While we wait, endlessly, for the new grapes to come in -- what was supposed to be Malbec on Wednesday is now maybe Malbec on Friday -- let me think my way back a few weeks to the most recent bottlings of the 2009s.
Among the adventures from that vintage was a five-grape Bordeaux blend, the whole contemporary crew -- Merlot from Sangiacomo Vineyard in Sonoma, Cabernet Franc from the Russian River, Cabernet Sauvignon from El Dorado County in the Sierras, Malbec from Russian River, and a pinch of Petit Verdot from Napa. I will admit that Bordeaux grapes are not my preferred cup of tea, but with some goading from my co-conspirators, doing the whole Bordeaux Bingo became an irresistible force. (No, no Carménère, the phantom Bordeaux grape that migrated to Chile; we'll get around to that when we find a source.)
For the first few months of its life, this blend tasted marvelous; almost ready to drink, full of tasty fruit. Then it had an attack of aldehydes, unpleasant compounds put together by the mating of ethyl alcohol and oxygen, dampening the aromas/flavors and offering up something stale and nasty instead. Thanks to the miracle of sulfur dioxide (aka sulfites or SO2), this unpleasantness got fixed, and the fruit came back.
When we got around to the label, like most home winemaker efforts, this one has a convoluted, private story. But stick with me; the labels themselves are worth it.