Sunday, January 08, 2006

Not Ready for Primetime

One of the great joys of keeping a wine cellar, even a modest one, is to watch and taste the progress of some terrific wines over time. I don't really get to indulge this pleasure very often --my budget does not allow me to buy ageworthy wines in much quantity very often.

But I was lucky enough to be working at a wine store when the '95 Bordeaux were released. With the help of the employee discount, I put together a mixed case of several well-rated Bordeaux. I first dipped into my stash two years ago, definitely too soon for this excellent vintage. Today, for a family gathering, I couldn't resist opening a 10-year-old Chateau Kirwan to go with our steak Diane.

It was a terrific pairing, the dijon sauce-drenched grilled steak danced marvelously well with the smoky, spicy black cherry flavors of the wine on the tongue. But, the more I examined this wine in the glass the more it was obvious to me that these '95s need more time. This well-structured wine remains a bit tight and the fruit, hidden. I plan to give the tannins at least a couple more years to settle down before reaching again into this particular case.

Even if I was rushing things just a bit in opening the '95 Kirwan, it was fun -- like watching a top baseball prospect play a Double A game knowing what the future will likely bring. Of course, many wine collectors live in fear of waiting too long and missing the fruit in its prime, but there's no need for any such fears yet with the '95s...I think, I hope.


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