EPIC Old White Wine tasting, Parte TRE – 1998 Villa Russiz Graf de la Tour Sauvignon

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Continuing with the EPIC tasting I shared with Gianni Menotti, ex-winemaker of Villa Russiz, I presnt the wine that basically generated the idea of tasting in the first place: 1998 Villa Russiz Graf de la Tour Sauvignon.

The Graf de la Tour is the top wine of the Villa Russiz estate, along with its red counterpart, the Merlot de la Tour. There’s also a Grafin de la Tour Chardonnay. I scored this bottle in the same little deal I made when I got the ZH Gewurztraminer I tasted here.

I’ll be very honest. I wasn’t expecting much from this bottle. 1998 was a cool, rainy year in Friuli, but those who managed to get grapes in before the torrential September rains made some solid whites (reds were almost universally washed out). I also don’t expect much from aged Friulian Sauvignon. The older Friulian Sauvignons I had tasted had lost their fresh and fruity charm and weren’t able to develop into something more interesting and complex with time.

Then I tasted this.

The nose was still discernible as Sauvignon, already a rare feat for a wine of this age. There was a note of methane or natural gas on the nose that was obviously a product of age. No obvious oxidation in color, aroma or flavor. On the palate there was gorgeous weight, sexy texture AND freshness. Very much alive and kicking. There was mature citrus and grapefruit… On a 13 year old Sauvignon!?  Tons of length, very balanced and simply delicious. My notes say “OMG it’s so good. This is a 13 year old white wine I want to drink right now”… and I would gladly drink it again and again…

If I could find more.. but alas it was my only bottle. And what an experience it was.

I defy anyone to find a wine, white or red, that gives more pleasure and satisfaction after 13 years. Magnificent.

Coming soon… Austrian Riesling!

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