Friday, May 26, 2017

Aged and Sturdy

As people, we tend to grow more frail with age.  The same with most wines.  They mellow out and become smoother.  Sometimes their character intensifies, but generally, they are lighter and more background wines that beg to be approached and investigated.  Occasionally they get a bit decrepit and show some nasty or ‘off’ habits.  The way wines do this with extended bottle maturation invariably intrigues most drinkers.
Scotty put on his special annual dinner, and pulled out a few oldies.  One was a ‘1950s’ McDonald Tara-dale Hawke’s Bay Cabernet.  Made by the legendary Tom McDonald, considered to be the father of modern red wine in Hawke’s Bay and indeed New Zealand.  Without a vintage date on the bottle, it was conjecture as to the actual vintage, but Scotty’s experience and collection of older wines indicated that this was the correct period.  On pouring, it had lost much of its colour, now quite pale.  On bouquet, green and leafy notes, along with berryfruit and a whack of aldehydes.  But no oxidation or grubbiness.  The alcohol behind the aromas came through with some force.  On palate a dry wine, the alcohol the driving force and structure behind it.  Some green curranty fruit still there, but faded in the glass.  Fortified wine-like notes remained, with the alcohol bite, and aldehyde plus rancio hints.  Though the varietal character had faded, the wine remained sturdy.  They built the wines like that on them old days.  Plenty of maceration and extraction, and not being afraid of a bit of alcohol to bolster it all up.  What an interesting wine to taste indeed. 

No comments:

Post a Comment