A Montes Folly Vertical Tasting

At The Wine Rack

with Christopher Reckord

Thursday, November 08, 2018

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The most foolproof way to truly learn about wine is with focused tasting, not the cocktail party-styled walk-around tasting. Side-by-side horizontal and vertical wine tastings offer two interesting ways to compare and contrast wines and take the learning experience to a different level. Buying age-worthy wines by the case and laying them down gives you an opportunity to be able to enjoy them at their prime in later years — if you have the discipline to not drink them.

A horizontal tasting involves wines from the same vintage. We choose a vintage and we might also choose some other limitations on the wines involved. We might decide to have only red wines, or wines from a single grape variety or just “Super Tuscans”, but, the wines will all be from a single vintage.

A vertical tasting involves wines from the same winery but from different vintages. If the winery produces more than one type of wine, you would select a single wine from that winery and taste multiple vintages of that wine. Ideally, it's best to have at least three different vintages; however, recently we tasted just two vintages of one of Vi_a Montes ultra-premium wine: Montes Folly Syrah.

Upon being gifted a 2015 Montes Folly Syrah, I dug into my 'cellar' to find that several years ago I had invested in a case of 2006 Montes Folly Syrah. Always wanting to share such an experience with folks eager to really learn about the nuances of wine and what makes each bottle different, I asked a few friends to stop by to sample these wines side by side. Here's what a few had to say:

“2006 was full of flavours and aroma. A confident and age-able wine which jumps at you with class and personality... can't help but love it. 2015 was easy to drink and smooth but lacking in flavours. It got better with time as it was able to breathe over time, but no amount of time could help it to equal the 2006. 2006 was my winner all the way.” — Businessman and football coach Charlie Edwards.

“2006 had a completely different character and nose from the 2015... night and day. The 2006 made its younger counterpart pale in comparison... the 2006 shot!” — IT consultant Trevor Forrest.

“Admittedly, I haven't been drinking as much wine as I used to, so having an opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison of such a fine wine was a special treat. This was my impression: Looking at the 2006, its age wasn't that obvious and it was only when I looked side by side with the younger version that I noticed the slight difference with the 2006 fading ever so slightly near the meniscus compared to the 'dark to the very edge' of its younger counterpart, though both were deep in colour.

“It was on the nose that the difference started to really emerge, the 2006 showing more complexity which followed through with the first sip. Chocolate/coffee and blackberry jumped out for me along with the usual spicy notes expected from a Syrah. These were more muted in the younger vintage, but only because of this side-by-side comparison. They both got better the longer they stayed in the glass, if you had the discipline to resist. The mouthfeel and finish were similar, with the 2006 still showing impressive tannin. I would love to taste this wine in a few more years.” Photographer & Kingston Industrial Garage Parts Department Manager Mark Evans

For me, I was a tad nervous to open the 2006, but as we poured it I was first blown away by how intense the ruby-red colour was for this 12-year-old bottle of Chilean wine. As I swirled the glass the dark fruit aromas jumped from the glass giving us the first hint that the wine was sound and in good condition. Upon tasting it, there was silence at first in order to take it all in … this impressive 2006 Montes Syrah was rich and dense suggesting that it still has a few more years to go, but it drinks very well right now. In hindsight, it was unfair to taste the 2015 after; 40 mins in the air did improve the wine, same deep ruby red, very expressive nose, but upon tasting it was missing some depth and character that the 2006 had. While we thoroughly enjoyed both wines, the 2006 was the unanimous favourite for the evening.

So thrilled was I by the results of the tasting, that I went in search of the 2006 Montes Folly technical data sheet from the winery and I was pleasantly surprised by their cellaring recommendations: “2006 harvest was characterised by excellent weather conditions that allowed Aurelio Montes to harvest the grapes at the optimum ripening moment. Cellaring recommendations: 2006 Montes Folly can be enjoyed now but will improve over a long cellaring over 20 years. Recommended serving temperature: 64 F (18Q C). Decanting: At least one hour, to allow the wine to open and breathe.”

Happily, I have a few more bottles of the 2006. Can I wait until 2026?

Christopher Reckord — Wine Enthusiast and CEO of Managed IT services provider tTech Limited. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord

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