Thursday, July 10, 2008

Surprise, Surprise; or, Learning My Lesson Again

In the spirit of Rational Denial, a lovely new blog that Brooklynguy turned me on to, I like to experiment, to keep wines open for a few days just to see what happens. So you'd think that I wouldn't be surprised when a wine sheds its baby fat and turns from big fruit to something more complex and elegant. But it just ain't so, as it's a lesson I apparently need to learn again and again.

The 2006 Emilio Bulfon Pecòl Ròs La Santissima, a red blend from Friuli, simply didn't impress me the first two nights it was open. Sure, it showed plenty of licorice, cardamom, earth, and plum on the nose, but for all its crazy indigenous varietals — it's a blend of piculit neri, refosco, fogiarin, and cjanòrie — its big, forward, spicy fruits and lack of structure made me think of merlot, and it didn't impress me in the way of Bulfon's racy, varietal bottlings of piculit neri and fogiarin.

I skipped this on night three and on night four (tonight) I figured I'd just have to toss it. Not so fast! The Pecòl Ròs still has that big black smell but it's more refined on the palate, the acidity more overt and racy, but what's particularly nice here is the briary earthy tannins that coat the tongue. All in all it's a more interesting and balanced wine, and it's proving itself an able partner with pork pan-fried with flat parsley, garlic, and sage.

Now, would I buy the 2006 Pecòl Ròs again? No. Among other things, I still prefer Bulfon's straight-up piculit neri, which has more acidity and more distinct characteristics of cinnamon, rose petals, and earth, and which happens to be cheaper to boot. There are other, more interesting reds for less money, and judged on its own merits, this wine is good rather than very good. But the experience makes me more likely to investigate Bulfon's other wines rather than less, and it reminds me (again) that wines are alive, and spending even two days with one is — as with a person — often not enough to know it.

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