Most Startling Wine Surprise of 2009 by (PB)
(NW) found a bottle in a Boston wine shop with an old looking label on it. The price tag on it was $5. Now there's tons of $5 wines out there and most of them are barely suitable for cooking. But (NW)--always looking for that "treasure" read the label--Rosenblum Cabernet Sauvignon--Groth Vineyard--1983. A 26 year old single vineyard Napa Cab for $5? Why not? For that price the bottle and label and worth it...
(NW) served it to me bagged and asked me for my thoughts. This wine was obviously old with a murky. garnet color but still holding to the rim. It's bouquet on opening was pretty obnoxious with traces of egg nog and wild grape but mostly acetone and a medicinal ucky smell. ("Ucky" is a very technical wine term.)
Still--there was something lurking below these awful odors that kept me interested. I had no clue about what the wine might be but I said, "It is 20-30 years old." (NW) smirked.
As minutes passed by, the wine was changing and the hideous aromas on opening were dissipating revealing an amazingly nice, sweet wild cherry and evergreen beneath it all.
As I filled my mouth and swirled, the anticipated nastiness of a wine long gone was not forthcoming. Instead there was an intriguing taste of stewed prunes yet with lively cherry fruit underneath. It was fully integrated, balanced and all around superior. If I had to rate this wine I would give it a 94 and I rarely ever do that!
I was flabbergasted and as we allowed the wine to breath, it turned out to be one of the best wines I have had in several years!
So the moral of the story is, for $5, while you would fully expect it not even to be palatable, sometimes life hands you a bouquet of roses. Raise a glass to a new year of surprises and may all your 2010, $5 risks have as wonderful an ending as this one!