Archive

Posts Tagged ‘tokaji’

Bread and Butter: Obscure Ancient Wine and the End of (Long Live!) Ween…

July 12, 2012 2 comments

A bottle and a note.

While I will get back to my flash sale wine site reviews sooner than later, I have a pile of tasting notes that I’ve been sorely neglecting, and opening and noting random old bottles is one of my very favorite activities. Toward the end of a recent meal, my cousin, Jon, offered up a 375ml bottle: Weingut Johannishof Johannisberg Riesling Beerenauslese 1976. While it came with the caveats and disclaimers that often surround the opening of a bottle of such age (and questionable provenance), with enough sugar and decent acidity, a decently stored wine like this can survive a long time. At 36 years after harvest, this particular split bottle ended up worth its weight.

.
I’m listening (and have been for some time) to Aaron Freeman’s new album, Marvelous Clouds. While said artist, formerly known as Gene Ween, made some curiously shiny production choices, and there is definitely some filler here, there is also some signature Gener… er… Aaron Freeman songwriting. All other things being equal, if there is a future, Aaron Freeman- including all aliases past and future, will be recorded as one of the finest American songwriters of our time. It really is a shame that so many of his hardcore fans are drunken jackasses, making it impossible for Freeman to make any serious headway as a solo artist as Gener.

.

Gener with Ween at Terminal 5.

At an acoustic Gene Ween set at a pre-op Joe’s Pub, I joined the applause as two hammered Ween fans we escorted out of the venue, from two of the farthest seats from the front door. It wasn’t their random outbursts, audible throughout the room, that got them expelled back to New Jersey, it was the projectile vomiting over their table, and onto the floor that led management to throw the red card.

.
In case you live under a rock, or don’t care, Aaron Freeman recently disbanded Ween, effective immediately, in a public announcement. His Weenmates, including Mickey Melchiondo (aka Dean Ween), found out when everyone else did. In further unfolding developments, Freeman was forced to cancel solo tour dates due to poor ticket sales and made a public overture to his friends from Ween to help him out, for the fans. For my money, as long as they don’t play that miserable Terminal 5 again, I’d prefer to have Ween in the world than to not. There must be Ween.

.

Dean Ween having a moment at Terminal 5.

But anyway, Aaron’s new record is unquestionably worth a listen, and Mickey will be more than happy to take you fishing. No kidding. I’m seriously, you guys.

.
Oh right, I just tasted some old rare Riesling, and made some notes. Johannishof Johannisberg Riesling Beerenauslese 1976 is a deep, golden ruby hued, caramel color and it wears the weight of a 5 puttonyos tokaji. Caramel apple gives way to subtle but deep red berry and floral notes, and finishes with a light dusting of baking spices. This wine is definitely holding on, at this point in its life, rather than evolving, but it is still quite enjoyable.

Jordan and the Tiny Production Sticky

March 9, 2011 1 comment

Three beauties on the chopping block at BP Wine.

Since 1972, Jordan Estate has been making high quality hand-crafted wines. Known primarily as a purveyors of fine Cabernet and Chardonnay, Jordan, like so many other American wineries, have occasioned over the years to produce tiny amounts of fabulous and unusual dessert wines, almost entirely in secret. In my years of tasting, some of the most impressive surprises in quality, uniqueness, and value, have come from rare bottles like Shafer Port and Joseph Phelps Delice du Semillon. So, last fall, when I received an e-mail offer of Jordan Cabernet from 1976-1991 and a small parcel of their Riveiere Russe from the early 80s, I quickly snatched up a pair of ’86 Cabs and a small handful of these rare and unusual (formerly) golden dessert wine from ’82, ’83, and ’85.

Properly stored wine is a beautiful thing.

During an informal tasting over New Year’s, the 1982 Jordan Riviere Russe showed impressively favorably against a much higher priced tokaji and a *gulp* ’95 d’Yquem. While several tasters preferred the Jordan outright, all agreed it to be worthy of it’s company that evening.

By the time I opened a bottle of ’83 Jordan Riviere Russe last night, my palate was too spent from the succession of flavors (Drouhin Cote de Beaune’05, Fiddlehead Estate Pinot Noir Seven Twenty Eight ’02, K Vintners Milbrandt Syrah Wahluke Slope ’06, d’Arenberg Riesling The Noble ’96, and the reasonably profound Joseph Phelps Johannisberg Riesling ’76) to properly note. Thanks to my trusty Vacu Vin, the wine in question is airtight and in the fridge awaiting tonight’s tasting and notes.

________________________________

In the glass, the 1983 Jordan Riviere Russe is darker in color and more viscous than the ’82. The ’82, ’83, and ’85 seem to be in reverse order, by color v. age in that the oldest here is clearly the lightest and closest to it’s original golden color. In almost every way, this ’83 mimics a fine 5 Puttonyos Tokaji a few years younger in age. A lighter amber in the glass than it appears pictured in the bottle, the ’83 Riviere Russe is viscous and sweet, but shy of syrupy, and too nimble to be heavy.

The ’83 Riviere Russe is a late harvest style blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and much like the ’82, would find itself quite comfortable in a tasting against Sauternes and tokaji several times the price. The nose remains somewhat muted after some time in the glass, but the apricot that is more apparent on the palate is present. Soft caramel, apricot, citrus, and honey maintain through the unexpectedly long finish. The wine is surprisingly fresh with acidity to spare and it may have another handful of good years still to age. It will be interesting to see how the even darker ’85 has weathered it’s slightly fewer years.

But that’s a story for another night.