Les­son long time com­ing

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Wine - with John Jens

WHEN chil­dren first start play­ing video games, the re­sponses are slow, in­ac­cu­rate and awk­ward.

Af­ter many hours of prac­tice over the months and years, ev­ery­thing moves flu­idly, quickly and pre­cisely. The same pro­gres­sion oc­curs in wine tast­ing.

Some great wines are huge, full, pow­er­ful and struc­tured (caber­net), some great wines are lean, long, el­e­gant and fine (ries­ling), while oth­ers are el­e­gant, light, ethe­real and won­der­ful (pinot noir).

I was once tast­ing with a fa­mous wine­maker who was asked why peo­ple pay $10 for one wine and $100 for an­other; he was at a loss and I said, “Let me an­swer that.”

There is one char­ac­ter that every great wine must have: enor­mous length of flavour.

One of the great English masters of wine used a stop­watch to mea­sure a wine’s length of flavour.

A cask wine’s flavours drops away at your throat, Pen­folds Bin 28 at your third top but­ton, Bin 389 at your fifth shirt but­ton, and Yquem – well, who knows?

The stop­watch is clicked off at the fin­ish – at the crisp­ness end of ries­ling, the acid and struc­tur­ing tan­nins of a young caber­net or the mel­low, round bal­ance of a fully ma­tured red.

The time from the mouth en­try to the fin­ish is length of flavour.

Then there is the type of fin­ish as dis­cussed above and later, the lin­ger­ing flavour and mouth-feel sen­sa­tions are the af­ter­taste.

Wine length can only be gained from the right clone of the best va­ri­ety in the best ter­roir, pruned ap­pro­pri­ately, and from a great sea­son. But the most im­por­tant qual­ity fac­tor? Length.

A great Leeuwin – the flavour lingers longer.

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