The Vanquisher of Mid-Winter Doldrums

by Al Drinkle

Once or twice per winter, I attempt to counter an exceptionally frigid evening with a monolithic red wine. Especially after a gelid trudge home from work or a mundane snow removal session, bombastic flavours that recount effortless ripeness or Mediterranean environs can make a great companion to a Trashmen record (Beach Boys if I’m feeling particularly deviant) or a Frankie Avalon movie. You might call this a pairing of “contrast”, and it works, but there’s another path…

Once safe indoors and exempt from the vagaries of winter for an evening, I perversely enjoy vicarious engagement with the bitter seasonal pestilences by watching something like Corbucci’s Il Grande Silencio or reading the hibernal tales of Gogol or Solzhenitsyn. Nothing can mock the elements and enact vinous pathetic fallacy like a pairing of complement – an austere liquid rapier, charmingly fruitless and excruciatingly glacial. We happen to have the national exclusive on a perfect candidate.

In April 2017, the nefarious ogress known as Mother Nature mercilessly eradicated more than half of Wagner-Stempel’s potential Riesling crop by initiating a devastating frost attack upon the vineyards of Siefersheim. In order to come up with something approximating commercial quantities of wine, the Wagner family essentially had to commandeer their neighbors’ vineyards. They paid them to walk away for a season so that they could apply organic farming and impose (further) yield restrictions in pursuit of the quality for which they’re known. Born of frost, the result is a fiercely complex vanquisher of mid-winter doldrums and seasonal sobriety.