Grosset Gaia 1997

This wine has traveled an awfully long way to my table here in San Diego: it’s from South Australia originally, was apparently imported to Germany at some point (the label says “Wein aus Australien” after all), wound up in a Chicago auction house, and now here it is, suddenly making my table look more sophisticated than it has any right to be. (I hid the carry-out pizza box outside just to make sure.)This is obviously a full mature wine: the nose has more to do with shoyu than grapes at this point, suggesting dusky vats, umeboshi, and dried cuttlefish (which, by the way, don’t really smell of fish, but rather of salt). There’s also a seductive aroma of dried cranberries, strawberry fruit leather, and freshly cut cedar. It’s decidedly strange – and yet appealing.The wine has all held together fairly well; it’s probably slightly past its peak at this point, but you do get more than sweet liquid and smoke, which is a relief. There’s a hint of musky, minty berry, a somewhat tired aged note, hints of charred coffee, and then it slinks away under the cover of darkness, leaving only a very slightly off note of sweet old wine. Tannins are still present, doing their best to support the fading fruit; it’s so very close to being a good older wine, at yet it’s not, not really.[By the way, please accept my apologies for labeling this Meritage. It isn’t, at least not technically, but it is a Bordeaux style wine: mostly cabernet (sauvignon and franc) with 5% merlot.]On second thought, this wine is likely displaying low level TCA contamination, unfortunately – it’s at that subliminal level where all it does is mask the true character and quality of the wine, I think. It isn’t immediately obvious, but it is, I believe, causing the strange muted character on the finish more than any other explanation of which I can conceive.Good on Jeffrey Grosset for moving to screwcaps – this shouldn’t happen with newer vintages.GrossetPrice: US $30ishClosure: CorkDate tasted: June 2008

2 thoughts on “Grosset Gaia 1997

  1. You’re inspiring me to grab a few bottles from the cellar and give them a whirl. I recently retrieved a stash of not-very-old Rieslings (mostly from 2002 and 2005) from storage, and will taste my way through those over the next little while. I’ve been curious about several 2002s we tasted together back in the day, but have successfully avoided drinking them until now.

    Thankfully, these are almost entirely bottled under screwcap.

  2. I began clearing out the final contents of our wine locker last weekend, and found a number of older bottles that demanded to be tasted sooner rather than later. I have another bottle of the 1997 Gaia left; the one I had last year was phenomenally good, so I think this is a bottle-specific problem.

    As for the 2002 rieslings, I expect to drink a number of those at our wedding (due in two months); they’re drinking well now, and I’m running out of storage space here at the house, so some of them have got to go.

    Which reminds me, I need to do an Offcuts post here… one sec…

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