Starting a Collection

August 22, 2008 at 6:47 pm (Our Favorite Things, What we're drinking) (, , , , )

Working at LUSH, I have the unique opportunity to be exposed to a vast and ever-evolving array of wine. Everyday that I come in, I have my own personal harem of bottles — bottles of which I know and love the aromas, flavors, and stories. But, when I go home, my collection consists of a measly few bottles, looking very lonely in my small metal wine rack.

I soon plan to buy a wine refrigerator, and begin stocking it with bottles that I want to hold onto for a while. There is something very majestic and romantic to me about buying a bottle of wine that I don’t plan to drink immediately — an investment in my future wine-drinking happiness. So, I would like to begin a column where I profile two wines that I plan to hold onto for a bit and discuss their aging potential. As I am somewhat of a novice at predicting how wine will age, I welcome any feedback.

A brief caveat: this column will reflect my personal taste. Henry James once observed, “There are two kinds of taste, the taste for emotions of surprise, and the taste for emotions of recognition.” Although not always in other aspects of my life, when it comes to wine, I take surprise over recognition as a matter of course. Thus, this column will lean towards some of the more eccentric bottles in the store (with a fair amount of white Burgundy, vintage Champagne, and Chateaneuf du Pape thrown in for good measure).

NV Sean Thackery Pleiades XVI: Any employee of this store could attest to my adoration of Sean Thackery’s wines. An ex-academic working out of California, Sean Thackery has a propensity for odd winemaking techniques, eucalyptus trees, and dead languages. His wines are certainly cerebral, but breathtakingly interesting and delicious as well. The Pleiades is his yearly issue of a non-vintage blend. This one includes Syrah, Barbera, Carignane, Sangiovese, Petite Sirah, and Viognier “to name but a few” (according to the label). Aromas of eucalyptus, baking spices, coffee and dirt come off the glass. A light body starts off with a punch of sweet cherry fruit followed by lots of spice — cinnamon, thyme, clove, and hot pepper — plus undertones of cola and coffee. Good acidicity and light, grippy tannins should help this wine age. Plus, it’s just so weird; I can’t wait to see what a little bit of time will do to it. I’m definitely getting a few bottles of this one for my collection. One I’ll drink in the next year (too hard to wait) and then I’d love to try another few over the next 5-10 years and compare them to future releases of Pleiades.

2005 Kiralyudvar Tokaji Sec: Another oddity. This is a DRY Hungarian Tokaji. Made from the same grapes at the famous dessert wine (furmint and harslevelu), but vinified dry. 2005 was the first vintage this wine was produced, so no one really knows how it will age. Its mouthfeel and acidity remind me of a nice white Burgundy, so I would bet that this wine could evolve beautifully with a little time in the bottle. However, its style is already slightly oxidized — with flavors of dried apples and yeasty grains — so who knows how those will develop with age. Either way, it’ll be an interesting experiment. I would like to try this bottle again in 5 years.  

Stay tuned for the next two. Thanks for reading.

Posted by Jane.

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