Lovely nose right out of the bottle showing floral top note over aromas of old wood and jammy cranberry fruit with a hint of roasted orange. Tight and rough upon opening with golden raspberry, wild cherry and orange peel flavors laced over a lean, taut, acid driven mouthfeel, gaining a hint of fresh mushroom and old wood on the finish. Tannins are almost chewy. Structurally very youthful with flavors that reflect a wine on its plateau. Should be fine when it opens.
with 8 hours of air.
Packed with tart sour cherry and burnt orange fruit. Tannins meld well lending this a smooth if not silky mouthfeel. Nose gains tar while some chalk shows up on the palate. It’s a lovely wine, not great but complete and firmly in early maturity with some iron & mushroom notes on the palate and leather accents through the subtle yet long finish.
The days that have followed.
This magnum surprisingly was not finished on Christmas day, in fact a good quarter bottle remained, which I have been sampling every day since. 6 days on the counter with the cork in it. Each day a small glass tipped out. The color has darkened significantly. Aromatically there is the same profile as upon opening, floral notes with old wood and jammy fruit, but the intensity of the floral tones have increased every day, almost to the point where I wonder if the glass is clean or smells of floral detergent, which has crossed my mind. There's more mushroom, complex like porcini, and mineral notes now as well.
On the palate this has remained firm, fresh, and a touch austere with remarkable sour cherry and orange rind flavors that are intense and youthful, if not particularly complex. The tannins feel as though they will always be present, lending some fullness to what admittedly is not a particularly robust palate. But there are hints of finesse, and just such remarkable vibrance through the long, pithy, orange dominated finish.
It has not been a great wine, not once over this past week, but it has been delicious, and quite fine, an excellent pairing with the Porchetta served alongside it on Christmas day. And yet, there are lessons to be reinforced here.
Lesson 1 - Nebbiolo has the potential to be more durable than any other red wine. I have had white wines defeat oxidation like this but I know of no other 20 year old red table wine that can improve in the bottle for a week.
Lesson 2 - Wines notes, as I have said so many times, are the single scene of a long movie. A single frame if they are derived from a large scale sip and spit tasting. It’s a problematic way to definitively categorize wines. Which is way i also like to repeat that my scores are roughly plus or minus 5 points. My 90 point wine should be your 85-95 point wine. I know it makes scoring wines less meaningful, but let’s not fool ourselves as to the accuracy of these reviews. Which is not to say that they are not accurate, but rather to remind us all that wine is too subjective to be able to distill wine's essence down to simply a point score. But it's fun trying!
I give this wine 88pts. It has good flavors and freshness going for it, but is a bit simple and rustic. I would probably not buy it again at its current retail price, though $65 is not entirely unreasonable for a wine of this age and quality. I do have 3 more magnums so I will be able to follow its evolution through the years.
Lesson 3 - As I sit here sipping this wine, austere and slightly too tannic as it is becoming, I can’t help but be reminded of how it was the right wine for the dish it was served with. Let us not forget that there is the right time to serve each wine, and that we can derive as great a pleasure from a good wine served at the right time as with a great wine served at the wrong time.
Happy New Year to all!