i did not expect to see oprah at this event, but there she was in all her sunny yellow glory. and she did sparkle like a light in all directions as she moved through the barrel room; which was stripped of its usual tightly aging contents and filled with hundreds of auction barrels open and out for tasting. as oprah and i tasted around the room, separately together, we found fun new selections from some of our favorite producers. barrels are tough – they can leave a lot to the imagination – but it’s good practice to taste through them and fill in the layers where you think they will be later on in the bottle.

from my notes: i loved the d r stephans ’06 cab – floral and jam with a soft nose. the provenance was good as well and pride’s buttered up cabernet put a cookie in my nose and took me to another world. carter turned their blend upside down with a sleek petite verdot heavy wine that delivered showers of peppery ripe fruit and the polished gemstone blend was a rich hit as well – with tasters and bidders alike.

it was the mondavi tokalon that knocked me out – and i don’t think it was simply sentiment that made this wine tremendous, an ’07 at that.

i barely got outside. woodhouse chocolate had a table full of love that i somehow couldn’t tear myself from. and so i stayed, inside the cool, swirling my drop of mondavi around like precious medicine in my glass, deciding on my next move, just a breath behind oprah.



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