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Dispatch From Aspen: And Then There's the Wine

We'll have a final edition of Hangover Observations tomorrow, but as the '09 Classic winds down, since we've already taken a look at the partying chefs and industry talks, let's acknowledge third part of the equation: the wine. In many ways, the tried and true stars of the show are the wine guys. On a related note, just about everyone we've met literally brings up how lucky San Francisco/Quince is to have poached David Lynch from New York. Dude's a rock star.

But the vino highlight—for us, anyway—was the retrospective of Bill Harlan's Bond Estate, hosted by super sommeliers Paul Roberts (Meadowood), Richard Betts (Aspen), and Robert Bohr (NYC's Cru), pictured here having a revelation. Before starting, Bohr—perhaps speaking on behalf of all of NYC—acknowledged that he wasn't too big on Napa wines (select quote: "I'm not sure if I'm here for comedic value or if I'm just being set up"). But by the end of the tasting that one woman called the best in 15 years at Aspen, Bohr had this to say tweet: "i am now a cali cab convert at least a bond drinker."

1) History lesson quote from Roberts: "In 1979, Bill Harlan bought a bad winery but a pretty good resort in Meadowood." 30 years later...

2) Consider the unbelievable restraint and perfectionism that goes into the Bond Estate winemaking: they produced eight to ten vintages before ever letting go and releasing any bottles. Bohr's analogy: "Imagine if you were a chef perfecting the same dish everyday for nine years and never serving it."

3) Fun fact #1: Bill Harlan has never used a computer or sent an email. He walks around Meadowood with a #2 pencil and yellow legal pad. He has stockpiles of legal pads in his office, including ones with the 100-year plan for the estate (spoiler: his kids will take over and his pros will run it, similar to Napa neighbor Oberon)

4) Fun fact #2: The labels for the Bond Estate bottles (see a visual here) are pretty much an actual currency in their own right. Harlan had special labels custom-made by the largest printer of currency in the world, complete with anti-counterfeit coding and everything. Insane.
· All Coverage From Aspen 2009 [~ESF~]