Finding Comfort in a Bottle of Familiar Wine

Finding Comfort in a Bottle of Familiar Wine

My friend Eric Ambel, a guitarist and producer in Brooklyn, said he was looking for “good old drinkability.” He mentioned two reds, both excellent values, that he gets from his local wine shop: Domaine des 2 Ânes Corbières L’Enclos, a biodynamic blend from Languedoc, and Aurora Barbera from Cantine Volpi, a fresh, organic red from the Piedmont region of Italy.

Jancis Robinson, the editor or co-author of essential works like “The Oxford Companion to Wine,” “The World Atlas of Wine” and “Wine Grapes,” finds refuge in port. “The sweetness is utterly comforting, the alcohol ditto,” she said.

Some find their current life experiences to be shaping their desires. Kelli White, a sommelier and wine writer, and her husband, Scott Brenner, a sommelier and winemaker, moved to Portland, Ore., from Napa Valley a few years ago, and now are just about to move back to Napa, where Ms. White is taking a new job.

Their period of social distancing has mostly been spent packing, including their wine collection.

“We’ve been selecting wines based more on emotional resonance than on any particular flavor profile,” she said. “For example, a 2009 Domaine Mercouri Estate Red that commemorates our first trip to Greece, and a 1985 Togni Cabernet Sauvignon that is one of our favorite wines from our time in Napa.

“In short, we’re opening the good stuff.”

Paul Einbund, a sommelier and proprietor of the Morris, a restaurant in San Francisco, was on his way to Norway by way of Paris with his wife, Vanessa, to celebrate her birthday. But Norway closed its borders and they were stuck in Paris, which has been locked down.

Luckily for Mr. Einbund, he keeps a stash of his own wine in Paris, and has access to many great bottles, which they have consumed liberally at the apartment of a friend, where they are staying.

Ordinarily, he said, he would select for comfort something like a demi-sec Vouvray, which has a touch of sweetness, or a fruity zinfandel that would be easy to guzzle.

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