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The Most Surprising Wine of the Holidays

It wasn't a high priced trophy wine, but a modest Riesling that went above and beyond.

St Urbans Hof Mosel Old Vines Riesling 2012 $23

I spent a big chunk of the holiday in Bahias de Huatulco, a place with lovely views and a dearth of decent wine (the exception is the wacky but loveable Nebbiolo from Baja’s LA Cetto, which is fun and fruity and tastes very little like a Barolo or Barbaresco). I had a “holiday” dinner on December 20 and ploughed through a swell array of bottles including the above bottle of Mosel Riesling I had  tucked away after doing a long piece on the grape for our January issue. As I cleaned the plates at the end of the night I noticed the bottle was only half-done (evidently even my family has limits) so I jammed an ordinary stopper in the bottle, plunked it in the fridge and zipped away for 8 days. I came back, jacked around for a few days and as I was making dinner on Jan 1, I saw the bottle sitting right where I put it—13 days prior. My first impulse as to transfer it to the cooking wine section but my curiosity got the better of me and a poured a bit in a glass. The nose seemed fine if a bit muted and I took that tentative type of sip one does when there are serious concerns about whether you want to put the glasses’ contents in your mouth. It was fine— more than fine really, it was great. There was maybe an imperceptible softening of the wine’s acidity but its natural sweetness had acted like a protective cloak on it’s still-vibrant fruit. I polished off the entire bottle.

People always ask me how long wine can last after you open it and my general answer is, beats me. I have had low cost Argentinian Malbecs that surprised, and classified Bordeaux that disappointed. But I’m not sure I’ve had an entry level wine last 2 weeks with no fancy argon or air sucking tools. And that was a perfect way to kick of 2015.

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