it was a GV. and I think your collective wisdom must be right that the bottles are not flawed but just too old from this particularly hot vintage. The reason this caught me off guard is that I've had even older GV and Rieslings from the wachau that were almost impossibly young tasting, and golden colored, which I had begun to think was just normal for these wines. I just didn't have experience with smaragd level GV collapsing even a little. My own inexperience here -- that is why I turned to all of you.
I'll be curious to see how 2002 stood up - got one or two of those in the cellar as well.
If it was a GV, it's even less of a surprise. Although some Grüners can hold up easily for ages, usually Rieslings hold up even longer. What you should remember from now on is to steer clear of European 2003's - except for Vintage Ports. They are terrific.
2002 GV might be doing better, because it was a cooler vintage, meaning that it should have at least high enough acidity. The fruit department is a whole another story: that year was so cold in many places so often the wines didn't develop sufficient fruit concentration. That translates to that many wines don't have enough stuffing to survive long enough. In many cases those 2002's I've had have shown completely faded fruit, so that there is really nothing left to the wine except for acidity and perhaps some mineral bitterness; the fruit has left the wines a long time ago, and although the wine hasn't oxidized (thanks, high acidity!), the end result is a rather flavorless and unpleasantly austere aged wine.
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