The other night, I came home from a great night at BiBO and decided to check out my cellar for something to treat myself. I rarely do this. I like to pretend my cellar doesn’t exist. There are wines there I may never drink, but I like to know they’re there, resting comfortably in the dark waiting for the perfect moment.
I went through some of the bottles and settled on a 2002 Antelope Ridge Cabernet Franc from Domaine Combret in Oliver, B.C. The winery is now known only as Antelope Ridge Estate Winery.
I hadn’t tasted this wine before, so I was unsure how long it might age. Twelve years seemed like long enough and I was afraid I may have waited too long. Nonetheless, I persevered!
The color was a deep ruby garnet. The first sniff gave up the iodine I often get on Cabernet Franc. It also offered ink and caramel corn, cinnamon and black plum with blueberry, red pear and cedar.
The opening (or attack as I like to call it) was fleshy and tannic. There was a strafing acidity that took the ‘skin off my teeth’. Notes of big black plum skin dissolved into vanilla on the palate. I might have waited just a little too long.
It wasn’t terribly long-lived, but it was earthy and interesting.
About this time, my oldest son came home. He just so happens to love Cab Franc and I always like a second opinion. He got notes of smoky bacon and Dijon mustard. I couldn’t disagree. It’s well-known that when someone says they smell a specific thing in a wine, it becomes easy for others to smell what they smell.
Later in the wine’s evolution, I was so glad I’d opened it. It had opened up to rich tobacco notes and really ripe fruit. It was still quite astringent but nicer and nicer as it evolved.
The last notes were mouth-watering and deep. Still mostly in the front of the mouth and mid palate but thoroughly enjoyable.
That’s the great thing about drinking a living thing. You can observe its’ evolution over the course of a couple of hours and know that, like all living things, it will develop and change and even surprise you in the nicest ways.
So, go check your cellar today. You might rescue a wine before it slips into oblivion, past the best years of its’ life.