I don’t envy wine show judges. Quite apart from the difficulty of appearing dignified with purple teeth, there’s the challenge of judging a wine based on a quick tasting, in a lineup of fourty, perhaps even fifty like wines, after what may have been several flights earlier in the day. Even if I had the tasting perspective, I’d no doubt make a hash of the process, simply because I feel terribly disappointed when I derive no enjoyment from wine, and therefore tend to give most wines a chance to show a positive side.
And that can take time, sometimes days. Or, in the case of this wine, about half an hour. Still, I was ready to write it off at first. My initial sip was as follows: bright red, aggressively confected aroma preceding a sweet, medium bodied palate of considerable simplicity. Next!
But oh, how it’s evolved in the glass. After a little time and air, the nose is quite transformed. While it remains within an easy drinking idiom, there’s plenty of interest to the aroma profile, with meaty Mourvèdre and spicy Shiraz framing fruit that, though confectionary in nature, is well balanced against the savoury elements, and has evolved both sour and sweet faces.
Similarly, the palate is a long way from its initial presentation and shows surprising sophistication in terms of its movement through the mouth. It’s medium bodied at most, with subtle tannins and enough acidity to stay fresh. Well-judged for frictionless consumption, then; this extends to intensity and density of flavour, neither of which call too much attention to themselves. In fact, it threatens to become a bit weedy, but is saved somewhat by a nice surge of sweet fruit as the middle palate transitions to the after palate. A meaty savouriness leads into the finish, which shows cough-syrup flavours and goes on for a decent amount of time.
There’s cheeky intent behind this wine, or at least a reluctance to forego interest for drinkability. Smart quaffing.
Balthazar of the Barossa