As wine connoisseurship evolves, I look toward developing ways to express the aspects of wine I love the most. I recognize that wine is a product of nature and science; my goal is as natural as can be: to help make the connection between joy of taste and the bountiful pleasures of life.”

Friday, March 28, 2008

My Mississippi Prison Break

Pulled and drank a bottle of the Qunita Sardonia 2004 last night while doing some late night comp work. I’ve gotta tell you, if you haven’t had that stuff lately, you should - the QS2004 is a wine style that embodies all that is an automatic RP 95+ pointer.

It’s hard to believe that wines like Henry's Drive, Blue Eyed Boy, Drew Noon’s Shiraz, Numanthia and alike, score so high, so damn young. The interesting factoid for me, however, remains that these wines are built with a seemingly atypical purpose. That’s to say that the wines of this nature and ilk all share this insane degree of ”flashiness” that almost warrants a separate category of fermented beverage.

There is very little resemblance among the aforementioned, and any other similarly fashioned wines, to what I consider to be classically styled, cellar worthy, world class bottlings. I wonder what will really become of them - no really, I taste them over and over again and I say silently, “sheesh, how the heck did they do this?” I think about what it's like to drink Pavie, Mouton or a single vineyard Hermitage from the barrel. I think about what a really prodigious, world-class wine is made of in its infancy and try my best to find parallels. But, so often, as I did last night, I find it difficult to really honestly make the parallels match up. Sure, that 2004 Numanthia and Qunita Sardonia will be better in a year or four, but how and in what way? I just have a hard time believing that all that sickeningly brooding darkness will ever step down to allow for the blissful, fluttery, ariel freshness to unveil.

From this I go back to a place it seems I'm forced to go more often than I like "OK, sure, I'm ready to order; I'll have the Cabrales and a chunk of 68%.” Tell me who has that on the dinner menu?

2004 Quinta Sardonia - Dark on sight with totally unevolved creosote meets aboriginal shamen’s medicine bag aromas. Some spice and discernable fruit but from an aromatic standpoint, the wine feels either totally closed or just plain old overwhelmingly black and monochromatic. What surprised me most about this wine was the palate entry and texture. Not texture in that otherworldly sense of texture you experience with a La Folette Pinot or with an aged GC Humbrecht, but rather a syrupy, almost fortified fatness that hits broad on the nose and builds to an almost intolerable crescendo of ripeness that approaches, yes, you guessed it, Tempranilio port. Very low acid and almost void of tannic structure, as much as I want to wait around for the wine to mature, I can’t see that it’ll hold together over time without the fundamental “T & A” backbone. Wide and girthy throughout, sure the alcohol is concealed for the most part, but so is any sense of nuance and finesse. The palate dissolves 40 or so seconds later but, again, in a way that doesn’t suggest what we normally associate with “great length” but moreover in a way like a Mississippi prison break.

Imagine it - you’ve been locked up for years but tonight, you’ve escaped, and now its 3AM and you’re running barefooted at top speed through the trough of a three mile long cement irrigation gully with the shackles of sugar and reduced brown gravy. You make your way, running in a panic, not looking back as the flashing lights of the cells and rotating spotlights scan the nearby bogs and roads. You meet the end of the ravine and trod up the muddy talus to discover the quiet interstate highway still radiating heat from the midday sun. You slow your frantic pace to a long stride step, find a thicket of bramble and berry that’s obscured from the lights of oncoming traffic and sleep till the morn. This wine was rated 96 points!


Hardy / Dirty said...

Perhaps the best tasting note / story ever. We need more!

Who knows what is going to happen with these rich, dense, blueberry smoothies in a bottle. There is so much "stuff" jammed in that I can't see the elegance, beauty, or anything- you can only experience the power and palate feel. Some of these feel like beverages that were designed by chemists that flipped a coin and chose winemaking over the meth lab.

I could be wrong and in 10-15yrs be kicking myself in the butt for not stocking up on more Franknenwine. They may open up to reveal insane structure that's just buried under fleshy, ripe fruit. I just don't see it (though I do have some tucked away for the sake of science).

Great post!

Ted said...

Terrific post, I second Dirty's thoughts. Is this available locally?