One sniff of this wine takes me back to the Clonakilla cellar door, where I first tasted and subsequently purchased the 2004 Ballinderry. At the time, I wasn’t sure about the wine. It seemed to be almost completely dumb on the nose, much more so than previous vintages, but I have enjoyed this Clonakilla Bordeaux blend on so many occasions that I bought a few purely on past performance.
A couple of years on, and as I say, one sniff takes me back, because it’s still quite a tight wine in terms of its nose. It is, however, starting to unwind, the way a stripper starts by peeling back the outermost layers of clothing. So I’m told. Aromas of dark, perfumed fruit emerge from the glass, with edges of leafy cabernet character and spicy, cedary oak. Very tight, coiled, but by now leaking a little.
The wine’s entry is a bit misleading, in that it is quite easygoing and quickly moves on to an elegant, medium bodied palate of pure, fleshy red berry fruit. Good intensity and complexity of flavour. But just as you begin to suspect the wine is a bit of a sheep in wolf’s clothing, the fine, ripe but rather abundant tannins make themselves felt. They don’t exactly swamp the fruit, but they are very assertive at the moment, and create a lengthy, puckeringly dry finish.
It’s pretty clear to me that this wine’s best years are ahead of it, and I may well wait 2-3 years before trying it again. Really good potential on the basis of this bottle. I’m about to tuck in to a big rump steak now and it will be interesting to see how the wine responds.
Update: food didn’t do much to tame this wine’s structure. Perhaps only time can do that.
Date tasted: November 2007