I recently got challenged to open a bottle of wine, taste a little every day, leave the wine resting in the bottle and do this for at least a week. Unrefrigerated. A white table wine, made from the goddess of all whites – Riesling.
Now, I’ve done similar things before however, never really from the same bottle (you decant into smaller) and no longer than 4 days as the wines normally start to deteriorate pretty quickly and oxidise. And never with a white wine. So let’s see how this experiment goes, shall we?
The logic would dictate that the wine would start to decline from day one, and be undrinkable by day three. Common wisdom as experienced over several other occasions when a bottle mysteriously has had a little left over, even when kept in the coolness of the fridge. (I must say, left over wine is not a common occurrence in my house however, it has been known to happen in the office so I do try them to see how long they last before regretfully spilling them down the drain.)
For the record, the wine is a Riesling from Eden Valley, South Australia. It has spent 180 days on skins. Sealed under natural cork, with a wax cap. It will polarise, some will love it yet others will hate it. Part of the joy of wine for me is that it can have this effect, everyone’s preferences and experiences are slightly different or vastly different. There’s opportunity for conversation, and no one is wrong. Palates are, after all, quite individual. So for those who read this, let me know your thoughts.
I was originally going to post this as a daily dairy update for as long as the wine lasted, however, on reflection that no longer seems like something that would do the wine or the experience justice. So I will tell you my journey across 12 days.
It’s starts off almost brash in its vigour, with tanning grip, sharp bite of acidity and haunting aromatics. The colour is incredible and a beautiful rich gold of late summer sunsets. The wine is distinctly attractive, from the colour to the aromas that do need a bit of a nudge to release. When I say haunting, it is. There is very little and then a teasing note of jasmine or jonquils may rise, just enough to make you smile and go back for more but it’s gone just as quick.
Between the palate and nose we are definitely in the light toast and marmalade territory, with a hint of orange pithiness. The tannin is fine yet assertive, there’s fruit including mandarin, and that sharpness of acidity for the balance. The palate is long and rather demanding. This one is not for sitting down by the fire and taking sips, this one demands food like sharp parmesan and and slow-roasted game. Something hearty and also full of flavour.
Over the next few days though, I am taken on a journey. The flavours wax and wane from the initial marmalade and mandarin to more savoury herbal notes and back again. On day three, quinces make an appearance as the bracing acid starts to mellow and the tannins start to feel rounder and drop out.
A few days and it feels like there is a glow to the palate, with good textural grip and bright tartness from the acidity keeping it fresh and perky, making you realise that you could really do with some food. There is now a distinct saltiness and umami elements, calling for seafood and jamon, maybe a little olive starter and fresh bread. You can almost picture yourself seaside or in a rural setting in fresh air with great company having drinks, food and conversation. The wine would stay in the background as a great lubricant.
The days roll on, and the journey to the sea continues. The seaspray is now clear, a fine lift and a delightful additional seasoning to the underlying fruit (yes!) and more of the marmalade and quince paste notes. There’s a hint of pine, granny smith, orange zest and nuttiness. Still, a haunting floral (white) aroma comes to tease you, unexpectedly from time to time. On the last day, with cloudy lees in the glass I end on a nice long finish… seaspray, citrus and crunch.
From rugged beginnings with robustness and quite distinctive personality this wine evolved and it has been a pleasure to go on this journey. I am tempted to do this again, except I would decant and wait ten days before kicking off the tastings this time, to see where we go. I wonder if there’s a magnum…
The wine: Edenflo 180D Riesling, Eden Valley, Australia