A columnist looks back on 10 years, 10 special wines

VINTAGE POINT

July 05, 1992|By MICHAEL DRESSER

Ten years can pass fast when you're having fun.

* Hamilton Mowbray, owner of Montbray Vineyards in Carroll

County and one of the unsung heroes of the American wine industry, invited a group of writers and wine merchants to dinner one night for a tasting of about a dozen vintages of his amazing seyve-villards (seyval blanc to the rest of the world).

After proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that his seyvals were among the most complex and longest-lived white wines made in the United States, Mr. Mowbray treated us to one of the last remaining bottles of his 1974 Montbray Riesling Ice Wine.

This astonishing dessert wine, made from grapes that had frozen on the vine, slashed across the palate like a scimitar of dry ice. The sugar was superconcentrated, but so was its vibrant acidity. The effect could not have been more electric had we licked a live wire.

Someday, when I'm pushing 95 and every inch of land from the Mason-Dixon Line to the Potomac has been developed, I'll sit back and remember that under the subdivisions of Maryland lies earth that is capable of wonders.

And maybe, just maybe, the owner of the last remaining bottle of 1974 Montbray Riesling Ice Wine will take pity on an old man and bring it over so we can taste it together.

It might even be ready to drink by then.

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