Regular readers will know that at Full Pour we can embrace a more subjective approach as, at times, the most vivid way of communicating a particular wine’s pleasures. Even so, the reaction prompted in me by this wine is sufficiently extreme that it has pushed me towards one of my ultimate, if perverse, ambitions: to write a tasting note without describing the wine at all. I hasten to add that I won’t seek to achieve that ambition with this piece; if nothing else, Simon Clayfield’s 2009 Massif deserves a full account in conventional terms, and I’m committed to giving it at least that. Yet even starting down that path with this wine is hopelessly, frustratingly inadequate, because what matters most here is its personality.
Like a good friend who remains appealing despite thorough familiarity, this wine enters the room, sits right down next to you, issues a warm hug and leans back to chat. Talk starts, an accelerating cascade of comment and counterpoint, creating a dialogue that makes time seem irrelevant. Needless to say, trying to explain this in terms of the wine’s highly spiced, peppery aroma, its liquefied plum fruit, its ingratiating flow over the tongue, will never do. Perhaps its truly Grampians character gets a bit closer, but something that’s simply recognisable doesn’t necessarily imbue it with the sort of magnetism I’m seeing in this wine. I think what gets me here is the way in which each element is expressed; it’s not the words being said, it’s the tone, the rhythm, the harmonics that flow in, around and under each expression. Things that don’t consciously register but which nonetheless are full of meaning.
So that this wine has a complex flavour profile, including marvelously rich soy sauce, intense spice, mellifluous plum, is fine but insufficient by way of explanation. Like a fabulous raconteur, it takes what it has, which may be conventional when viewed in conventional terms, and transforms the experience of it into something special, purely through a sense of style, attractive flair, well timed vulgarity. And just as it would be difficult to fall in love with a page of printed words, but easy with an idea, so this wine is tugging firmly at my emotions, not my intellect. I encourage you to spend some time in its company.