Posts Tagged ‘1998 Pinot Noir’

Works of l’Art

March 31, 2013

Here’s the thing about wine…

From the outside, looking in, it can seem quite intimidating.

People making reference to grapes you’ve never heard of… using a bunch of French and Italian words in a show-offy type of fashion… talking about years that appear to be randomly produced…

I get it.


When you take the time to show interest in wine, people love to share.

They love to share their knowledge.

They love to share their experience.

They love to share their wine.

Today, we visited some family for Easter at my Uncle Art and Auntie Ann’s house.

Uncle Art (l’Art for short), an avid oenophile since the 1970’s, is about to turn 70.  Since a bunch of family was in town, we decided to celebrate his birthday as well.

A few months back, l’Art mentioned to me that he had an old bottle of Ridge that he wanted to share with me the next time we got together.  As you’d imagine, I was pretty stoked when he broke this puppy out…

Normally I don’t show you pictures of the back label, but you gotta check this out…


Bottled 30 years ago, Paul Draper recommended this wine be laid down for 5 years.

And normally I don’t show you what the cork looks like in the bottle, but…


Look at the fully-saturated bad boy!

A cork like this definitely requires an Ah So, but left mine at home.




I got into surgery mode. Only a few small chunks of cork fell into the bottle.


The cork chunks, along with some dope sediment, are why this wine must be gently decanted.


This wine has been slowly oxidizing over the last 30 years, so there’s no need to let this puppy aerate.

Let’s take a look, and dive on in!


Here’s what it looked like in the glass.

Color: As older wines go, it has still retained a lot of its red color, though it does get brownish orange near the edges.

Nose: Beautiful notes of menthol and tobacco leaf with one of those dried out oranges decorated with cloves.

Taste: On the palate, this wine is straight herbaceous.  Forest floor and tobacco leaf for days.  There’s a nice note of dried cranberries that gives an impression of sweetness to this dry wine.

Score: What is most impressive about this Petite Sirah is that 32 years later, the grapes are still bringing these massive tannins.  My feeling is that the wine has the structure to go another 10 years.  This wine is massive, yet subtle in its complexity.  Does anybody else have one of these bottles they’d like to share with me?  94, fa sho!

Almost as impressive as this wine, was that l’Art followed it up by grabbing another bad boy from his cellar…

Color: Light rusty burgundy red.

Nose: Bacon and mushrooms up front, followed by a juicy strawberry component.

Taste: Ripe strawberry on the front palate gives way to leather and mushrooms.  There’s a nice touch of black pepper that is sprinkled throughout.

Score: We were all impressed by the longevity of this wine.  There’s a great acidity to this wine that, along with the balanced backbone of 14.5% alcohol, that kept this wine quite fresh some 15 years after bottling.  93, y’all!

I can’t believe how great these wines were.

They were definitely works of l’Art!

Stay Rad,


What’s the oldest wine you’ve got in your collection?  What’s the best wine somebody else has ever shared with you?  Leave a comment and let us know.

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