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Tasting notes: 1998 Chateau Moncontour Vouvray: Unruly Beast or Lovely Creature?

We picked up this bottle last week on a trip to Tip-Top Liquors & Wines. We don't usually go to Tip-Top but we were walking home from Golden India after an excellent lunch & less than stellar wine (mine was at least...the bottle was open for days I am sure...) & it was on the way home.

They have a lot of old-ish bottles stacked everywhere along with the new cheap stuff, mingling amongst stacks of cases of wine, some on two-wheelers still. Even the new arrivals are caked in dust. You can usually get some decent deals on hard to find bottles, but it is gamble.

I picked out a '92 Chateauneuf du Pape that was $35, but put it back as soon as La saw that it was only full half-way up the neck. It had some dried wine under the foil. What a shame.

We wanted a white & a red. La just had a Chenin Blanc with lunch & she wanted to explore the grape more, as did I. We saw this Chateau Moncontour Vouvray & that was all she wrote, as they say...whoever they are.

We also picked up a half bottle of 1999 EXP Syrah which was a hit & we extremely missed the absent 375ml.

Opening this bottle was exciting. We have never had a Vouvray & I just finished Kermit Lynch's Adventures on the Wine Route, so of course I had this romantic notion of tasting something magical that would wisk us away to the Loire Valley, but instead, well....let me quote a couple of sentences from the book....

"....Vouvray has passed out of vogue, perhaps because it has become a lesson of frustration to locate a good one."

...and...

"Vouvray can be many things from gutter rinse to a work of art."

With that being said, the first pour scared the hell out of me & I didn't think La would recover. This was before we even put the glass to our lips too.

We didn't even have to put our noses in the glass to get a wiff of the most noxious, sulfur-laden wine we have ever had. It was like a bad chemistry experiment. We tasted it & it wasn't nearly as putrid as the nose, but still, we couldn't get that scent out of our minds.

Most people would have poured it out...not us. We stuck it back in the fridge. I am glad we did.

The next day we both had a glass & it was a totally different wine. There was still a hint of the sulfur, but it was just a scosh & it was way in the background. But otherwise it was a nice crisp, off-dry, delicate wine. It still tasted fresh & lively too. We were amazed.

We can't say that we would buy another bottle, even though we are sure that the sulfur would blow off. For that matter we wouldn't recommend it either, unless of course you are adventurous & are up for a $12 experiment. We are glad to have tried it & seen how much a wine can change over 24 hours.

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