Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wine 8

This week, a real treat. This was a pretty typically light and fruity Mosel Valley Spätlese Riesling, twenty-odd years ago. Now, it's taken on a very serious character, and the overt fruity tones typical of that region have softened. The wine carries the slate soil of the region on its earthy nose. There is a hint of something curious on the wine, almost the smell of algae and old books. The fruit, although muted, is still present, and has picked up apricot and, very distinctly, celery.
This Riesling, sweet and late-harvested, has taken a sour overtone which is not at all unpleasant. It tastes immediately of Granny-Smith apples, tangy and crisp, and softens to a smoky, oily finish that has, unfortunately, begun to cork a little. The flavor resolves to a gentle tobacco flavor, and lingers quietly at the back of the nose. This is the rare white that seems able to stand up to twenty-five years in a cellar.
I'm pretty sure I haven't been treating this wine as well as it deserves. I think it would benefit from spending time in a proper cellar. My storage is out of direct sunlight and the temperature remains pretty constant, but probably not at what you'd call “right.” I'm sure that, were I an expert or even willing to do the research necessary, I'd probably keep my wine in an enclosed room with carefully controlled circulation, 50% humidity controlled by an electronic system and a special thermostat to keep the wine between 55 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
But I don't. I keep my wine in a back closet, in a rack (which does, I'm not a barbarian, encourage air circulation), out of direct sunlight. My house is probably closer to 78 degrees and the humidity changes with the whims of the Texas breezes.
Despite this, the wine has held up remarkably.
I'll admit, this is a kind of curiosity in my collection. I didn't buy this wine in 1982. I probably bought it a scant 8 years ago, in honor of my younger brother's 21st birthday, he having also been born in 1982. I bought several bottles for him, and a couple for myself. I still have a few held back for his upcoming 30th, and I'm hoping the rest hold up as well as the one I've opened today.

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