There is one big mystery of wine that I do not understand and that is when a wine is aged it supposedly got through a “dumb” phase. According to Ken’s Wine Guide, it is defined by “[a] period the wine simply doesn’t taste very good. Vintners have no idea what causes this phenomenon but do agree that the time frame for this dumb phase, which can last for several years, is completely unpredictable.”
My question is how do you know when a wine is dumb versus when it is past peak? A Google search with that exact question brings up nothing. The debate almost scares me into aging wine because the only solution is to buy a case of wine and pop a bottle every once and a while to see how it is.
The reason I bring this up is because Cooper Vineyards released a series of library wines and it is a true test to see how well Virginia wines can hold up. I have already reviewed the 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon and now have opened the 2003 Cooper Vineyards Cabernet Franc. This wine won a couple of awards but I know what you are thinking Cabernet Sauvignon is going to last longer than Cabernet Franc.
In Virginia, aging wines is going to depend upon more of the growing seasons. Wines with more tannins and thicker skins tend to age better. Years with various growing seasons in Virginia can give you a Cabernet Franc as light as the lightest Pinot Noir or as dark as the darkest Cabernet Sauvignons.
There is obviously no tasting notes so let’s get right to it. First, let me tell you that pouring the wine is was a pretty light color and the bottle is stained from the neck down. My understanding of this is that it is from the age of the wine.
Color – Very transparent with red brick on the edges.
Nose – Pomegranate, light fruit, and a little bit of earth maybe limestone?
Taste – Very light to no fruit and a little bit of black pepper.
Finish – Clean with medium to high acid and no tannins.
Overall, for it’s age I gave it a higher rating but it really did not have a whole lot of flavor. This wine was either in the “dumb” stage or past it’s peak. By it’s color, I am going with past it’s peak. It was drinkable, which is why I do not think it went bad but I am glad I didn’t hold onto this one for longer than I did. Basically, if you have one open it now!