Clearing out yet another row of unwanted wines from a wine rack that we care not to look at, because the thought of opening the wines there have very little appeal. They are in essence ‘no hope whites’, but the demand for storage space for new wines that SWMBO has acquired meant that taking the corks out and tasting them was a must. We take the view that if the producer put the wine to bottles, they should at least be tasted, no matter where or when…
The younger wines first. A 1995 Te Horo ‘Aurora’ Sauvignon Blanc, at 11.5%. From Marlborough fruit, the year that it rained and rained, and made by the ever-so-enthusiastic Alastair Pain in the Kapiti Coast. Light golden straw colour, this had a reasonably vinous nose that was identifiably varietal, soft and not asparagus-like at all. However, thin and very acidic, and faded to not much on palate. Surprisingly in condition after all it had against it! This was paired, time frame wise, with a 1996 Villa Maria Private Bin Gisborne Chardonnay, at 13.0%, and “aged in French and American barriques”. Deep golden, but still together on the nose. Over-ripe melon fruits with some oxidation. And as expected blowsy and overblown now, the ripe fruit going heavy, and quite toasty from the oak. It was holding up, but on its last legs. SWMBO bought this after it was highly rated by various authorities, and it has done well.
Then onto the serious stuff (not!) A 1985 Montana ‘Wohnsiedler’ Muller-Thurgau, at 10.5% alc, proudly showing two NWC gold medals for 1983 and 1984. Orange coloured, very oxidised, and quite a thin, nothing wine. Even when it is passed its best, Muller-Thurgau can show its weakness! And the a 1987 Montana Marlborough Valley Chardonnay at 12.0% alc., fruit from the Woodbourne Estate, aged 12 months in French Nevers oak. TA of 8.2 g/L and it shows. Sophisticated for the giant Montana in its day, but now full-golden coloured, green nectarine fruit on bouquet, but aged and oxidised, but very oaky and spicy. The palate extremely acidic, and the toastiness from the oak sticking out.
Sure they were 'no hope whites’, but there was something to learn from them. To the winemakers responsible, my apologies for not opening them and drinking them at their proper times.