Per Diem

I’m always torn when I taste a wine with some age whether I want it to taste old or young. Let’s reverse the perspective: Which is the bigger disappointment? I know you’re reading this going, “Jesus, Steve, are you off your rocker?” But stay with me here. You open a 10YO wine and you’re going: “Oh man this is going to be so gorgeous” and under the cork is a liquid vibrant and fresh as Day 1 with expectations on something polished and suppl-y tertiary. Is that a disappointment? I suppose if you’ve got a case of them sitting around it is much less of one. How about if you open a 5YO wine and it is a gushing elixir of thick rounded fruit, amber-edged and delicious, a beautifully-aged wine? Is that a disappointment? I suppose it would be if you had a case of them! Which gives you more satisfaction: pouring a 6YO early-aging wine for someone who buys a bottle at the supermarket and drinks it THAT night or pouring a 20YO wine with flaws compounded by age for someone with a deep cellar? See, I ask the tough questions. And that’s why you follow me.

Clear medium ruby with a pink rim. Ridiculous concentration of fruit in the nose, a cherry reduced ever-so-slightly into jellied darkness, firm berry you have to reach for through prickly brambles, and the solid round gloss–and vibrant spice–of slowly-deepening Mexican leather outdoor furniture. I keep searching for signs of age, and while stronger in the nose, they are so oblivious to the date on the bottle I’m almost disappointed. But not really–even though this is my last one.

In the mouth, this wine could be literally FOUR. Dank or savory notes are acknowledgeable, but the fruit keeps them handily at bay. Crisp and biting, the peppery blush of green fruit and fresh-crushed berry define a proud path down the aisle past rows of wrinkled on-lookers. Light smoke creates a dusky haze over wet gravel and spring greenery. Acid dances within the peppery nature of the varieties in both a raucous stomping nod to old-world joie de vivre and an obvious clean, defined, modern wine. Late-finish, a charred blackberry–literally one of the ONLY signs of polish–introduces you to his friends in the tannin business.

So here’s a label you’ve never seen in your life and a wine you’ve never seen reviewed, a revered winemaker pulling the best of Iberia into a Paso Robles blend, and it’s STUPIDLY good. People always complain about *how to find good wines* and blogger will write TOMES “de-mystifying” the process, but great wines are everywhere. Right under your nose. Here’s an example.

2010 PER CAZO ‘Epigram’ Temp/Tinto Cao/Souzao/Touriga Nacional Paso Robles 14.5

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