Dangerspouse Rides Again

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Garage - Track

Sept. 07, 2014 - 9:35 a.m.

Wine Geekery

This is of no interest to you. Move along.


"Now listen" I said to NewWifey(tm), "there's a very good chance this wine is going to look, and taste, like raw sewage. But on the off chance it's still drinkable it probably won't last more than 3 minutes. 4, tops. So get ready to chug."

And I pulled the long, dry cork on my 1982er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett (Dr. Thanisch).


In the mid 1980's I was living with a young lady who was a not-quite-recovering alcoholic. Out of deference to her (and fear for my wines) I moved my collection to a friend's cellar and basically forgot about them. For 11 years.

11 years later she hit bottom and we parted. Another 3 or 4 years of renting tiny bachelor apartments followed, after which I finally got a house, a more-or-less sober wife, and enough space to store the prodigal bottles. I'm not sure which of the three I was happiest to have.

Most of the wines had held up just fine in my absence. The only exception: the Germans. I loved my Germans. But the majority of the ones I had when I hooked up with Ms. Rummy were already a decade or more old, and even the better examples apparently just couldn't hang on. I can't tell you how heartbroken I was when I discovered my '71 Scharzhofberger BA had turned into 750 ml of light sweet crude. I figured if that august bottle couldn't hold up, none of them could. I opened a bunch that looked definitely turned, poured them down the drain when a taste proved they were (I never knew wines could clot), and saved the 4 or 5 that still looked like they might be clinging to life. As of yesterday morning I was down to 3.

Then last week a dear friend came by lugging a case of assorted wines, which she presented to me as a "Hooray!" gift for getting out of my elbow cast. She herself is not a wineaux, so she had a wine store manager give her recommendations. They're all very nice - nothing on the 1er Cru end of things of course, but no Monty Python "for those keen on regurgitation" bottles either.

But now I needed space to store them. And there were only a handful of slots open in my wine fridge. I decided to bite the bullet and sacrifice the Germans to free up space. Starting with the '82 kabinett, yesterday afternoon. I had ZERO expectations for this thing. A 32 year old kabinett? C'mon. On top of that, the color through the bottle looked decidedly tinged with brown. In fact, it looked just like that broken '71 BA did before I opened it.

But...the liquid came out was bright gold. No brown at all. If I hadn't just poured it myself I would have thought there was a 15 year old Sauternes in the glass in front of me.

That is, until I smelled it. Woof. MUSTY.

"Oh well" I said to NewWifey(tm), "I've made things that smelled worse. Let's do this!"

"Oooooooooh no" she said. "You first."

So I did.

And it was great! I mean, considering. It was fairly thin on the palate, with a pronounced lemon-lime flavor that really stood out front and center, bumping up the usual perception of Mosel acid. But behind that there was still more than a good hint of varietal characteristics remaining, with definite apricot jam and pear highlights. Not a very long finish, and as the bottle wound down more and more of the fruit blew off and the acid took over. And, as I mentioned, the musty nose never let up at all. But still - great! A lot of fun, the more so because I was so gobsmacked that it wasn't the swamp water I expected it to be.

Oh, and it paired great with a pork loin roast braised with vermouth, red pear and tarragon.

Next up:

1. 1975er Merler Konigslay-Terrassen, Auslese (I have very little hope for this one. But who knows? I'm a very poor judge of these things, apparently.)

2. 1982 Berncastler Doctor, Auslese, Dr. Thanisch (I do have hopes for this one. It still looks light in color, no ullage to speak of - maybe a millimeter below the foil cap - and just a smidge of white sediment.)

Zum Wohl!


Well, if you made it this far: sorry. I'll return with a more lowbrow entry shortly. I just wanted to record this here for my own posterity.



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