September 8, 2008

The Day After

Summer is over and we are back to the grind of full-time science at the Lab.

At a recent planning meeting, several storage issues made it on our agenda. Most noteworthy were several proposed experiments with a focus on storing wine after it has been opened. We plan to test effectiveness of air pumps and inert gas. We also want to see what effect, if any, storage temperature has on already opened bottle of wine.

For our first round of tests, we found a few bottles of 2006 Bodegas Olivares, Altos de la Hoya, Jumilla Monastrell (Mourvedre).

The sandy soils of Jumilla proved inhospitable to our old foe, the Dry Leaf Devastator, and many of the vineyards survived the Phylloxera plague unscathed. So the region is home to some of the oldest, ungrafted vines in the world. The Altos de la Hoya comes from grapes grown in an 11 hectare vineyard with some vines planted as far back as 1872. The importers claim that the 2006 vintage in Jumilla was the best in a decade.

Ungrafted, old Mourvedre from a great vintage. It's astonishing that you can buy this wine for less than $10. It will make you rethink your first growth Bordeaux collection.

Aromas of sweet, smokey plums with background notes of dusty cobblestones and Wrigley's spearmint chewing gum emerge with some time in the glass. On the palate, more plum and rich, ripe figs with hints of campfire and bacon. Underlying this is an amazing core of sweet, chalky minerality. Given their youth, the tannins are surprisingly soft and chewy.

This deep purple-y garnet wine has the lively tension and balanced integration often found in wines made from own-rooted vines (this is also on the Lab's agenda).

We opened a couple over the weekend to test. Results later this week.

(image: © Carlos Sanchez Pereyra |

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