It's my birthday today. I've never had a 1939 bottle, but anniversary wines don't mean much to me. What's important as I get a year older is to drink a few mature--or even overly mature--wines to see what aging is all about. I'll be having a 1978 Chante Perdrix Chateauneuf du Pape later today, but in preparation for the occasion I had the 1982 Cote Rotie Wednesday (only slightly over mature) and, last night, this beautiful 1983 Willm Alsace Pinot Gris. It was actually a wine that I had no intention of keeping this long; it just got overlooked in the cellar.
It's still a beautiful deep gold color with good clarity and brilliance. I expected some stink or oxidation from the nose of a white wine this old, but in reality it smelled amazingly fresh and lively. I smelled apricots (dried and fresh) and flowers;others at the table picked up the flowers along with ripe apples and a Riesling-like petrol. I too got a very Riesling-like impression along with the smoky, stone fruit qualities of good Pinot Gris. On the palate, it was rich and concentrated--although still restrained and elegant. On the finish, it opened into a peacock's tail of fruit and flower flavors. All very precisely focused.
If that's what age is all about in wine and life, I'm ready for more.