A controversial wine. This benchmark Australian label in its 2002 incarnation was savaged by some prominent critics on release, then appeared at an enormous discount at retail. I picked up a couple out of curiosity and whacked them in the cellar. Here’s a first taste.
There’s a curious duality on the nose. First, hints of sweet dark fruit and sweeter oak. Second, an astringent, funky character that is hard to pin down but that exists somewhere between green bean and hot tar. For all that, it’s quite aromatic.
The palate is revealing, as it more strongly contrasts sweet fruit against powerfully astringent, somewhat bitter flavours. Just full of contradictions, this wine. There’s definitely some ripe, black fruit in there. It’s emphemeral, though, and hence teases the palate without providing a sense of closure or completeness. Instead, the wine is somewhat dominated by apparently unripe notes and bitter coffee grounds. It’s all slightly dirty and quite out of keeping with my understanding of style and balance. Some sweet vanilla oak sneaks into the after palate, and the finish is quite long.
I left a little in glass overnight and it calmed somewhat, but with this diminution of difficult flavours came an overall dullness that is no compensation. I should note, though, that we finished the bottle between us, and it’s ironic that a wine about which I have so many questions can still be oddly drinkable. The other half certainly liked it more than I, so maybe it’s just not my style.
Date tasted: July 2008