The impetus had been gathering for a gathering. One had a devastating loss just a short while ago, and the many friends and acquaintances happened to realise that today was a time that we could all meet, eat, drink and see light in our lives, following on from tougher times. And even though there were a few of us who had not met properly before, in true fashion, there were only one or two degrees of separation...
The wines that turned up were many and varied, but I worked my way through the following. Firstly whites, a 2007 S.A. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, deliciously sweet and minerally, loved by all there, but resting on sugar in the final analysis. Then came a 2009 Starborough Marlborough Pinot Gris, subtly exotic, and easy to miss, following on from the Mosel wine. And a surprisingly structured and lolly-fruited 2009 Vynfields Pinot Rose. Still quite thirst-quenching, though a year after the latest release.
A couple of new reds followed on. A 2004 Conde de Valdemar Rioja Reserva, fresh, berried, up-front and thoroughly modern. Most people at the gathering loved it. To me, it started well, but did not finish. Nothing wrong with it, but just not the satisfaction the traditional Rioja can provide. Next was a 2005 Sacred Hill 'Brokenstone' Merlot. Just starting to see some game notes. Brett? I don't know or think so, though SWMBO believed it there. But sweet and clean, with no drying out. Just all there in great proportion, juiciness and ripeness. A star for me.
The serious reds followed on. History for many of us. 1983 Coopers Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. Grunty, herbaceous and grubby. Microbiological spoilage, or maybe rodent spoilage? The size of the wine was a residue of how this might have been impressive two decades plus ago. Then a 1984 Abel & Co Cabernet Sauvignon. Leafy and stalky, but with fruit sweetness and a silky texture. Drinkable really. Final in this triple trio treat was a 1985 Cooks Private Bin Cabernet Sauvignon. Light, ripe, but insubstantial. Easy to drink a not-much-there wine. But is that really pleasant? Well, this was not unpleasant.
Then The Angel brought out her specially saved Villa Maria Reserve Noble Riesling 1998. Golden, caramelised barley-sugar with a touch of oxidation. Rich, but acidic. Not ugly, but a former shadow of the beauty it once had. Some residue of grace was detectable. It would have been delectable a decade ago. There was nothing to follow on, but then again, there was no need.