It’s endlessly contested, but beauty (if it exists at all) is something I search for in wine as in most things. Perhaps that marks me as profoundly romantic, or foolish, but if something so inessential, so essentially frivolous as wine doesn’t encapsulate an aesthetic of a kind, then I really do wonder the point of it at all. Hence my difficult relationship with wines that express themselves on a purely functional level – I’d rather drink beer.
Riesling is a varietal that gets me excited because it sometimes reminds me, more than any other wine, of perfume. I, along with my excellent co-author Chris, are fans of fragrance, and Riesling, in its expressive austerity, comes closest to the manufactured landscapes of man-made smells. Which is quite remarkable, really, as a commercial smell is carefully crafted, layered and assembled to be both distinctive and reproducible; one might reasonably assume a relatively haphazard aroma like that of wine would never come close. Yet it does, to my delight and endless fascination.
This wine isn’t perfect, but it has a sense of construction and layered complexity that excites me. The aroma is awash with high toned, aldehydic aromas that echo the extravagant top notes of an old-fashioned, French whorehouse-type cologne. There are some deeper, lemon rind notes underneath the florals that provide an anchor of sorts, something fleshier around which more fleeting aromas can circle.
The palate is quite generous and, compared to some Howard Park Rieslings I recall from the late 1990s, much less austerely acidic. This isn’t such a bad thing, especially for present drinking. There’s a dramatic but cuddly entry onto the palate, followed by a wash of soft lime juice through the mid-palate. It’s a bit lazy, but it’s also very pretty, content to be admired for its easy charm. A tangy after palate and long finish round things off well.