This was an odd one that defied the vintage and all other attempts at categorization.
Purchased about eight years ago after I'd had Bernadottes from better vintages (and considered them good value at $20ish) and thought these worth a chance at $5/bottle close-out several years later. Initially they were quite disappointing and reminded me of my 4th grade teacher, the elderly spinster Miss Schwellenbach: skinny, stern and ascerbic with light body, frail uncomplex fruit, a mean green streak and tough acids. I remember the first bottle we ever opened sat on the counter for ten days before it became drinkable, but even then it wasn't pleasurable. Every year we'd open one and find it had changed very little, so we finally quit opening them, unsure if they would ever be worth drinking at all even at the ridiculous price I paid.
Last week we finally opened another, and I'm pleased to report that the wine is finally showing well. Yes it's still lean and rather linear, but the meanness is gone and it has finally developed some warm tones both in color and secondary characteristics that make it a better food wine but not uninteresting on its own for those not acid-averse--it now sports a rather umami kind of brightness and a sweet caramel edge. Finally, unlike the bottles up till now, we truly enjoyed the wine. And what's more remarkable, it will go on for years at its current glacial pace and outlast most of the pedigreed wines from the vintage. Now if only I could have the bottles back that we drank and start all over--I believe there are only four left.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov