I really do try to be a sympathetic partner, but I find myself involuntarily laughing when, on opening an unusual wine, my other half has a dramatically negative reaction, sometimes declaring a wine horrible and utterly undrinkable. “Oh really, what don’t you like about it?” I usually ask, knowing I’ll get back an amusingly colourful rant. Granted, he has an extremely low tolerance for things not to his taste (not a bad thing) which, when combined with my forgiveness of odd flavours and wine faults, means we have these conversations more frequently than one might expect. And so it was when we opened this wine a couple of nights ago.
Without wanting to suggest I’ve tasted an extensive range, ever since Chris and I shared a magical moment or two over a bottle of Tetsuya’s house red (a Bass Phillip Pinot made especially), I’ve had a soft spot for Phillip Jones’s wines. This one is testing my loyalty, though. Tasted from the same bottle two days apart, my experience is mixed. On the first night, a masculine wine full of robust, sour berry fruit and stalky, in fact almost twiggy, flavour. Although eliciting the aforementioned “yuk” from my partner, I really enjoyed the robust character and almost brutish force of the flavour profile. Granted, there seemed to be all sorts of weird flavours in there too, quite indescribable and frankly not quite “right.”
Two days on and those odd flavours have won the battle. On the nose, a really odd smell that reminds me of rancid deep fryer fat, mixed with crunchy red berries, freshly ground black pepper and horse hair. Not exactly your clean, New World Pinot Noir. The palate continues this oddness, with flavours of paté on Melba toast, potato chips and utterly delicious sour fruit. And that’s the thing with this wine. It’s not right in the head, yet I keep coming back to it, fascinated by its combination of strange and compelling flavours. Flavour profile aside, it is structured really well, with good movement through the mouth and a well balanced interplay of acid and tannin.
I wouldn’t recommend this wine to a stranger, but I would share it with a friend.