Time. It is said that time waits for no one. Appropriate now, as the days begin to rapidly shorten and the sun goes down before I even have a chance to enjoy it. And though for us, time, in its ever fleeting manner, can pass us by in the blink of an eye, for wine, time can aid in the creation of the most mesmerizing and haunting aromas imaginable.
When talking about aromas, we can break them down into three basic categories - primary, secondary, and tertiary. Our primary aromas are the ones derived from the fruit itself - those fresh berry notes that we smell right up front on young wines. Secondary aromas have to do with winemaking and the winemaker’s influence. Spice and vanilla from the use of new oak, and yeasty autolysis aromas from extended time on the lees, are just a few examples. And finally, we have our tertiary aromas, the ones developed over time. Fresh, fruity aromas turn to dried fruits, nutty characteristics emerge, and leather, mushrooms, tobacco, and forest floor notes develop. These can be the most interesting, complex, and fascinating aromas of all. Unfortunately, we regularly drink wines too young to allow for the development of the notes, and wines that are aged before their release often carry high price tags. Afterall, “Time is money,” according to Benjamin Franklin - a quote which can be taken quite literally in the case of wine.
Luckily for us, the 2009 Cantina Giardino “Nude” is here for our time-derived, tertiary aroma-ed drinking pleasure, and it won’t eat into your kid’s college fund. 100% Aglianico, this cuvée comes from 100 year old vines grown in the hills of Campania. The must ferments on its skins for three months, before spending five years resting, aging, and evolving in casks of various sizes and woods. In the glass, brick hues allude to the evolution of the wine. Leather, dried fig, balsamic, dried mushrooms, and a tinge of smoke pirouette in the glass, while a full-body with plenty of spice, chewy tannins, uplifting acidity, and an ultra-long finish, fill out the palate.
Pairing Cantina Giardino’s “Nude” requires a dish as equally big and bold, and Balsamic Braised Boneless Short Ribs are hearty enough to stand up to the challenge. The meat is first seared in a smoking-hot pan before aromatic vegetables, herbs, beef stock, and balsamic vinegar are added and everything is left to slowly braise for hours. When the meat becomes ultra-tender, the sauce is strained, checked for seasoning, and finally enriched with fresh butter before serving, accompanied by a starch of your liking. Together, these rustic, savory flavors meld effortlessly, and the wine’s bright acidity cuts through the fat of the short ribs, creating a meal fit for any chilly autumn night. The only thing required to complete the experience is the company of that special someone and perhaps a crackling fire to create a long evening of time definitely well spent. Cheers.