The Care and Feeding of Dashed Hopes
The disappointment of imperfection and dashed hopes can be the worst kind, particularly when your expectations were set inappropriately high.
I’m not a big fan of dashed hopes and don’t often take take it well when shown this kind of disappointment can occur.
Sometimes it happens in life, sometimes in wine. Among the most recent set of dashed hopes I’ve had to cope with was the disintegration of a set of wines I expected to find great joy from, but discovered, upon opening them, that they had died. And it didn’t look like a good death they suffered.
Opening my 1976, 1977 and 1978 Stony Hill Chardonnay I had great hopes for that caramelized, apricot, nutty character I love so much in old white wine. To look at them they seemed fine. Golden colored, crystal clear. Magnificent looking 30 year old CA Chard.
They were undrinkable.
I don’t know if I killed them or not, but I’m going assume just for the sake of my own peace of mind that I didn’t (though it is a real possibility). They had been kept in a friend’s temperature controlled, bonded garage for about 8 years since they were purchased at auction. It is possible that sustained heat may have overtaken their place of rest. Maybe it was just their natural reaction to my own neglect of their care and feeding. I’d not looked at them since I purchased them and placed them in storage.
Their nose was sour, acrid and oxidized in the extreme. I did sip each one, but really only out of sympathy and because they deserved and earned it.
I had planned to spend a great deal of time with these friends. I wanted to look at them, spend time with their aromas, dissect the vintage variation, and slowly down them in moderation while thinking back on 1976, 1977 and 1978. Their condition made it nearly impossible for me to extract a single memory of those years. I think disappointment distracts the memory.
I really don’t know if I want to invest the time and energy into these kind of relationships in the future. It’s not the first time I’ve been disappointed and suffered though dashed expectations. But the more it happens the less willing I am to invest the remaining cache of hope that’s still above water. It seems easier to invest in short term frolics where no expectations is the name of the game.
I’m tempted to pull out the remaining 25 or so Stony Hills in the collection and start uncorking. I just can’t bring myself to do it right now. I want the disappointment to dissipate first.