Wednesday, December 30, 2020


To abdicate is to renounce the throne. Why anyone would abandon their claim to the monarchy is beyond me, I'd love to be Queen.  However, not all abdications are negative in nature.  Let's face it, if Edward VIII hadn't let his libido get in the way of his duty to old Blighty we (the royal we?) wouldn't have been blessed with the unparalleled 68 year reign (thus far) of HRH ER II.  Rather, in my humble opinion, an abdication with a negative impact would be the act of usurping the employment of a crown cap closure on my favourite Grüner Veltliner (GV).  And it happened.  This particular abdication, probably of no consequence to most, has caused me quite a bit of consternation.
I loved the old closure on the H&M Hofer GV, I found the crown cap snappy and interesting.  Starting with the 2018 vintage, the Hofer GV is now sealed with a boring old screw cap.  It is my suspicion that using a crown cap on wine, when the consumer expects this type of closure to be reserved solely for beer bottles, negatively impacted the sales of this Austrian wine in the United States.  It is fair to point out that Hofer also changed the bottle shape (more Bordeaux-ish now) and the glass colour, but those two items are not nearly as distinct as a crown cap and, to be honest, probably would go unnoticed by the consumer.  Ho hum.  Alas, nothing remains unchanged.  I'll survive, I suppose, but perhaps I need to buy myself a tiara and wear it whilst enjoying a glass of this GV in the future.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020


Of course, Vinogirl is only a nickname, it is not the name that I answer to.  There are only two people in my life, one for years, one more recent, who frequently call me VG.  Yet, I have been known to create a website account using the Christian name, Vino and the surname, Girl.  That's Ms. Girl to those who don't know me well.
I have had a few different nicknames throughout my life.  My first ever nickname was given to me by my maternal-grandfather, my Pop.  Pop dubbed the baby Vinogirl, Beatie.  When my Vinomum asked him, "Dad, why Beatie?" he replied, "Because she was born in the Beatle-age."  (It's also fitting at this point to mention that I was born with a complete Beatle mop.)  This bottle of wine is also nicknamed Beatie.  Why?  Because it too was born in the Beatle-age.  Apparently, 1964 was a great vintage.
The 1964 Le Mouton Baron Philippe was a very special, long ago birthday gift from my Vinomum and Thud, but I only just recently decided that it was time to open this aged bottle.  The low fill, or ullage, suggested perhaps that this bottle should have been consumed a long time ago.  Over the past 56 years, although stored correctly whilst in my custody, some wine had been lost through cork-absorption and evaporation.  So how exactly had Beatie aged?  After all, middle age is not always kind to wine.  Or humans, for that matter.
The capsule posed a bit of a problem in that the lead had fused to the top of the cork.  The cork itself came out in three pieces, which was a nice surprise as I was expecting it to crumble like a McVitie's digestive biscuit.  The colour of the wine was extraordinary, dark and opaque like a Turkish coffee, not even the slightest hint of red or purple.  On the nose, Beatie displayed a slightly oxidative character (which I'm not overly fond of in any wine, red or white), but here it was more agreeably akin to a nutty sherry.  Although, lurking somewhere behind the nuttiness, there was a definite shy tree-fruit element.  
I took my first sip with great trepidation, I wasn't expecting much, except I was blown away, and how!  Caramelised rhubarb, dried green tea leaves and baked plum vibes took control of my taste buds - so delightful and definitely Cab-like.  What dominated was the acid that, after more than half a century, was precise and linear.  And the best part?  The beautiful, lingering finish - it went on and on.  
After another 20 minutes the wine had opened up further and was even more interesting.  I kept revisiting and sniffing, as there was an aroma I just couldn't quite identify.  It seemed so familiar, yet I just couldn't pin it down.  The smell was of a vegetative nature, but not the capsicum, asparagus, celery notes that I am accustomed to in a green wine.  No, this was a freshly bruised stemmy aspect that I just couldn't quite grasp.  So intriguing.  Wow!  
Beatie, you were a bit of an enigma.  But a beauty until the end.  And everything I love about wine.