Sunday, March 30, 2008

Willm Alsace Pinot Gris Cuvee Emile Willm, 1983

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.


  1. Happy Birthday!

    Loved your last line best. Tying age and wine together - love it.

    P.S. Drinking an '06 Estancia (couldn't find the '05). Don't bother. Eww!

  2. Thanks, 'Merely." As you can see above, the Chante Perdrix met my expectations...and then some.

    Old wines are great for special occasions, but even if I could afford to drink them every night, I would still prefer $8 to $10 gems like Grand Prieur, La Vieille Ferme, Vina Borgia and Yecla Castana.

    Actually, the Chante Perdrix cost $8.95 when I bought it in 1980.