Subscribe in a reader

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe to Unidentified Appellation by Email Top Blogs

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How old are your vines?

Vine age has to be one of my favorite, controversial arbiters of wine quality (next to native yeasts). I strongly believe that my favorite region of the wine world, Chateauneuf du Pape, benefits greatly from the century old Grenache vines that dug their roots in the ground sometime before World War One. Well how old is old? According to Lenz Winery in Long Island, they happen to have the oldest Merlot vines on United States soil, checking in a little over 30 years of age. Well the gnarly vine Zinfandels of California can claim close to 100 years of age or greater, so I suppose that puts Zin in such rarified New World Air that they can rival some of the oldest bush vine Syrah in the Australian outback.

How about 200 year old vines?

Now you must have just done a double-take, so let me repeat for effect.

How about 200 year old vines?

I guess vine age is all relative.

Do Ferreiro, of Rias Baixas Spain, reportedly has Albarino vines that push the 2 century mark, planted on sandy soils just west of the Atlantic (and just south of the War of 1812). The prestige cuvee, referred to as Cepas Vellas (or Vieilles Vignes to you Francophiles), is from a single plot of ungrafted, pre-phylloxera vines that are so old they could have been a great grandfather to shoeless Joe Jackson. Whether or not vines hit a particular age that ‘maxes out their potential’ (in terms of clusters per vine, root penetration, minerality, depth or concentration) is certainly debatable, but really, how many 200 year old vine data sets to we have to form an educated opinion?

While 200 year old vines are a notable, freakish accomplishment of enduring viticulture in and of themselves, what does it mean in terms of the actual wine product they’ve created? Well I’ll just say this; the historical pundits won’t be the only ones interested as the wine’s quality is nothing short of remarkable. Think warm vintage Chablis, w/ a bit of Sancerre tossed in for good measure.

Do Ferreiro Cepas Vellas Albarino, '07
Profound Albarino may seem like an oxymoron, but Do Ferreiro's Cepas Vellas absolutely smashes any preconceived notions of this varietal’s potential. Deep straw in color and surprisingly flattering in the nose, as a whiff of a tropical breeze rises from the glass in the form of peach, sea salt, cantaloupe, white flower and hot stone notes. A powerful, honeyed attack turns expansive and full in the midpalate, chiseling its way to a lacy, mineral-rich finish that seems to sail on and on. A unique display of force and focus that really stretches out as it evolves in the glass. What breed! 94 points.
*Eh-hem, behind the bottle the winery makes a rather modest suggestion of pairing this wine w/ oysters. Do yourself a favor, up the ante and bring something more serious to the will plow right through shellfish.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently these aint' the oldest vines out there!

Friday, March 13, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous beat me to it.
Slovenia boats some 400 year old vines

Thursday, May 07, 2009  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home