Sunday, April 04, 2021

Old Cheese Man Wine

ately, during this extraordinary era, I’ve been digging into ye olde wine cellar and pulling out crusty specimens that have arrived to an old age. It was a dream of youth, to have access to older, aged, mature wines. We’d read about it in Michael Broadbent’s book. A wine that needs 20-30 years to arrive at its peak. And now, I have scores of those bottles. And to magnify the situation, an even older friend of mine bequeathed me even more ancient bottles. A dream come true, ce n'est pas?

However, all the glitters isn’t the golden light off the cobwebs of these fossils. Here’s what I’ve been finding lately.

They are all starting to smell like old cheese man wine.

Years ago, I was in my 20’s and visited an older friend, a mentor. He was in his 70’s. as he opened the door to his house, it was late at night, I detected an aroma emanating from him. He smelled like old cheese. I never forgot that. And I’ve noticed that more than once, in the handful of decades that has passed since then. Not just from older men. Older women too. Older animals. And, older wines.

There was once something sexy about a musty old bottle of Barolo or Brunello, cracking it open and spilling its guts into a decanter and ultimately our gullets.  And when I first started experiencing that kind of thing, it was exciting. It was history. I was finally being let inside the door of the inner chamber.

But along the way, I kissed a lot of frogs. And I’m not sure now if that’s a place I want to go these days.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s a byproduct of the Covid19 era, and those who got the virus, (and those of us who didn’t, but got the vaccine) and how it maybe just altered our sense of smell.

Or, maybe the wines, when they get to a certain age, become a little senile.

The last thing I want to do in this stage of my life, is multiply the experiences of senility. It’s bad enough that the back aches, the joints creak, the memory and hearing and eyesight diminish. But to smell the inside of a musty old crypt, day in and day out? Nah, I don’t want to go there.

Give me life. Give me fruit. Give me youth. At least in my wine. That’s kinda where I’m leaning these days.

A 40-year-old Gattinara, with questionable provenance? Or a fresh bottle of Grignolino? I’m going with the Grino. I’m just sayin’.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It was fun to drink the 1964 Monfortino. I’ll never forget it. And the ’55 Biondi-Santi Riserva? Yeah, very grateful. But I was young when they weren’t. I’m not sure it’s the same when we’re both looking at a bowl of ice cream that’s melting faster for us (me and the ’55) than our younger counterparts.

Maybe old wine really is for younger people. God knows they’ve got no use for the older people (nor did we, when we were younger). Let ‘em have ‘em.

I have no desire to drink much more “old cheese man wine” in my lifetime. Period.

So, what’s the kernel here? Well, for me, I’m trending away from older wines. Which means, I need to start liquidating what appears to be hundreds of bottles of wine from the ‘60’s, ‘70’s, ‘80’s, ‘90’s and 2000’s. I’m not hawking the list here, mind you. But the clock is ticking.

And, those 2020 whites and rosés and lighter reds are starting to show up in the stores. Now, that’s something to look forward to. At least for this galoot.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


Unknown said...

I was nodding along in agreement until you mentioned “ ‘90’s and 2000’s.” 🙃

Okay, note to self for our next lunch with the galoot!


Alfonso Cevola said...

I'm thinking 10 years, tops, for modern age wines. A generalization, I know, but I'm ready for more fruit and body and less funk.

Moxy Castro-League said...

I miss you and appreciate this quick succinct poignant penned point of view

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