Thursday, September 23, 2010

Do Whites Age? Lopez de Heredia and Chateau Musar

Ok, so my last post on aging dry white wines was pretty lame - after all those whites barely four and five years old. Big deal? Fine, here's some really old s%$t - a 21 year old Rioja, and a "youthful" 9 year old from Lebanon...

The 1989 Lopez de Heredia Rioja (white) Dark, dark amber amber in the glass...dusty, minerally, on the nose...papaya, dried apricots and fresh lemons in support. Youthful, with crisp citrus and creamy almond - surely the vintage on the label is a typo? Terrific structure, elegant and complex with a terrific finish. Vintages has a few more bottles on line (and for $4 less than I paid) - buy some.
cork. 12% alcohol
Score: 18/20
Price: C$59 (LCBO)

The 2001 Chateau Musar (white) was more yellow gold, visually not showing its age despite nine years in the bottle. But it was more oxidized on the nose, with almonds and melted caramel, buttery. Softer, creamier on the palate with luxurious, spicy (nutmeg) finish - terrific, if only slightly less structured than the Lopez de Heredia above.
cork. 12% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: C$35 (LCBO)

Wow, what an education - astonishingly good, well-aged, dry whites from Spain and Lebanon - and surprisingly affordable! I'm going to clear some place in the cellar..

(PS - I have to thank
Neil for plugging the Lopez de Heredia - if it weren't for him I would never have responded to this recent Vintages offering...cheers, Neil)


Shea said...

Lopez de Heredia whites are truly brilliant. Where's the post on old white burgundy or dry German riesling?!

Joe said...

Hi Shea - I had heard many great things about the Heredia so I guess it was no surprise (it took a while to open up, I was a bit worried at first). The Musar was a pleasant surprise. As for old white Burgs, I have a few Chablis in the cellar but they are '04, '05 ish so I want to give them a few more years (ten seems like a magic number). Ditto for the German rieslings (I have an older Alsace grand cru that may be ready). PS - Vintages actually marked down the Heredia by $4 so I ordered a few more - I wonder what another 5 years will do?

Shea said...

The Heredia seem like they could age forever. Over considerable time, though, it may turn into a ball of pure acid. I find some bottles already have a lot of VA.

I think the 10 year rule for Grand Cru Chablis makes sense - they can probably go 15-20 overall.

Joe said...

thanks for confirming my suspicion on the Chablis, Shea. I ordered some more Heredia so we'll see how it continues to evolve - CHEERS!

Anonymous said...

Yes, some white wine do age. I've not had an old Musar but a couple of years ago I opened a 1983 Marques de Murietta Reserva and it was lovely. I had a bottle of 1980 Lopez de Heredia 6 ano (a reserva I guess) that was still youthful back in 2000/2001, flinty, crisp and showing no aged characteristics. Not sure how it would be doing now but if the '83 Murietta is any indication it might still be okay.

As for Chablis, forget the 10 year rule, my friend served me a 1983 Chablis in 2003 (yes, 20 years old at the time) and it was beautiful, lovely yellow gold, elegant, and long.


Joe said...

Thanks for your comments Mahmoud, but I suppose that depends on the vintage and whether or not its a Grand Cru? I would love to wait 20 yrs, but not sure if the bottles I have are up to it - maybe I'll try "just one" at ten and see how they are doing!