Nothing like fine old wine

I spent a delightful hour this evening with some old friends. One is a 1991 Sauvignon Blanc, the other a 1994 Cabinet Franc Merlot.

They are from the vineyard of a friend of mine who only sells his wine when it has had ten years in the bottle, lying quietly in his winery cellar. His wines have no chemicals and they taste wonderful.

A visit to his winery means several hours of slow catch-up and conversation. It means slowly tasting what he has on offer, cleaning up the dusty bottles and labelling them, perhaps helping with bottle washing and filling for the new vintage (I’ll see you in ten years time, little ones), checking out how the wines are behaving in the oak or what new things he has coming up in the future.

I was out at his winery a few weeks ago and came back with several cartons of his bottled magic. Some needed re-corking, something that I don’t mind doing for myself.

My wife and I managed to pull the corks and sniff but not taste for twenty four bottles in a row. It was not easy, all that self control. But we know that when the weather cools a little there will be greater delight for us.

As we opened them up our kitchen took on the wonderful aroma of the fruit and the earth in which it was grown. There is more than just grapes in this wine. There is harsh stony red soil that forces the vines to fight for their existence, there is something captured from the seasons and the weather that the vines have known, the winter storms and the blistering summer sun, and there is the meticulous care of the wine-maker.

And on top of that there is time to sleep, they have had plenty of that.

Other wines we came back with are a 1990 Cabernet Franc Merlot, and the youngster, a 1996 Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot. A carton of each. How can two people be so blessed?

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