Friday, July 24, 2009

Not Lost

After a long break for medical reasons, where I haven't touched a drop of alcohol (intentionally), I had my first foray back into the world of tasting wine. They say that radiotherapy and chemotherapy can cause a loss of ability to taste, but it can come back.

Over dinner last week, SWMBO served a basic Chardonnay and pretty decent Pinot Gris (names to remain anonymous). Easy to smell the difference, but on the palate alcohol and acidity were the over-riding sensations rather than taste. We knew it was only a start, but it had us a little worried.

Then this week, a full-blown wine tasting of a range of wines from Mission Estate Winery from Hawke's Bay. The latest and new releases looked good and particularly significant for me was that the nose was sensitive to the nuances and the palate was distinguishing most components, though not to the discernment I'm normally used to.

Anyway, to report on the two relatively older wines, the 2000 Mission Reserve Syrah had not aged well, sour and gamey, and somewhat unattractively secondary, though it had some fans among those tasting it. However, the 2001 Misssion 'Jewelstone' Syrah had developed majestically, retaining varietal florals, pepper and spices with dark berries, while showing some lovely cedar and game evolution. This bodes well for Mission, especially their current 2007 'Jewelstone' Syrah. There's more being released if you look hard, so if you ain't got any, you're not lost.

Im' glad my sense of taste is not lost. A bit of practice over the future will help for sure.