Friday, February 22, 2008

And the Oscar Goes To…

During the pre-awards Red Carpet telecast, Oscar nominees are repeatedly bombarded with the same tired question: “Who are you wearing?”

If I had my druthers, there would be a Post-Awards show live from the dinner and parties. And, if I were holding the microphone, the first thing I’d ask is: “Who are you drinking?”

Well, dear Sipsters, I can tell you which wine the stars will be
drinking at the Governor’s Ball gala after the 80th annual Academy Awards are doled out…

Sterling VineyardsVP of Winemaking Mike Westrick and Winemaker Chris Millard will lavish A-Listers with their specially-created - in very limited quantity - Red Carpet Reserve Cabernet and Gold Standard Reserve Chardonnay. The wines will be paired with a multi-course gala dinner whipped up by Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck, for more than 1500 guests.

Sterling has been providing the wine for the exclusive dinner for the past five years. They started making these specialty wines, especilly for this event, four years ago. There are only a few hundred cases of this wine in existence, and each bottle is numbered. The back label also bears the signatures of both Millard and Westrick.

I have the exceptional honor of receiving my very own bottle of Red Carpet Reserve Cabernet, this week. (It is number 0970 out of 3948 bottles produced.) I had to grapple with the decision to open in so I could tell you all about it, or save it, as it is surely a collector’s item.

Out of dedication to Sipsters everywhere and for the integrity of this post, I opened the bottle so as to report in all honesty that this 2004 vintage is one of the most wonderful wines I’ve had the pleasure to sip – and knowing I got to try it even before the movie s
tars do made it that much more delicious!

The Red Carpet Reserve blends the finest pick of Sterling's Cabernet Sauvignon lots mingled with Petit Verdot and Merlot. When poured into the glass, the first outstanding characteristic is the dark, rich plum color… almost chocolatey, in appearance. Just looking at it made my taste buds stand on end! When swirled around the glass, taunting aromas escape the swarthy elixir foreshadowing what's to come. Fruity, spicy, earthy… I had to bite my lip to force myself to let it sit in the glass for a moment. (I like to let a special red wine settle in the glass before I take a sip.)

When I finally allowed myself to indulge in the first taste, my senses went reeling. Rich layers of black cherry with hints of vanilla and clove? Nutmeg? Allspice? Something that reminded me of Christmas dinner and a roaring fire… The tannins finish left my tongue feeling like it was swathed in a little velvet evening wrap.

Ah. Heaven. I suddenly felt guilty for not saving this for a special occasion, or sharing it with someone I lo
ve. Jason is in Singapore, and I was sorry that by the time he gets back this wine will be long gone.

I drank one glass. I corked the bottle and set it aside.

All through American Idol, that bottle sat staring at me in my most cozy plush pajamas. I stared back at it. Finally, I reached over and poured myself a second glass.

I didn’t feel guilty anymore. Instead, I relished that I could be spoiled in such divine luxury all alone on a weeknight. Sieze the moment, Carpe Diem, as they say.

I awarded myself the Oscar for true and absolute decadence.

Who was I wearing? Victoria’s Secret

Who was I drinking? My very own numbered bottle of Sterling Vineyards Red Carpet Reserve

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