It's not the first time we've drunk it and this was the wine which finally convinced my husband to leave the "I Hate Rioja" club. Excitement built.
And then, I sniffed the cork. It didn't look quite right. A bit too dark?
I poured some into my finest Riedel glasses. I nosed it. There was something wrong.
I'm not going to say the wine was faulty. But it didn't seem right.
An hour or so later the faint hint of "just opened/cork taste" had faded, and when paired with food, it turned out to be a highly enjoyable wine, full of deep dark flavours of spice and leather. In fact, by the end of the evening we'd have happily opened another bottle, had we had one. But where was the Tempranillo fruit?
In short, it had all gone.
I'm the first to admit that my wine storage at home is less than optimum. We chose a small apartment specifically so that we could still afford afford to enjoy the finer things in life, do the things we love and buy the more expensive wines to enjoy at home. I'd been given this wine for Christmas though, and under the circumstances, I really ought to have enjoyed it then. A wine of this age, even one designed to be aged for 10-15 years, is going to deteriorate quickly if not stored in the ideal conditions. Even if you do have ideal conditions at home, if you have a bottle of this on your rack, I'd recommend drinking it now - this wine hasn't got anywhere left to go, and when it's gone, it's gone. Indeed the Wine Society are currently selling the 2007, so it nearly has all gone.
Hint: if your wine is stored in your centrally heated home's kitchen, you don't have it under optimum conditions either. The best you can do is keep it well away from temperature variations, out of direct light and ensure that all wine with corks is stored horizontally on a wine rack (and not for years in the fridge either, as that can cause corks to fail too).
In short, I'm all for spending a decent amount on decent wines. But I want to remind you, wine is to be enjoyed not admired from a distance. Don't let it pass it's best unappreciated and gathering dust.
I for one will be polishing off the rest of what's on my "top shelf" in the not too distant future. And here endeth this particular wine lesson.