Unison Selection 2005

The flagship wine from Unison Vineyards in New Zealand. As with the regular Unison, this wine is a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, proportions unspecified. A spicy, peppery, dried floral, clean-fruited nose that keeps shifting from under my feet (nostrils?). It’s a forthright. slightly lifted nose that promises intensity and dexterity in the mouth. Fruit is deep and complex, moving between shots of cassis, sweet raspberry liqueur and other goodness. Creamy, custard oak adds plushness. As it sits in the glass, high toned spice is giving way, partly at least, to fruit and oak. I love wines like this, constantly changing and revealing layers of complexity. The palate is initially a bit disorienting, in that it is perhaps less momentous than indicated by the nose. Once you adjust to the scale of it, though, it vibrates with fascinating flavours. Entry is tingly and acidic, signalling the other principal pleasure of this wine: texture. Intense fruit flavour registers soon thereafter, flowing to a medium to full bodied mid-palate of clean, complex fruit and spice. Coffee-ground oak is a fairly prominent flavour influence, and is somehow appropriate given the acidic, extracted nature of the mouthfeel. The after palate leaves behind any plushness of fruit and progresses to a more oak-driven savouriness that suggests some time in bottle may be beneficial. Finish is long, slightly sweet and a little aggressive. I wish I had more bottles of this. It’s a different wine from the Unison, although clearly emerging out of the same idea of “wine.” It’s a bigger wine in most ways, built to drink slowly and examine closely. I love it. Start drinking in about 5 years. Update: I’ve been following this wine for two days (unrefrigerated) and it has really opened up to become almost voluptuous. Great balance, the after palate and finish filling out nicely. No signs of the wine tiring yet. Unison VineyardsPrice: $NZ48Closure: DiamDate tasted: January 2008

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