It’s good to have friends with old wines.

I was the happy dinner partner to one such collector, Lance Montalto of the Wine House in Los Angeles recently, who brought a bottle of Fèlsina Rancia from 1988 to dinner at Gusto.  This is the kind of wine that sneaks up on you.  At first sniff, it exhibited all the straightforward markers of Chianti- leather, tar, cherries.

Then, as the wine began to unfurl itself in the glass the aromatics deepened into haunting notes of chestnuts, crushed bay leaves, dried mullberries, cigar smoke.  This bottle of Rancia was like a cat stretching in the sun- flexible, lazy and eager to soak up the atmosphere once it was allowed to spread itself out over the course of our dinner.

This is why we obsess over older wines- they offer a glimpse into the elusive magic of time.  The same beautiful grapes, handled carefully by the same expert hands taste and smell different after 30 years in the bottle.   This is the alchemy of time.

Simple, confounding, and undeniable.





About The Author

I love all things Italian: the beautiful country of Italia, the Italians themselves, the language, the food… and above all, I love Italian wine. The people I meet in my charmed life are fascinating, the wines are extraordinary. I needed a special place like this to write about them, and to remember them.

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6 Responses

  1. MikeTVino

    My favorite vintage and Rancia on top of that. I enjoyed my last 2 bottles of ’88 Rancia few years back. The first bottle was soooo good I had to open the second!

  2. John

    Joanie, thanks for visiting my site again. I have been reading a few of your posts just now, you are amazing with your knowledge and analysys of wine. And you travel too. Nice! 🙂


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