More and more, I’m interested in wine that expresses a tense, contradictory aesthetic. Aside from challenging the idea that wine ought to be harmonious and coherent, there can be something beautiful about pieces that don’t add up, or that seem to cancel each other out. It’s the beauty of death, of horror, or simply of a puzzle that defies resolution.
I like this wine because it smells of things that ought not to go together. Instantly, the smell of vinous decay and death; oxidisation, the leather and dried flowers of old red wine. Alongside, the smell of twenty different kinds of oak; nougat, vanilla, caramel, spice. Then there’s a big hit of tar and, paradoxically, a burst of fresh flowers. It’s like watching a life in fast motion, from birth to final days, moving so quickly the pieces blur and overlap. I could smell this for hours.
The palate is all about sensationally prominent tannins and deceptively light fruit flavour. Entry is fresh and full of savouriness: flowers, dried peel, almonds, and so on. There’s a sense of the sweet decay of autumn leaves that adds nuance to what is a powerful expression of Nebbiolo fruit. Impatient tannins creep in, fine and abundant, seeming to create a network of texture that rips across the tongue and shoots right to the back of the mouth. Overall, this wine has serious impact without sacrificing its essentially medium bodied, high toned character.
Not a wine of great refinement, then, but a true expression of this style at what I assume should be a reasonable retail price. Went very well with steak and chips.
Price: $A110 (restaurant wine list price)