Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stamina/Old Wine

For so many folks the holidays are a wonderful and joyful, albeit stressful time of year. Not to belittle the work of anyone working in other sectors, but for those in the retail and service industries you especially can relate to the 'stressful' descriptor. Extra long lines to manage, harried customers to appease, additional hours to work in addition to the seasonal assortment of holiday preparation and partying. All of this would explain the paucity of material on this site of late. I'm in the midst of working 11 of 12 days, so maintaining stamina is key. Unfortunately, blogging has not been part of the regimen of late. Setting aside time for chorizo making, however, has been - look for a post on that soon. For now, though, how about some notes for older wines drunk recently? The Bordeaux and Silver Oak were all large format, I think 6L but cannot remember for certain.

1981 Cos d'Estournel St Estephe

Mature traditional Bordeaux nose, nothing too exciting. Rustic dark cherry fruits were shy and restrained initially, gaining more depth, floral qualities, and intrigue as it opened up in the glass. No revelation, but no slouch either, especially, I imagine, if you spend a bit more time with it than I did.

1986 Chateau Bellegrave Pauillac

Somewhat smoky nose. Red fruited palate that initially impressed for its brightness and proceeded to disappoint with a hollow feel on the mid-palate and a short finish.

1988 Chasse-Spleen Moulis en Medoc

Unyielding, or perhaps drying out? This was a quick 1 oz taste, not too carefully considered. And I must admit some prejudice as I have found this particular wine to be unexciting when tasted several times over the past few years. 1989, much better.

1983 Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Classic, spicy, dill inflected American oak driven nose. Fruit tastes clipped and has no purity, intensity or length. Not much to like on the palate, unfortunately. Didn't do it for me.

1955 Sandeman Port

Very herbal, sort of eucalypt/medicinal like aromas and flavors. Sweet red fruit. Yep, still quite sweet. While I may change my tune after tasting more older Taylor, as of yet the vintage port rarely makes me notice or care to drink it, let alone purchase it and drink it.

1973 D'Oliveira Verdelho

Yes! Deep chestnut honey colored, the wine has a terrific interplay of acid, dark brown sugar sweetness, and subtle spice notes. Hints of vanilla creme brulee. A winner.

1988 Barbeito Sercial Frasqueira

Holy shit! This golden-amber colored madeira has just a hint of residual sugar and a whole lot of acid. Be sure to decant it after opening to get this one going. And go it will. For the money, this is my favorite Madeira of the year. Granted, I've only had a half dozen or so madeiras this year, but given their performance this will definitely have to change in 2011.

1864 Averys Solera Madeira

Yes, you are reading this correctly. Some Civil War era madeira, or at least that's when the solera was formed. It was likely bottled in the 1960's, I believe, by the long established Bristol based wine merchant. This had a nice balance of sweet, dried fruits and spicy intrigue, though it definitely showed a bit of fatigue in the way that an older bottling of solera fortified wine can show. Sort of an element of grandma's old spice rack combined with her old brown liquor in the bar.