Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Custodian

Welcome to my first post on my wine blog. This is an accompaniment to my food and cooking blog. Let's start with something from down under. Last evening I opened a bottle of d'Arenberg grenache. This is the 2001 Custodian and it was quite good after it had a chance to breathe. Usually grenache is too light and not complex enough to stand on its own and is usually used as a blending grape. However this grenache definitely stands up on its own two feet. d'Arenberg has been tending the grenache vines that provided this wine for 60-70 years and it shows in the wine. This vintage has been tenderly nurtured from grape to bottle beginning with a gentle 'Demoisy' crush. It was fermented in open fermenters and the cap treaded down by wader-clad feet. So says the label. It has spent twelve months in French and American oak.

I pulled this out of my cellar and popped the cork. My cellar right now is about 60 degrees so the wine felt a bit cold. I poured a glass and examined the color. It was a little thin when looking through the wine, though you can't tell from my picture above. It still had vibrant ruby red and slightly purple colors which shows it has not oxidized too much. A slight brickiness on the edges showed its age. As I smelled this wine cold I could detect whiffs of cherries and anise. The nose opened up later as the wine warmed and opened in my glass. On the palate this medium-bodied wine exuded cherry and blackberry flavors mingled with an earthiness that meandered around my mouth for a long finish. The tannins were smooth and balanced. It was optimal on my second glass about a half hour after I opened the bottle. Wine spectator says to drink this wine now through 2009. I would say drink it now. I'm not sure if it will last at this quality for another couple years.

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