Worth the Wait…

Have you ever opened a wine only to realize upon smelling/tasting that you were a bit hasty in your eagerness to drink it? Well, for Matt and me this happens regularly. Unfortunately, and I’m sure we are not the only ones, our desire to taste something overcomes that nagging thought in the back of our minds whispering (even sometimes screaming) “it’s not yet ready… it needs more time”.

This little charmer was just such a wine. It’s a Bourgogne Rouge 2009 made by Edmond Cornu, which seemed ready- a four-year-old Pinot Noir from Ladoix in the Cote de Beaune- but upon first taste the acid was firm, the fruit flavors were secondary and subdued, and it even had a bit of grainy tannin. I immediately started telling myself (as I often do) that I should’ve known better- it’s a Rosenthal wine (which means hand-crafted, small-production, traditionally-made, ageworthy, and so on), from a tiny producer (13.5 hectares of Pinot Noir) who hand-harvests their fruit and ages the reds in barrel for 15-20 months then longer in the bottle prior to release.

Nevertheless I swirled and swirled, and swished and swished, and after two glasses and half a bottle was consumed, with a puckered mouth and only medium-satisfaction, I put the cork back in the bottle and decided to try again the next day. The wine didn’t taste bad at all, mind you, it offered notes of oak-spice, garrigue (underbrush), juniper berries and tart cranberry fruit, a firm backbone of acidity with (as I said) grainy tannins- all promising features for a long life ahead.

The next day the wine simply sat on the counter looking at me. I told myself that it was probably completely faded, chalked it up to another “lesson learned,” and decided to drink gin and tonic instead (my warm weather beverage of choice). The following day (two days since it was opened) it was time, I thought, to dump the remainder down the sink and tuck a bottle aside to drink in a few more years; but before I could pour it out I just had to give it one last try- right out of the bottle- and to my surprise it was great!!! In two days the acid and tannin had softened, red fruit and floral flavors emerged, and the wine was beautiful. I enjoyed the remaining two glasses and felt relief. Perhaps I’ve learned a lesson, perhaps not… but regardless, this little beauty was worth the wait.

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