Though this is nice to drink, it’s in every way a lesser wine compared to its reserve-level sibling, the Selection (2005, 2006). I’d definitely spring for the mesmerising Selection for maximum satisfaction.
Having made that rather predictable point, it’s worth noting this wine shows some really attractive, regional characters that I enjoy very much. Principally, there’s a floral potpourri note on the nose that is a foil to noisy mocha oak, some (for me, questionable) vegetal notes, candied plums and brown spice. Though it’s quite piercing up top, and there’s dark fruit in the lower registers too, the aroma lacks a sense of continuity from top to bottom, and hence comes across as a little disjointed. No lack of volume, though.
The palate is equally robust. A similar array of flavours — plums, cough syrup, coffee grounds, spice — present quickly on entry, followed by a widening through the middle palate. The mouthfeel is notable, being roughly textural and quite bold. Despite the character of the flavours and texture, it’s not an overly intense wine, and there’s a slight sense of dilution to the softer fruit flavours. Grainy tannins emerge on the after palate, drying the tongue and giving the sweet fruit a nice edge. Those vegetal notes from the nose shoot through the finish as well.
Not sure I’m convinced by this on its own, though it improved markedly when taken with Bega tasty on crackers. Definitely drink this with assertive food to bring out the best of its flavour profile and soften its rather rustic mouthfeel.
Update: markedly better on day two. Much rounder, more satisfying fruit (though quite sweet) and the rough mocha edge takes a step back. Perhaps I was feeling impatient last night.