Sunday, July 1, 2012

What's In Your Cellar, Rasoul?

Rasoul Salehi
Lastella, Le Vieux Pin
Executive Director @ Enotecca,

As the public face of not one, but two Okanagan wineries, Rasoul spends a lot of his time evangelising the merits of the premium wines produced in the Okanagan Valley. Both the wineries and his own collection draw inspiration from the classic wine regions of France and Italy.

Q - What are your favourite wines to cellar/collect?
Like an investment portfolio I like to keep it balanced and not so to speak put all my eggs in one basket. Having said that vast majority of wines I cellar are:

Sparkling: pretty much solely growers Champagne aka farmer fizz. No other sparkler (except a rare Cava or a rare Cremant) has so much depth, complexity and ability to evolve and get more interesting with age. Not to mention how well they pair with so many variety of dishes.

Whites: very Chablis focused. Love the typicity here. Chablis in hands of good growers makes honest wines. Wines that speak truly of their vintage (growing conditions), age, method of winemaking and of course the rare kimmeridgian soil they are planted on. Often imitated, never duplicated. Love the tension on the finish: the richness combined with laser like focus and acidity.

Q - What are your favourite wine regions to cellar/collect?
Chablis/blanc de blanc grower Champagne, Piedmont Nebbiolo based wines, Northern Rhone reds, traditionally made Brunello and red Burgundy

Q - What inspired you to hold onto that first bottle or case beyond when it was ready to drink?
When early on when I got hit by the wine bug I was able to have a young Bordeaux on release and a day after were able to have the same wine with 20 years of age on it. The change was huge. The complexities and nuances gained by time was utterly mind blowing.

Q - Was there a particular bottle or region of wine that was the impetus of starting your collection?
A bottle of NV Krug champagne with half dozen year of bottle age post disgorgement.

Q - What is the purpose of your wine cellar/collection?
To share with friends and to watch the evolution of each wine as I often buy each label in half case volume or more.

Q - Any particular duds or disappointments of note?
Prematurely oxidized quarts de chaumes, and many prematurely oxidized white burgundies from early 2000s. Also few random cases of 03 Burgundy, 03 Chateaneuf du Pape and red Bordeaux. Find them all to be one dimensional, prune-y and do not eloquently tell the story of where they come from.

Q - How do you store your collection?
We turned a room in our condo into a cellar with a temp/humidity control unit designated to this room. Temp kept at 58-60.

 Q - What causes you to actually pull the trigger on a special bottle from your cellar?
Simple. When like minded people are gathered together that’s a good enough occasion.

Q - Would perusing your wine cellar offer any insight into you as a person?
I think so. I go for difficult wines. Wines that demand your attention and can be very stubborn. Wines that are nuanced rather than hitting you over the head with their fruit and other loud notes. Wines that give more or equally high amounts of intellectual pleasure as opposed to just hedonistic pleasures.

Q - What advice would you share to anyone wanting to start a collection of wine?
Don’t buy heavy in any and I mean any category. Your taste will definitely change. Also don’t go buy in big breadth either. I mean have some sort of a focus either region or grape variety, just not to define in the beginning. If you spread too thin it takes a hell of a lot longer to learn what you like and what you don’t like. Finally join a tasting group or two or three or four or create one. Best way of learning is doing group tastings with various themes. Some themes can be super narrow like Cabernet from a sub appellation within Napa of the same vintage or as broad as Cabernet of the world within all price range.

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2012

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