About a year ago, Jubes pulled out of her cellar a wine I’d recommended for her to keep and enjoy when it was mature. Sometimes such suggestions can come back and bite you in the bum, when the wines haven’t aged that well. But to be fair, we tend to not make too much of an issue if that’s the case. Afterall, who can truly predict how well a wine will age? The wine in question was the 1993 Stonyridge ‘Larose’ Waiheke Island Cabernets. It was green and acidic, but very powerfully blackcurranty. It seemed it could live many years yet, without much change and not much pleasure would be gained by doing so. That’s life. The comparison wine was a 1990 Benfield & Delamare Martinborough Cabernet/Merlot/Franc, which had developed beautifully.
So I thought I’d test myself with a partial re-run. SWMBO and I dug up from the depths of the cellar, my last bottle of 1994 Stonyridge ‘Larose’ Waiheke Island Cabernets. This had been cellared as at the time of purchase, it was a hot prospect and deemed a great example of our interpretation of the Bordeaux style. Waiheke Island was the place! And also a collectable on a more sombre note, it commemorated the passing of Stonyridge’s owner Stephen White’s business partner John McLeod who passed away in 1994. A tribute wine in the true sense.
The wine was still dark-red and the initial impression was of vigour. Blackcurrant flavours prevailing along with a herbal edge. Yes, our viticulture has advanced by leaps and bounds since, and this level of greenness would be too edgy nowadays. Having said that, still sweet, and with some savoury secondary interest too. Complexity in a degree of sorts. Still with tannin grip and with acidity. We had the wine alongside a 2014 Hawke’s Bay Merlot, which showed how far we had come. The 1994 wine wasn’t too dissimilar to the 1993 tasted a year ago. Despite my predictive forecasting on this wine proven wrong, the dinner table guests were very forgiving. The wine was nearly a quarter of a century old. Who can tell where things will be that far ahead?