July 31, 2008

Long Term Planning

I wanted to take a moment to update you on one of the longue durée research efforts here at the Lab. In addition to the EVOLUTION program we have underway, we've also recently set out to study medium-term cellaring.

We thought we'd see how a single wine fared through a year's worth of variegated storage.

One bottle will be stored in a wine storage device set at 55 degrees.

A second will be rested in a manner designed to reproduce a fairly common storage method: The bottom of a closet. To recreate this setting as realistically as possible in laboratory conditions, we've put a bottle down in the bottom of a closet at the Lab.

A third bottle will be stored indifferently on the counter in the Lab's break room (I've noticed the cleaners like to move it around, so it may actually be on top of the fridge some of the time).

For our experimental purpose, we found a 2005 red Anjou on sale at the Woodland Hills Wine Company. It's from one of the Lab's favorite producers, Philippe Delesvaux. Delesvaux started out as a kind of Loire Valley garagiste producing his first vintage (1983) in a shed. He now has 35 hectares of biodynamically managed vineyards and makes his wines in a natural, non-interventionist mode. He is most famous for his usually overpriced Sélection de Grains Nobles Coteaux du Layon, a botrytised Chenin Blanc. He should be famous (but isn't) for his lavishly underpriced 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Anjou La Montee de L’Epine.

The Anjou we're using is 100% Cab Franc. We tasted a fourth bottle to establish a baseline against which we'll test the others in a year's time.

Herbaceous and earthy nose with notes of balsam and wintergreen. Expansive mouthfeel (lots of malo?). Fruit forward on the attack, mostly blueberry, followed by a griping mid-palate minerality and a tannic, slightly bitter, finish. The wine performed better on the second day. The tannins turned chewy and the wine in general had left behind some of it's bitter greenness and was displaying broader, brighter fruit.

Feels like this wine might benefit from some bottle age (might even improve with some driving around?). Guess we'll see.

In about year.

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