A New Year’s Glass of Whine

2011 is a case of empty bottles. Its contents consumed, let the ruminations begin.

As vintage years go, 2011 was, in general, clumsily decanted then sloppily poured. While its initial bouquet was enticing to the senses, a lot of the nuance was lost in first few tastes. Even well aged, vintage hope can lose its flavor when allowed to breathe too long.

That being said, I find some things to recommend in remembering the year passed.

I found 2011 to be earthy and musky on the nose: this is especially true in regards to politics. The first taste was usually, but not always, nutty and fruity – as in ‘most of our public figures are nuttier than fruitcakes’ – but the earthiness is right there soon enough.

Earthy is one thing, but at times, high partisan acidity and murky aftertaste ruined what could have been a memorable tasting or two. As the year wore on, the tannins of ubiquitous and unfocused ‘debates’ at times turned a bottle quickly toward vinegar well before its time.

Economically, the first 2011 sniffs detected restrained, lightly roasted kernel/bean-counter like scents; aromatic but a bit off. As the year continued the financial bouquet opened up as aromas of saddle leather, tobacco leaf and walnut come to the fore.

Makes at least as much sense as any economic forecast you have heard this past year, doesn’t it?

Suffice to say, economic news was not something to be held midpalate this past year; a discount bin jug wine with screw-top cap. Rinse-n-spit stuff to be sure.

Socially, 2011 had a perplexing and distinctive perfume, incorporating mundane hints of celebrity, narcissism, preposterous behavior, and outright stupidity. As usual with an off-the-shelf bottle of pop culture, drink now–next week, then down the drain she goes.

On a personal level, I welcomed a grandson this past year – my first. This was an exceptional cask savored above all others. The fragrance on the nose is soft, but pleasant with a nice blend of yeast, citrus and apple aromas. The palate is dry and filled with bubbles. It offers flavors and texture of yeast (think fresh bread), lemon, apples and baby powder. The finish is fairly long and evolves.

This particular 2011 bottle will continue to age nicely over the years, and will be an excellent vintage to be shared for years to come.

All in all, I would label 2011 as full-bodied, with a fair intensity and reasonable balance and distinctive bouquet. I would pair it with a good rehashing before a palate cleansing and then moving on to something else for the year ahead – something stronger, like a good, bourbon or perhaps some Valium being as the year ahead is of the election blending varietal.

We’ll de-cask again next January.kids. Til then, good luck…and happy decanting. (Tutorial below. Click on link.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPIw6eRW_Bg

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