Monday, December 23, 2013

Report from ... Dave and I Open a '96 - December 23, 2013

Whenever possible, when I am in Michigan, I stop by my favourite wine store, Champane Wine Cellars, and in doing so I like to meet up with my good friend Dave, if for nothing else then to get to his recent best buy wines selections of choice ... The best visits are those when we both have some time and we retire to the back room to sip on something interesting - this evening Dave gave me a choice of half a dozen wines, and while all sounded like they would be good I went for the most unlikely choice:  a bottle of 1996 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon.

Of course, as seems to be the way these days when I open (or I witness an opening) a bottle of older wine, the cork breaks in half.  That didn't deter Dave, though it did get us into a big discussion about an 'ah-so' style two-pronged wine opener - I know I have one somewhere but have misplaced it, Dave says he has never owned one at all - both of us realize we'd better get one if we're to open our older bottles and drink them without bits of cork floating in the glass.

Once opened things started to mature very quickly.  The nose started with an earthy, forest floor sensation which it never gave up.  I'm positive I could smell alcohol in the mix too, though the wine was listed at 13.5% on the label.  Thankfully the alcohol aroma blew off and was replaced  by dried currants (short-lived), cedar-wood and those foresty floor notes.

Palate was a downward spiral of flavours:  it started off relatively okay with a touch of chocolate in amongst some spice and foresty notes along with the grit of tannins; the chocolate was also short-lived and within 10 minutes was gone, but the rest remained.  Thru the next hour anise, woody, white pepper and cedar also appeared on the tongue - there also seemed to be a hint of baker's cocoa complete with all its grit and chalkiness.  But the real drawback to this wine was the hollow middle that seemed to get deeper and deeper the longer it sat open.

Dave and I parted company, wished each other the best of the season and Dave promised to try the wine again the next day - the result was the a dead wine.  We had been drinking one that had been on the decline for awhile, Dave just got to drink it upon its death.  But it's all interesting, every last drop.

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