August 24, 2013

Muscedere Vineyards 2005 Canadian Oaked Chardonnay

(Re-Tasted August 2013) ... The boys at Muscedere have a lot to be proud of ... over the past decade they have successfully built one of the premier go-to wineries in the Lake Erie North Shore, complete with some of the best reds and a great little back deck with pizza oven.  Yup, the Muscedere boys have a lot to be proud of ... but this wine is not one of them.  I was really looking forward to opening and (re)trying this wine: a Canadian oaked Chardonnay from a hot vintage at only 8 years of age should still have some interesting things going for it.  I would like to be sitting here telling you about the lovely baked fruit, the tropical notes, the mild oak flavouring (from only 4 months in oak) and how it has all come together in its maturity; but 2005 was the year of the fake cork (some call them synthetic) and Muscedere was swept into the vortex.  While synthetics may be fine on drink-now style wines (2-3 years) aging is not their forte.  This wine started off badly and just kept getting worse - after only 5 minutes it was completely undrinkable:  oxidative and cabbagey notes started it off followed by apple cider vinegar and rancid coconut - an absolutely horrible wine to smell or taste, it was literally undrinkable.  Sorry boys this might not have been fully your fault but you did pick the closure.


Katie Myers said...

Hi Michael,

While I’m by no means a wine expert, there are a few things that stick out for me in reading this post.

1. Hot vintage usually means riper fruit and lower acidity, which usually means less longevity.

2. Four months in oak usually does very little to aid the structure and oxygen resistance of a Chardonnay.

3. In 2005, Canadian oak barrels were generally pretty green.

4. From what I understand, the fruit used in this wine was from relatively young vines. Also not great for aging.

So without knowing the wine in particular, and while great in its youth, it doesn’t seem to be a candidate for aging for eight years, in and of itself - independent of the closure.

Notwithstanding that, since you tasted the wine previously, you knew that it had a synthetic closure. While we fundamentally disagree about the ageability of wines under certain types of synthetic closures (and I’ve shown you evidence to prove that wines can age under co-extruded synthetics), your deep-seated belief in how synthetic closures perform should have also guided your decision to lay down this wine. It seems to me that you’re looking for reasons to discredit the closure, when in fact the closure probably had very little to do with the way this wine held together.

Katie Myers

Michael Pinkus said...

Katie ... while I take you four points about the wine - I had no idea the wine was under synthetic closure ... when I tasted the wine I did not see the closure as it was already taken out.

And yes you showed that a wine under synthetic was in fact drinkable - but you had no other bottle with another closure to show the difference in the closure - that to me would be definitive proof: close a bottle of the same wine under screwcap, under cork and under synthetic, then show me them in 10 years and we'll see how they come out ... deal?