Posts Tagged ‘capcanes’

Drinking mature wine…

Monday, December 6th, 2010

I had one of my most enjoyable tastings a few days ago.  I got to taste about 20 wines ranging in age from 7-11 years old, all stored in optimal conditions.  I knew which wines I would be tasting ahead of time and was concerned that many would be past their prime and possibly even dead.  Lo & behold, the wines were all alive and quite spectacular.

It is said that 95% (or thereabout) of wine in consumed within 24 hours of its being purchased.  Which leads me to believe that most people have not had the extreme pleasure of drinking a wine that has had time to mature in the bottle, a bottle aged wine.

From “The Billionaire’s Vinegar”: “Crudely, the molecular changes known to unfold in a sealed wine bottle that has been laid down for years involve the gradual interaction of oxygen and wine.  Simple chemical compounds break down and recombine into more and more complex forms called polymeric phenols.  Acidity and alcohol soften.  The largest compounds – the harsh, astringent tannins – drift down into a carpet of sediment, taking with them the saturated, inky pigments.  They leave behind a mellowed, unfathomably subtle flavor and a brick-red hue.  Everything knits together, resolving into an ever finer complexity expressed fragrantly in the wine’s bouquet.”

The chapter gets into more detail about mature wine (while discussing Bordeaux purported to be from Thomas Jefferson’s cache dating back to the late 1700’s, and declares that “a wine is considered mature when it has maximized its flavor possibilities but has not yet begun to deteriorate”.

I still believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Some people prefer the primary aromas and flavors of a young wine, while others prefer the tertiary characteristics.  Of the wines I tried at the tasting I was shocked to discover that not only were most of the wines alive, but they were still displaying youthful fruit.  Their color was almost across the board still ruby, not showing very much (if any) of the brick color that is indicative of an aged wine (as it goes from purple to ruby to brick and ultimately towards brown as it reaches the end of its life).

I tried 5 Bordeaux, 3 Spanish wines, 2 wines from California and 9 wines from Israel.

The Bordeaux was all quite nice and I wish I had time with each bottle to enjoy it as it evolved.  Sadly this was a bit of a speed tasting for me as my job on this evening was simply to verify that the wines were still alive.  They were alive yet I couldn’t help but think they all seemed a bit lite.  They were definitely light in body.  I wonder what types of characteristics would have been revealed had I had more time with these wines.

Next were the Spanish wines from Capcanes; A 2000, 2001 & 2003.  These were probably my (more…)

Bottle variation??

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

I’m drinking a lot of Israeli wine here in Israel during the Passover holiday.  Then again that should not come as much of a surprise to anyone who frequently reads this blog as I ALWAYS drink a lot of Israeli wine.

That said I had the opportunity to get a terrific wine at a very affordable price here in Israel that unfortunately is NOT an Israeli wine.  Capcanes, a Spanish winery whose wines I have previously written about makes two kosher (and kosher for Passover) wines.  The big boy is the “Peraj Ha’abib”, which is just like perach Ha’Aviv or “Spring Flower” in hebrew.  So through a friend I was able to get my hands on a few bottles of the 2005 Capcanes Peraj Ha’abib here in Israel for the rough equivalent of about $40.  This wine sells for about $60+ back at home in NY, so I figured I’d grab a few bottles and indulge.

I opened up the first of the 3 bottles with my family at our Friday night meal.  It was showing BIG/STRONG oak characteristics, with almost over-powering cloves.  Not everyone at the table picked up on it, but it was unmistakable to me.  The mouth feel of the wine and the underlying fruit were both very nice, but this wine was dominated by its toasty clove aromas.

I then opened up the 2nd bottle on Monday night while dining with the special lady at a fancy Jerusalem restaurant.  This bottle was the same vintage, same winery, same wine…and I believe SAME CASE.  Yet it was COMPLETELY different from the first bottle.  This time the wine had a similar mouth feel yet the dominant clove aromas were GONE.  Beautifully integrated oak and fruit, with the fruit shining through. 

SO, getting back to the title, there is something in wine known as “vintage variation”.  This happens as hand crafted wines will vary from vintage to vintage.  Different weather patterns, longer/shorter growing seasons, more/less rain/sun, etc… – all these factors lead to differences in vintages and wines from different vintages that are remarkably different from one another.

But to happen to the SAME wine from the SAME vintage and the SAME case?

I suppose this could happen in a tiny winery where the wines were aged in different barrels and then bottled without being re-blended???  But I would imagine that most wineries, even small one, will mix all the barrels together in a tank of sorts before bottling.  So how/why could something like this happen?  Have you ever experienced anything like this before???

Happy same wine different flavor wine tasting!