The Two Years Delay
It has almost been five years, the last blog clocked in October 2015. Looking back at the blog about “chicken poop” of the Bordelais, it still triggers silly grin. Somehow the once upon a time determination to post a blog every month, faded with distraction of life and work. Luckily the uncorking has not ceased albeit a little inconsistent ever since. I was about to share the post about some of the old world wine tasted two years ago, but more distraction came along the way. So, here you are, the post that was delayed for two years!
The Beginning of the Old World Wine
Rioja has been my favourite. The very special “cuvee” of La Rioja Alta, named Viña Ardanza Reserva, is celebrating their 75 year anniversary in 2017. I had the opportunity to try the 2001 Reserva Especial, one of the three vintages (the others were 1973 and 1964) that carried the extra label Especial, before this 2008. Seven Years of difference did not set the two Rioja a world apart. Both were exceptional. Quite similar taste profile, the younger one was more balanced than its sibling. Yet, I am still fascinated by the curios “co-existence” of young and aged properties of the older sibling. The 2008 may not bear the Especial label, but it marked the first Viña Ardanza Reserva that used all the grapes (about 80% Tempranillo and the rest Garnacha) from La Rioja Alta‘s own vineyard.
It was May last year when I uncorked the first bottle. The last
2008 Viña Ardanza Reserva bottle was on the table a week ago during an Oyster feast dinner. Of course we paired the lovely French oysters with a beautiful Chablis while saving the savoring Rioja at the end of the meal just to enjoy this Spanish old world wine.
Too bad it was the last bottle in my wine fridge as I would love to have more of this for it is drinking very well now.
Will keep en eye on it.
Moving on to the Bordeaux
Bordeaux wine has been enjoying their status of the cream of the cream in the realm of old world wine. The mighty Gran Cru Classes of 1855, although sounded rather hierarchical, has been the biblical guide to many wine lovers, both professionals and non-professionals. Some regard this classification as outdated. Other had launched counter campaigns, attempting to revive the classification system to be more updated and relevant. However, no other recognized classification has yet to overtake the status of the mighty Gran Cru Classes. Using the Gran Cru Classes to gauge the quality of the wine might not be full proved, yet it has been a general guide for many. The wine merchants are definitely not shy in using the classification to set their price tags.
I purchased the 2008 Chateau Leoville Barton, Second Growths (Deuxièmes Crus) of Grand Cru Classes, at En Primeur in 2009. It was the time just before China entered the world of wine and thus, prices were quite reasonable, despite a super Second Growths Grand Cru Classes. I don’t remember exactly when I opened the first bottle, but most likely when the shipment came in 2013. The consequence of the first encounter was to pack the bottles back in storage and forget about it for another five years.
So exactly five years later, one was opened, on a special occasion. It was our anniversary dinner when we put this precious 2008 Chateau Leoville Barton on the table in a posh French restaurant. The verdict? Not too much of a difference from five years ago. Although there was a slight open up in the bouquet, a hint of more taste in the palate, history repeated itself! And there, to the spider webbed storage again.
The Golden Vintage Barolo
There is a saying that no Barolo is ever ready under ten years of age. And the myth is probably true, at least for the old school Barolo. The old world wine of this Piedmont area certainly enjoys the fame of being charming at its golden years. This is the second occasion for me to enjoy a golden vintage of Barolo. The first was four years ago when I had the 1964 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva. Then I came across this beautiful 1970 Giordano Barolo, that bore the same birth year as mine. So the rest was history, this slick looking dark bottle became the star, instead of me, in my birthday celebration.
Old charm like this, no flashy clothes needed. The colour was fade ruby, almost translucent, and the taste subtle. I knew it is always a gamble trying out old vintage wine. This time, the bet was in between. Underneath the very rustic herbal nose, there was a hint of cork taint. But enough tartness and alcohol were there to balance it. The night was delightful with this special guest of my age. Will I gamble again? Most probably yes if the prices were right.