Saturday, November 13, 2010

Talbott Chardonnay `91 (not TJ's) ****

It came from the beer drawer.  Actually, when we were digging around in the cellar, JPH grabbed the bottle and said "this was a GREAT wine back in the day, let's bring it upstairs". Then it languished for a week or so, waiting for the day that JPH would cook an appropriate dish for this grand old Chardonnay that had been taking up precious real-estate in his beer drawer....

Once upon a time, it was a hearty, buttery, lush Chardonnay from Talbott Vineyards in California. For almost twenty years, it has been waiting in the cellar(s) (a few moves since purchase) for it's moment to shine.  Tonight was the night.

We were worried.  Was it too late?  We had a great bottle in reserve just in case.  When JPH let me do the honors of piercing the foil, we were right to be worried.  It was a musty and brittle cork.  He went to get the good corkscrew with the long worm.  He opened it, and the bottom of the cork was sound.  There was a refreshing POP. S quickly wiped the mold from the mouth of the bottle ( note to self: always wipe the mold from the bottle that you are about to drink from - yikes, I just remembered that my transplant surgeon could read this, of course I ALWAYS wipe the mold from the bottles that I am about to drink from - well, from now on....) I put the first glass aside.  I had learned form the `89 Chateau Montelena that the first glass isn't always the best. I still don't know why, but tonight proved true, that first glass tasted NOTHING like the subsequent glasses from the bottle.

First thought: Fragile.  S correctly noted that this wine should NOT be aerated.  First sip - A flash of butter and depth, then it was like drinking the atomized mist of what once was.  There was flavor.  A light taste- not citrus, not richness, but something faint like fragile flowers. It is easy to say what this wine is not.  As to what this wine was, well, that is a bit harder to describe.  It was easy to drink.  There was no taste of ETOH at all.  It was golden, really beautiful, there was no taste of oak, yet there was a magical thickness to my tongue after I drank a mouthful - tannic texture but no taste or tannins. That was interesting, and not something that I taste very often. Between the three of us, the bottle didn't last long.

JPH paired it PERFECTLY with his Fish Pie with Rosti Caper Topping (from Delia Smith's Winter Collection).  Subtle taste with subtle taste equals sublime flavor. Sublime,  that is the word that I will use for this wine.  Yeah, sometimes wine gets lost in the cellar and a few years go by, but this wine, although past it's richness peak, maintained a flavor profile that was subtle, but extremely drinkable. And it's always fun to dust off a bottle and taste a gem.

No comments:

Post a Comment