Right out of the bottle this almost seemed corked, but then, with just a few minutes of air, that "corkiness" morphed into a massive whiff of eucalyptus, menthol, and baseball-mitt leather, presaging a wine of astounding complexity and a whole lot of fun. Flavors of melted fig, pomegranate syrup, chocolate, and peppermint finished on a distinctly briny note, with hints of star anise and fennel seed. The color retention, even at 16 years old, is amazing, and while it's absolutely singing right now, this bottle could last a few more years. Still, if I had access to any more of them, there's no way I could hold off on popping the cork immediately: Pleasure this profound is never something you want to deny yourself.
[Special thanks to Ryan Margolis, of the phenomenal Ryan Wade Group, for bringing the Ares over to my home this past weekend. He recently celebrated a significant birthday, and wanted to open up this, his last bottle of the '99, to mark the occasion. It was astounding on its own and miraculous alongside six-hour smoked ribs. And, as always, special bottles of wine are best savored with great friends and family, and having the chance to experience this stunner of a bottle alongside him, his wife and my wife was perfect. Happy birthday, friend, and thank you for sharing!]
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