The 20 year-old Chardonnay may look over the hill, but it wasn’t. The 2001 Franciscan Oakville Estate Sauvage with 14.1% alcohol, scored 16+ Dionysian points on its scale of 20. The wine cost about $15 twenty years ago. It was fermented with wild yeast from the vineyard, thus the name. Its color was all amber with golden brown on the edge.

The nose was honey and caramel with golden fig notes. It thought it was cooked, or maderized when I opened it, judging too soon, but its aromas showed only mature complexities.

It was swerved with buttered scallops

I drank a lot of Franciscan wines before their alcohols went above 14%. This one was cellared to test it. The rest of the case was consumed between six and twelve year of age. Try going beyond “fruit-bombs” and learn to treasure multiple complexities in older wines, wines that need to be savored very slowly.In Vino Veritas.