Monday, May 3, 2010

The Miracle of Bin 444

Bin 444 is a cabernet sauvignon bottled by Wyndham Estates in far-away Australia.  A quick trolling of the Internet reveals this winery is located in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.  This doesn't mean much to me because I have never visited the Hunter Valley, or New South Wales, or even Australia for that matter, but now I have good reason to: the Miracle of Bin 444.

The bottle upon which the miracle was visited was 1.5 liters of the 2002 vintage.  We purchased it at our local wine store on the recommendation of our local wine store guy (alas, he is no longer around to give us his sound and excellent advice) for a Christmas party back in 2003.  We never got to that particular bottle that day and it languished in the cellar for another 6 years until it was called into duty at the Great Ladies Bonfire Party of September 2009.  And even then it was not fully consumed, about half of the bottle was left over.  I must have had a taste and deemed it worthy of holding onto, maybe for cooking purposes if naught else, as I vacu-vinned it and put it up in the cabinet over the refrigerator.  Other bottles were in time called forth from said cabinet over the following months and the bottle of Bin 444 slowly sank into the back of the cabinet, forlorn and forgotten until one day when it was remembered and pulled out to help marinate some steak tips.

I re-corked it with the vacu-vin and left the bottle out on the counter, not intending to drink any.  However my wife poured herself a glass the next day at dinner time and asked what was up with the bottle of port I had left out?  What bottle of port I asked?  The bottle of Bin 444 she said.  That's no port says I - Well try some says she.  So I will says I, and I pours myself a glass.

Wikipedia defines a miracle as "an act defying the laws of nature. Sometimes an event is also attributed (in part) to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature."

And well, by God and by Wikipedia it was a miracle. The laws of nature had been subverted if not interrupted.  Instead of a miserable vinegary unholy stinking glass of yecch (I exaggerate for dramatic effect, this is the fate I imagine for most wines which overstay their visit upon this vale of tears, or so I believed) I held in my hand a glass of Bin 444 which tasted like a tawny port, all mellow with a bit of caramel.  In fact it was damned good!

So how did this come about?  The vacu-vin must have done some good in removing all or most of the air from the bottle.  Was the conversion caused by oxidization?  Another fermentation?  Maderization?  I have no idea, I just learned those terms by doing an Internet search on Google.  But in any event, the label writer did not lie when they wrote that "the Bin 444 can be enjoyed now or will reward medium term cellaring". 

So we bid a fond adieu to you, our now empty bottle of 2002 Bin 444.  While you were not the Miracle on 34th Street, or the Miracle on Ice, and not even closely related to the Miracle of Compound Interest, you were our little miracle, and we thank you for the quirky pleasure you brought into our lives.

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