Saturday, January 17, 2009
A happy little claret
Ever on the outer limits of testing my palate, last weekend I dove into the Gironde, through the largesse of neighbor and friend Guy, and was able to whet my palate with two superb clarets.
I'd never had a Château Margaux before, and I found the 1989 ripe, mature, with a bit of a grainy texture coming on with age, with the kind of length on the palate that makes you go, "Woah, ho, ho..." as it draws on and teases out and does not finish but rather comes romping back to say "hi" again before flaring out in a splash of aftertastes.
I had been told to expect something special, so that confirmation was, while impressive, not a surprise.
What did surprise me, however, was the 1996 Ducru-Beaucaillou we drank that evening, too. Upon opening, it was a bit tannic and even green about the gills. But after a couple of hours' air on the mantelpiece, it had softened up. As we sipped it with the cheeses (nice raw-milk stuff), it made me feel happy, warm, and good.
I got to thinking that that is what I like most about wine. The sense it imparts of unexpected comfort when it is at the right age, poured at the right time.
This would happen again a week later, two nights ago, with a 2000 Allemand Cornas "Reynard." Wine for swooning, when you least expect it.