Can a wine be ethereal?

One of the wines we brought back from a recent trip to Tuscany was a ’93 Cerbaiona Brunello.  Now I knew I loved brunello, but I am only recently getting into older wines.  My comfort zone and passion typically lies with burgundy or barolo, but this wine….OMG.  I heard 1993 was one of the best years for brunello, but never got to experience it until now. 

I am not good at tasting notes like the fancy stuff you see in Wine Spectator or erobert parker that often reference obscure vegetation, industrial chemicals, and various land and sea creatures.  But I think it is really cool that they have found a truly practical application for a thesaurus.  THey say an Eskimo has 125 ways of saying “snow.” Mr. Parker has double that for “fruity.”  But I digress.  This wine…it had delicate fruit but was full bodied. It was graceful, elegant, but with tremendous mouthfeel.  I am not sure I will be one of those people who likes to drink wine so old that you have to chug it before every last remnant of fruit fades away, but i will say that a little time did amazing things to this bottle. 

2 thoughts on “Can a wine be ethereal?

  1. To me, one of the keys to appreciating older wines is high quality, highly expressive, unique terroir. Case in Point: On Xmas I drank a 1978 Sterling Cab from Napa. It was not too old to enjoy– the wine still had backbone, acidity, and fruit. Yet as time passes, fruit fades. With this wine the terroir was neither expressive nor interesting, so when the fruit became less intense the wine was less interesting– nothing worthwhile rose from the depths that would have been masked in the wine’s youth. I’ve had that happen with nearly every older California wine. Two exceptions: Mayacamas Vineyard and Ridge Montebello. Both these wines age wonderfully, particularly Ridge. Older vintages of Ridge can challenge the greatest wines of France for intrigue…but then again, the wine is from the Santa Cruz Mountains, not Napa. Santa Cruz terroir is more interesting.Anyhow, long-winded agreement that yes, wines can be ethereal and old wines can be great. They just have to be the right old wines! Glad you enjoyed it, wish I were there!

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