Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wine Detective - The Case Of The Cooked Hummingbird Or To Kill A Hummingbird

The case of 2004 Cuvee de Colibri was a mystery. The brick red claret-like Arizona wine had a nose of smoke, spice, and tobacco, but the fruit tasted of raisins and prunes. Clearly this hummingbird (Colibri) had been exposed to heat, but where? Who had cooked this hummingbird? Had he simply exhausted himself by beating his wings millions of times? Was he suffering from heat exhaustion? Dehydrated, perhaps? Who killed this hummingbird? Was the fruit overripe when it was picked in the vineyard? Was the bottle exposed to heat in storage at the winery? Was it exposed in shipping to the retailer? Did it sit on the shelf in a hot retail space?

Detective Pino Noir ( related to Guy Noir and Detective Poireau) suspected the winemakers and vineyardists. Left on the vine too long in the super-hot Arizona summer, the grapes must have been overripe. Ah, but Detective Pino had purchased another bottle from the same source! This one was fresh, fruity, light and clean like a sprightly Beaujolais. Light and easy, but definitely not cooked. This Colibri could fly around enjoying it's incredible lightness and sharing it's al fresco joy with us.

So Detective Pino now deduced that the hummingbird could not have been cooked in the retail shop, although there was a lingering doubt that the two bottles may have been purchased at different times from different lots. He further concluded that the grapes were not overripe since one bottle was fresh. Upon further examination he discovered that the bottle closure of the first sample, was contorted and seemed to have almost melted. Where did this happen? At the winery? In shipping? On the retail shelf? Who cooked the hummingbird? What do YOU think?

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