Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wine Wednesday: Hilmy Cellars' Persephone

I am generally a red drinker; I love the flavors conjured by reds, like the earth, the berries, and so on. I also like the tannins and similar elements. To be honest, I generally turn to a red. However, in the past year I have come to really appreciate whites, though I drink few. And those I do drink, and drink again, are usually pretty amazing. One such wine is Hilmy Cellars' Persephone (and to be honest, all their whites are wonderful). This white blend of grapes from the Texas high plains is a melody that moves smoothly through its expereince.


This is a subtle and fine wine; a great representation of a complex and refreshing white. The nose is a good tell for the wine. The aroma is light yet poignant. A light citrus smell, like pineapples, comes through. To be honest, I am quite fond of these citrus flavors, especially in wine. Lemon and lime can be so overpowering -- but great in ades. Orange is a hard flavor to balance in wine and works well in sweets. But when it comes to dry whites, pineapple and its similar flavors are the ones that make for a beautiful experience. The pineapple scent, though, is paired well with a buttery scent that makes me think of barrel aging. Overall, it is a smooth movement into a balance of these scents.

The same goes for the flavor. The flavor is light -- even when well chilled -- and is a fluid harmony. At first, the greater flavors are only hints, flirting at the taste buds. But, the flavor builds. The pineapple shines through and is softened by the butter, which is less pronounced here. The fruit flavors take center stage as the pineapple mingles with pear and a light, delicate hint of peach. As the fruit comes out, the flavor enhances to a summit. A crisp acid sense sets in -- lightening and edging off any possible sweetness. At this point, the flavors slip away before there is time to notice.

Sensory Experiences

This wine brought so much to mind. I was swept up into so many different concepts. The visual always quickly comes to me, but I also had a greater sense of smell and feel. And this time, I thought of music; however, I was also inspired by a conversation I had Saturday at Vinously Speaking too. So, I decided to do a few quick descriptions. In the end, the movement of the wine stood out, so most of my renderings focus on that quality.


I was I torn here. At first, I saw and sensed a rain storm. But, I realized that the underlying element here was the movement of flavor, so a Japanese wall scroll came to mind.

First, the wine is quick and surprising; this surprise is refreshing and makes the drinker want another sip, or another glass. A quick rain storm is so like that. There are those first few heavy drops, signalling something good. Then the clouds open up and let the rain come down as a full out shower. And just as soon as the rain soaks in, it suddenly goes away. This is the wine. But the wine is also bright; the sun that shines through the rain clouds, despite the rain, is just the same.

The wine is also fluid and smooth as it moves from lighter flavors to strong ones and then into calm. I can't see a particular scroll -- there are so many anyway -- but I see the fluid brushstrokes of water moving, especially a light, washed out blue that is accentuated by startling white waves. But the fluidity is also like birds. In Japanese scrolls, the birds are often a few smooth simple lines. Perched or in flight, these birds are simple touches of smoothness; I see pale birds in colors like green. These birds, their trees, and such are punctuated by bold black strokes that add depth to the smoothness and movement. The wine is smooth and fluid, but it has its bold moments too.

Touch and Smell

This wine is also like the Christmas season. I have always enjoyed the bracing chill of winter; sometimes I think I need to go back and live in the mountains. When it gets cold here, I relish in it. So for me, the nip in the air around Christmas is invigorating. The wine is similar in its sense of refreshment and invigoratation with its light, airy flavors.

But Christmas is a time that longs for spring and summer. In its early days, it incorproated Saturnalia and similar pagan holidays as people celebrated the winter solsitce and the beginning of longer days. Scents of these times, citrus especially, is so common, as they are often equated to the warmth and sun. Pineapple on ham, fruit cake, fruit cookies empahsize that fruit. And of course, the smell of buttery sugar cookies baking always mingle with that. That sense is this wine.


What struck me most here was the movement in this wine. The wine feels so operatic as it starts quiet, soft, only hinting at the power yet to come. And then, the power is there, ringing loud and clear, a brillance of sound. Finally, without warning, it slips away, only a memory. This movement is my experience of this wine.
From Collider

And I wish I could pinpoint a specific opera for this, but I know few operas, symphonies, sonatas, and the like so intimately. So I turn to what I know best. I see this as the opening movements of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Freddie Mercury (Happy 66th birthday by the way!) has a soft, lilting voice that beckons us in. Then, suddenly, Brian May's guitar charges in with Roger Taylor's drums. The beating bassline of John Deacon quickly falls in line with Freddie's powerful voice, burtsing at the seams. And then, just as quickly as they appeared, it all falls away.

The wine at Hilmy has such exciting complexities, red or white. Their whites delve into ideas and sensations that mingle nd harmonize. The reds are bright and bold, striking with powerful strokes. All have a sense of movement and feel that is so interesting. And in the case of Persephone, the movement draws in the drinker and beckons. As I said earlier, one sip must have another. A glass beckons for a second. And despite the young age of this winery, each bottle I buy and drink moves into the next.

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