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Jan 5, 2014 09:42 PM

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

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.

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  1. 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

      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

        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. 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

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

        1. re: budnball

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

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

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