There’s always a niggle in the back of my mind whether the trouble we go to to have an unsightly burgundy (in colour, 2nd hand from eBay, not a groovy import from the region) wine fridge in the dining room to store our more exciting purchases of wine collected over the years is worth it. This niggle is based on a fear that we have a stash of wine left in there forgotten about, and I am talking from past experience, long beyond its drinkable life.
On this cold and wet autumn lunchtime, post fish fingers, both kids are asleep, and this is where my mind wanders to – the wine fridge. It is a Friday after all, and the dilemma of what to drink this evening once the kids are in bed once again, unashamedly, is never far from my thoughts.
I love venturing in to the wine fridge. I love the expectation of unlocking it – thinking of those teenage parties in a few years where the little buggers CANNOT get to our stash – the musty but somehow sterile smell of the cool air – and the wine, the lovely lovely wine.
So what do I find that takes my fancy (past the off limits vintage champers, which has a satisfying looking mould growing on the boxes)? In the running are some very tempting bottles of Bordeaux, a LOVELY Pomerol and the last couple of bottles of 2002 Marques de Riscal which should probably be next on the ‘drink up’ list. In the end, it’s a toss up between the Pomerol, a delicious 2004 bought from Bordeaux and Beyond a few years ago that we’ve already drunk one very pleasing bottle of (rule: always buy more than 1 bottle of fabulous wine or regret it), or a bottle of 2004 Rutherford Ranch Merlot that I bought from the Napa vineyard back in 2007.
I opt for the latter as it is precisely one of those bottles that feeds my niggle, plus, unless the bottle’s off, the Pomerol probably isn’t at risk of going over quite yet, and it was only in the running because I know what a treat it will be. I google the Merlot…damn, it sounds past it, fuelling my fears that we’ve left it too long…I take solace in the knowledge that there’s always the Pomerol as back up.
The first pour is a little bitty but clear. The nose is clean, fruity and the initial taste is a little bitter but there is fruit there. I decide to decant (through a tea strainer no-less!!! Note to self; invest in fancy wine straining device) and pray that I won’t wish that I should have drunk this when I’d bought it. The thing was, this was one of the first bottles of ‘expensive’ wine that I ever bought – I was on my own so had no other opinion and at approx $30, for an eternal student such as myself, this was a lot. Also, because I bought it ‘on location’ and it was my only bottle, I’ve been reluctant to open it until now.
So, the verdict, 1 hour on – the nose is pleasingly Christmas pudding-like. There is some tannin on the palate, I am getting plummy notes yet a slight bitterness from the oak. Hooray,it’s not too late, it’s drinkable still – infact, it’s rather nice! My excitement is heightened further due to the kids still sleeping and I feel a bit naughty tasting wine at 2.45 on a Friday ON MY OWN.
By the evening the wine has opened up to a smooth balanced tipple, with some acidity, soft tannin and a little red fruit – perfect for a Friday night waiting for the curry to arrive, and I’m satisfied that unlike the Martinez Bujanda Gran Reserva that we saved for that special occasion and the Turkenheim Riesling that I took to my wine tasting group, not only did we catch the wine at its best, but the wine fridge is indeed worth every inch of the eyesore that it is.