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Months and months ago, I went to the Party Source in Newport, KY – the discriminating wino’s choice – and found a bottle of Val Sotillo 1998 that they usually sold for $21.00 on sale for nine. So of course, out of curiosity, I had to try it. So some time later, I finally cracked it open, and had the first glass. I immediately thought I had been burned: tasted so much like graphite that I couldn’t stand it.

I was so bummed that I just left it on the counter uncorked, not fully prepared to just dump it yet; and about three hours later, I was thinking maybe I should try another glass to make sure I really hated it. Well, that’s when the miracle happened in Whoville. Its heart had grown four sizes and it was the best damn glass of wine I’ve ever had.

Bought another bottle after I finished that one swearing that I was going to cellar it. And you know what happens when you swear. I had finished it as well within the week.

Went back to the aforementioned Happiest Place on Earth. They were out. More accurately, there was one bottle left in the computer, but it wasn’t it in the wine storage. It was gone, and I didn’t know where I could get another bottle. I had screwed up, missed my chance to have something I knew to be killer to drop on guests and really make the occasion. I was stuck.

Months intervene, I proceed to drink my way through all cheap 2000 Bordeaux I can find, (making a new best friend in that one) and try various and discrete Italians, even going as far as considering making American Cabernets my new interest. Finally out of boredom, I went back to my old standby Argentine Malbecs, not ever spending more than ten minutes in the wine shop at a time, just grabbing my standbys and jetting back off to wherever.

On an impulse tonight, Chad and I went to the Party Source instead of the usual after work drink and pool game. Wandered around, was showing him to the really great ’02 Protocolo Red that you’d swear they had to steal a truck of to sell at $5.00 a bottle… And I looked down. There it was. lonely… unloved… dusty… the missing bottle of ’98 Val Sotillo had found me.

I won’t let this one slip away. It’s going to be a great occasion when I finally open this stuff.

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