily by Addy Bassinâ€™s MacArthur Liquors,
one of D.C.â€™s premier wine retailers, and enjoys tremendous support
of winemakers from Bordeaux. The event covers three evenings: Thursday
features dinners at restaurants, embassies and private homes with
winemakers, winery principals or ambassadors. This year, I enjoyed a
wonderful evening at the Chilean embassy, hosted by Ambassador Mariano
FernĂˇndez and his wife, MarĂa AngĂ©lica Morales, and featuring the
wines of CousiĂ±o-Macul.
Friday evening is a grand gala that features the wines of a
Bordeaux first-growth chĂ˘teau and a live auction. This yearâ€™s
Saturdayâ€™s events began with a tasting of 27 Bordeaux from
2004. This was touted as a â€œclassicâ€ vintage, which to me is
winemaker speak for â€œaverage.â€ But after the super-hot 2003 with its
alcoholic and flabby wines, and before the superb 2005 with its
skyrocketing futures prices, the 2004 Bordeaux could indeed be a
relative bargain. My favorites from the tasting: ChĂ˘teau Palmer on the high end, at $110, and ChĂ˘teau Corbin,
a modest but delicious St. Emilion, at the low-end of the price scale
at $20. There were no wines I disliked, suggesting that 2004 is indeed a
strong vintage to buy, but others that especially impressed me included
ChĂ˘teau Lagrange ($40), ChĂ˘teaux Pontet-Canet ($50), ChĂ˘teau Cos dâ€™Estournel ($69), ChĂ˘teau dâ€™Issan ($35), and ChĂ˘teau La Couspaude
($45). Which, if you know your Bordeaux wineries, pretty much straddles
the appellations and the Cabernet or Merlot-dominated areas.
The festivities culminated with tastings of food from
restaurant chefs around the country and many more wines, a silent
auction, and finally another live auction to raise money for a very
worthy cause. I hope that if you live in or near DC and have an interest
in (and wallet for) fine wine, you will join the party next May. And if
you are in the trade, please consider contributing to Heartâ€™s Delight
and helping someone dear to me and, perhaps, someone dear to you.
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