Tonight, I shared two bottles of wine given to me by a co-worker with a dear friend. These weren’t expensive, well aged bottles, but rather a two bottles of wine from our annual wine sale from 10 years ago or so. The game was on, would these be drinkable? Would these wines be so vinegar-ized that we’d have to run as fast as we could to my go to, “Heavy Weight Cabernet?”

The wines in question:

Graham Beck Shiraz 2003, from South Africa. This wine didn’t appear to have aged much in the glass, showing as a deep garnet with little to no rim  variation. It was less aromatic, but it’s scents and flavors were definitely of an aged being. This Shiraz entertained dried figs, warm woody scents, potpourri, sun-baked jam, though nothing brilliant. Experiencing this wine was like opening an old trunk in the attic, and coming across your grandparent’s memorabilia of a time long forgotten. 2003 wasn’t so very long ago, but it certainly seems like generations for this wine. Graham Beck’s Shiraz was not very expensive, and not meant for aging, but it was a fascinating experience.

Do note, the most memorable experience I ever had with a specific wine, happened to be a 2003 vintage of the Hess Mountain Cuvee Collection.

The next wine of the night was Luna Vinyard’s Sangiovese 2000. This wine, as expected, held up better than the shiraz.  I expected that a sangiovese, being a bigger, more tannin producing grape would be more likely to age more gracefully. This wine was unfiltered, so it came out, as thick as blood, dark burgundy, almost an earthy color. Indeed, it looked like blood, and fittingly so. This wine smelled of raisins, chocolate syrup, rich chocolate cordial, almost a nutty spirit scent, decayed roses, old lace. Luna Vinyard’s Sangiovese was an elderly person, who’s force of personality, their vibrance, vitality, and spirit shines brightly through their eyes, who they once were, what they once were, but for whom their body no longer reflects this brilliance.

In the end, we did not finish either glass or bottle, but my friend and I sat in the sun and enjoyed the treat. It’s something you do, not because you think the wine is going to be fabulous. It’s something you do because you want the experience. After all, what is wine without it? Ruined grape juice.