Monday, November 26, 2007

"Here, Taste this 31 Year Old Rioja."

What a gorgeous Sunday here in Brooklyn! Great light, pretty warm, a carpet of yellow ginkgo leaves on the sidewalk. After we take the little daughter over to a friend's house for brunch, I get a surprise hour or two off, as BrooklynLady tells me to take a walk and enjoy myself and then she takes the daughter home for a nap.


So after walking around a while and enjoying the sun and feeding off of the generally happy people with their kids and/or dogs in my neighborhood I decide to drop into Prospect Wine Shop before going home. I wasn't going to buy anything, but I like to drop in sometimes, just to say "hi"to the Champagnes, relax among the bottles for a few minutes. You know what I'm talking about - you're a pro at browsing wine shops just like me.

But this is Prospect Wine Shop, my home spot, and they know me. They know what I like to drink, they know my wife and baby, they know that I refer friends in the area to the store and they're always really friendly and courteous. Today is a great example - I'm not buying anything, just poking around the Burgundies, and one of the managers comes up to me with a glass of something sort of rusty colored and whispers "Here, taste this 31 year old Rioja."

This guy had just given me a glass of 1976 Lopez de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Bosconia. It was the final bottle in the store and they decided to open and taste it, as sort of an end of Thanksgiving Sunday afternoon treat.

The wine was rose petal colored with clear signs of rust, but it was a beautiful color. I spent the next 10 minutes, honestly, just smelling the wine as I perused the bottles. This stuff had such an interesting and enticing perfume. Mostly orange peel - a mix of candied rum soaked and fresh peel, some fresh figs, something herbal, and hints of crème brûlée. I am not used to drinking wines this mature, so describing them is not easy - cut me some slack here pal.

When I finally tasted I got stewed cherry pulp, fig compote, baking spices, and a pleasing menthol mouth aromas after swallowing. No tannins left, but there is some structure still, and good balance. So lovely, so compelling, getting on in years but still very beautiful - just beguiling in fact. Think Julie Christie.

And I thought I was talking a walk and stopping in for a quick look at the Champs!


RougeAndBlanc said...

Wow. What a treat. We drank a '96 Viña Gravonia for Thanksgiving. Although very good, it is no where close to the Bosconia you tasted.

Anonymous said...

The old wines are beautiful, aren't they? I had an experience slightly similar. It was a Burgundy that was only 10 years old, but it was amazing how all the flavors just melded together--dried fruits, leather--just an amazing wine. Too bad it had been the last bottle in the shop.

Brooklynguy said...

how can you be sure andrew - maybe the 96 was was a real treat though.

hi doug - couldn't agree any more. so completely different from the young fruit

Kathleen said...

I do! I do browse wine shops. I picked up the habit while studying for my CSW exam, and then got all dusty in the back shelves trying to qualify for wine century club. Now my browsing is mostly for WBW.
Kathleen Lisson

Anonymous said...

Very enjoyable story! I envy you your neighborhood wine shop, and I know just what you mean about going in to say hello to the Champagnes.

Brooklynguy said...

hi kathleen - so are you a century club member? i doubt i could even NAME more than 20 grapes, never mind taste them.

scampy - i like to stop by and greet the burgundies too, not just the champs. how's the shopping in texas?

Marcus said...


Thanks for introducing me to this shop -- Now I know EXACTLY what you are talking about!

And thanks for the champers! I forgot this was the one named after me -- I must be losing my mind...

We'll talk soon!