Friday, October 25, 2013

acclimating with the first few bottles

2008 Llopart Microcosmos Rosé Brut Nature Reserva | DO Cava
2011 Acústic Celler Blanc | DO Montsant
L. MMX Equipo Navazos | La Bota de Vino Blanco 44 "florpower"

Hard work breeds character and is the bedrock of success. Right. But just as I'm learning all this great new stuff, my bad habits from undergrad are resurfacing again. Oops. But it's a slow process to maximum productivity. I'll get there. Eventually. Hopefully.

This has been a rough two weeks. Fresh off of completing my first midterm of grad school this past weekend, another packed week of coursework as we prepare for the rest of our midterms next week. Not a single moment to take a breathe, to recover and reflect a bit. I have a feeling the program administrators and professors are trying to see when we'll all break, because at this pace, it's almost a certainty that it will happen. They call it a marathon, but what happens when you're made to sprint the entire way?

Resetting with some wine. Not anything I had recently, tristemente, but my first few bottles in Barcelona. The Cava and Equipo Navazos picked up in Vila Viniteca, a little gem of a wine shop just off of Plaça Sant Jaume; the Montsant from Plaisirs du Vin at Pedralbes Centre. Wine is not cheap in this city, first off. Sure, the supermarket has the 2€ bottles, but if we're talking quality - real quality - you're still looking at more than 10€. Starting with the Llopart Microcosmos, beautifully ripe and open with our seafood that night. Made for great conversation with the flatmates as well. Wine doing as it should - bringing light and joy to the dinner table.

The Acústic Celler Blanc, a really interesting garnacha blanca. I've been drinking a lot of Montsant here, and these (white) wines seem to combine a ripeness and power with superb elegance and finesse. A real tightrope they're all walking, but they pull it off beautifully. A 14% abv wine that I neglected and abused, leaving the open bottle on my desk in the sun for a week. But it keeps that floral quality, that sublime waxy texture, real balance and tension.

Right, and then the Equipo Navazos La Bota de Vino Blanco 44 'florpower', which deserves its own paragraph. A wine for the nerds, the hipsters, the obsessives. The reason they label it as L. MMX is that the regulatory bodies haven't yet allowed them to label the actual vintage - 2010. This is 100% palomino fino from Sanlúcar. Aged 32 months under flor, 8 months in sherry casks, 2 years in tank, and left unfortified. Really pushing the boundaries of what sherry actually is, and what the region can produce. Read more here. Stunning. Simply stunning in that jaw-dropping, heart-thumping, appendage-raising way. Savoury aromas that remind of good fino sherry, that salinity, that minerality, that smokiness. Sublime elegance on the palate, with lift and fabulous dry extract. Tense and linear, chiselled and firm all over. An amazing experience that challenges you, baffles you, and ultimately wins you over with its strength of personality and conviction.

Can we carry any of this attitude over to the MBA? What I can say is that I'm happy to be surrounded by so many talented, smart classmates. So many of them are already so polished, so sure in their expertise and talent. And here I am, not getting enough sleep, not being productive enough, not having enough to contribute in class. We'll get there. I keep telling myself that, especially after the day I had today - a full day of classes, 2 hours of Spanish afterwards, then another 3 hours of accounting study with my team. Despite all the moaning though, this program has been fantastic. I mean we give professors extended ovations here at the end of classes. I've never, ever been in this kind of environment before, surrounded by so many bright people. And this is just the beginning. I'm excited ... and hopeful.


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