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Nightingale and the Rose

Yesterday I was reminded of Oscar Wilde`s The Nightingale and the Rose.  It was a 2013 vintage New Zealand Pinot Noir, a wine transformed, in just a few years, from bright, fresh, and red-fruited (I remember it as a three-year old), to forest floor, damson, and blackberry. It was delicious, but probably approaching the end of its life, I felt; it had a caramelized note on the finish, scrummy, yet telling of its demise. It occurred to me how so many wines in the last throws of their lives can be at their most expressive, and beautiful. As though the wines have saved the best of everything, until the last. Which made me think of the nightingale. In the story, the bird sings his most beautiful song at the time of his death, having thrown himself on the thorn of a rose. He gives his life willingly, for love, in a glorious crescendo. This blood-red (slightly browning) Pinot Noir sang such a song to me yesterday. A most poignant moment it was too, sitting in my garden porch, the liquid swishing in my Riedel glass, a bare thorny bush by my side. The promise of roses.  Happily, this wine still has another six months or so, I`d say. Plenty of time to pop another bottle.  “Rapaura Springs Reserve, Marlborough £22.99”.  Another bird said to sing a glorious song in death is the swan. So, it is to the swan, then, I look to our 2015 white wines, and especially to the Chardonnays. These are spectacular right now, golden yellows with silky-soft fruits; and I know the closer to death they get during these coming Summer and Autumn months, the more magnificent they will be.  Even as they turn to amber, toward the end, I know some of them will sing the beautiful, melancholy song of the swan; and such rewards, I suspect, will inspire poetry. One such beauty is Chile`s “Lot # 5 Leyda Chardonnay, £24.99.” Already it is displaying honeysuckle, lemon curd, peach, and brioche. I can`t wait for its Swan Song!   Cheers everyone.

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