Monday, February 13, 2017

Holistic Thinking and Drinking

One of the easiest traps for wine lovers can fall into is letting a relatively minor fault totally ruin the experience of a wine.  Wine judges and critics are prone to do so, so that the appearance of a little volatile acidity or brettanomyces consigns the wine to the rubbish heap, never to be re-looked at again.  It’s a moving feast for sure, as faults such as reduction are nowadays seen as positive in small doses that give complexity.  The more consummate wine judges and appreciators take a holistic approach, and take the wine as a whole.  Most wines have degrees of positives and negatives, and as long as the negatives don’t intrude too much, there is plenty of pleasure to be had, even in a wine where a fault registers.
So it was at a celebratory dinner.  The Young One had just passed another milestone, so it was time to have a nice meal at one of the posh eateries in town with Jo-Lo, SWMBO and Moi.  We had a nice Champers and then a Riesling.  Then the big one – 1998 Penfolds ‘Grange’.  Purchased in 2003, with a staff discount, it was $315.00 in cost.  Nowadays, this legendary wine could fetch three times that amount.  But it was not about the cost, but the taste.  I can report it was a gorgeous wine in many ways.  Beautifully ripe and sweet fruit.  Deliciously smooth and silky in texture, and lovely, lovely finesse of extraction.  Weight and with a presence second to none, but remarkably elegant and slippery.   The acidity perfect.  The oaking perfect.  A fantastic rendition of Grange for the modern world without any hint of rusticity.  But, there was a touch of cork taint.  Sometimes you smelt it.  Sometimes you could taste it.  It came and went.  When it was there, it distracted.  When it wasn’t, the wine was sublime.  We could imagine the wine that much richer and out there if not affected.  But as it was, it had style, if the TCA wasn’t in front of you.  Needless to say, we took the holistic approach and finished the bottle. 

No comments:

Post a Comment