The past two weekends have included revelatory wine experiences, and while I generally try to keep from rambling on in my journal about wine because I lack the art of colourful phrasing to make it of interest to anyone but myself, these must be noted.
Last Friday, Meshel and I went to a free tasting of various Malbecs (and one Torrontes) from Trapiche Wines. The exciting thing about this was that we got to sequentially taste basically the same wine from 2008 aged 3 different ways. There was first the un-oaked Malbec, then came one that was aged in oak for 12 months (Oak Cask), and finally one aged in oak for 15 months (Broquel). The 12-month actually tasted more identifiably oak-y to me than the 15 month, which I suppose means I still have some more exploring to do regarding spotting oak influence. Meshel preferred the Oak Cask, while I wound up purchasing a bottle of the Broquel because it smelled like Thanksgiving. I think perhaps the shorter ageing brought out the vanilla and creamy aspects more while the slightly longer brought out more spice.
Then we got to taste their 3 single-vineyard bottlings from 2007, which retail for close to $50 each. These 3 wines were all vinified in the same manner but the grapes for each were sourced from different vineyards, thus being a wonderful demonstration of terroir. All three were dramatically different. Really. I believed in this in concept before, but it was wonderful to taste it. Meshel and I both enjoyed the first two quite a bit and found the third unremarkable. Meshel's favourite was the Viña Adolfo Ahumada, while mine was the Domingo F. Sarmiento, which was so aromatically wonderful that I probably could have been convinced to pay almost $50 to sit around and smell it all night.
Saturday night, Meshel and David and I tasted bottles from my cellar, which provided more new lessons for my palate. I brought a 1996 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2003 St. Supery Elu and a 2004 Blair Fox Syrah. The Burgess was the first Cab I've tasted over 10 years old, and I found myself quite enjoying the flavours that had developed in the bottle but having difficulty figuring out a vocabulary for them. There was a definite element of dry fallen leaves on the nose that was part of what I found so captivating and some earthiness on the palate, but there was so much more that was subtly making up the scent and flavour behind that which I was at a loss to identify. Unsurprisingly, aged wine and aged cheese paired beautifully. And the experience will encourage me to let a number of bottles in my cellar age gracefully rather than giving in to curiosity now.
I had been a bit nervous about bringing the Elu, since the 2002 incarnation had been the first wine that really made me take an interest in exploring it. I had tasted the 2003 last under less than ideal conditions when pondering whether to pick up 3 of them on a discount site so I could get free shipping, and didn't find it as amazing as the 2002, but still well worth the purchase. I feared that my friends wouldn't share my enthusiasm for the St Supery Meritages, but that proved unfounded. We were all amazed by the way this wine changed with every sip while it was in the glass, starting out rather floral and acidic, then picking up smoke and cocoa and finally a sudden explosion of raspberry after an hour or two. It also gained body in the glass, and we just wanted to keep inhaling and sipping it forever. I was also inspired to pick up a couple of bottles of the 2002 so I can experience that again as I only had a single life-changing 375ml of it originally.
Against these other two, the Syrah was perfectly acceptable but rather unremarkable, and I really only mention it because when I re-opened the bottle tonight after 3 days in my refrigerator, it was far more enjoyable.
The previous weekend I had spent in Michigan on a wine-tasting mission (and was quite fortunate to have Daniel, who doesn't drink, as my companion and driver), but it seems that should be another post another time.
If anyone has read this far and isn't yet planning on coming to my International Genache Day wine tasting on September 24th, perhaps you should.