I was looking forward to the arrival of my 2005 Morgon, Javernièes, Louis Claude Desvignes from Chambers Street Wine Merchants. I knew this was going to be great stuff without even tasting it so I grabbed some of the few bottles they had available. Now I know that this wine won’t even start to be ready to drink until next year and will be better yet in two or three, but, alas, I was weak and as soon as it arrived just had to taste a bottle. After all, I had five more bottles. I pulled the cork and into a big Riedel I poured my little present to myself to serve alongside some fragrant rosemary braised lamb. I lifted the glass in giddy anticipation of the gloriously gamy gamay glamorously gussied up in its beautiful purple robe. With great skill I swirled that swirl that takes years of wine swirling to achieve and put this treasure to my nose and inhaled with practiced precision prepared to experience every aspect of this fabulous wine. All this anticipation came to a grinding halt. The wine was just ordinary. I smelled again and again in disbelief. A few tastes confirmed my nose’s bad news. There seemed to be greatness hidden somewhere, but everything was strangely muted and the wine was more dead than alive. Then I picked it up, hidden in the background was a slight mustiness: the wine was corked. Just barely, but it was corked. With a heavy heart I reached for a corkscrew and pulled the cork on another bottle of my all to limited supply, which was now down to four. This second bottle not only lived up to my expectations, but exceeded them. This is an extraordinary wine with depth and complexity that many a Burgundy only achieves in its dreams. It is a substantial wine with a mouth coating richness and texture. The velvety tannins remind you that you should not be drinking this wine tonight, but in three to five years. Not surprisingly, this gem is imported by Louis/Dressner.
These slightly corked bottles are an all too common problem. You taste the wine and it seems just not “right”. Often even in a group of experienced tasters, some may miss the corkiness and fault the wine instead of just the bottle before them. Without a doubt most are consumed with the drinkers either ignoring the problem or just plain not recognizing the problem. When you get a bottle of wine that seems not quite right, give it a close second look. When your instincts tell you something is just not right, you’re probably right.
I’ve been on a bad run over the last couple of weeks getting a corked bottle every few days. Screw caps are looking better and better.