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TN: 1988 Ahlgren Semillon, "St. Charles Vineyard," Santa Cruz Mountains AVA (5 Jan 2014)

zin1953 Jan 5, 2014 09:42 PM

1988 Ahlgren Semillon, "St. Charles Vineyard," Santa Cruz Mountains AVA (tasted 5 Jan 2014)

Pale lemon in color, clear and brilliant to the eye; the bouquet is rich and fragrant with figs, vanilla, light spice, and an airy, breezy "fresh air" quality; on the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, round and fleshy, but with an underlying character of ripe fig, grass, vanilla, oak, and just a sense of "richness" to it, and yet the wine is very well-balanced, completely dry, with good acidity that carries the wine well, to a very long, very flavorful and lingering finish.

Absolutely brilliant, paired with a roasted chicken coated with salt, pepper, olive oil, and Herbs de Provence, and a puréed cauliflower soup made with a chicken stock base (no cream).

The fact that this is a TWENTY-FIVE year old dry white wine, and does not taste (nor look) more than 5-7 years of age, to me, still amazes me, and this -- my final bottle of a case -- just may be the best yet!

The wine was barrel-fermented, and bottled in June 1989.

  1. Robert Lauriston Jan 6, 2014 12:30 PM

    It's fascinating to me that some of those old bottles still look and taste so young. Luckily, since I bought so much, I like the bottles that show their age, too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      zin1953 Jan 6, 2014 01:07 PM

      Robert, just so there is no misunderstanding, this wine has developed over the past 25 years, gaining in complexity and character since I first tasted it out of barrel. It *did* show its age from that perspective, in that -- at 5-7 years of age -- it was far more primary in character and tight in terms of acidity. But your AVERAGE dry white California wine at 25 years of age would show a deep golden color (if not brown), and the wine would be oxidized and OTH. Clearly THIS Ahlgren fits into that category known as "the handful of exceptions."

      1. re: zin1953
        Robert Lauriston Jan 6, 2014 03:04 PM

        Like I said, I bought a lot of it. None of the wines are over the hill to my palate. Some show their age in a delicious way, others would pass for young. I suppose the variation is most likely due to exactly where the bottles were in which cellar.

    2. b
      budnball Jan 6, 2014 06:19 PM

      How was the cork? This is my favorite winery of all but boy do their old corks throw me. You turned me on them because of Semillon, Jason and I am very grateful. I have 2 bottles left of the 88 and rather gold bottle of 1980 left. I just looked online to what they had left but the server was down.

      3 Replies
      1. re: budnball
        zin1953 Jan 7, 2014 07:58 AM

        Cork was perfect; came out in one piece as expected . . .

        1. re: budnball
          Robert Lauriston Jan 7, 2014 09:59 AM

          Some of the corks in my bottles have been fragile, so I've been using an Ah-So.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            budnball Jan 7, 2014 01:00 PM

            Thanx, I've been cheese clothing many bottles. I guess I will replace the one I lost.

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