Even if it’s unintentional, I pride myself on my reliability. The last time I tasted this wine, I gave it fairly short shrift and suggested I might taste it again in a year or two. Here I am, two years after that first tasting, sampling this little number again after quite randomly having selected it from my stash tonight.
The years have been kind. Where on release this was closed and quite gruff, it’s now able to express itself with more relaxation, even as it remains a highly textural, almost rustic experience. The nose thankfully avoids the sort of glossy fruit character that dodges criticism for lack of varietal definition but which is otherwise completely without value – in its place, there’s plush Pinot fruit, bundles of damp twigs and a rough whiff of vanilla. Also bacon fat, rotting white flowers and bubblegum. Not your typical $20 wine, then, and I can’t quite believe I’m getting so much out of a wine at this price point.
The palate is bold, intense and a bit rough. There’s no doubt, in an absolute sense, that a bit of extra refinement would be welcome, but I really can’t fault this wine on many levels: its impact, its concentration of flavour, its complex and savoury flavour profile. It registers with a nice slam of fruit flavour and progresses briskly through a middle palate full of expansive savoury berries and edgy, slightly hard vegetal notes. There’s still a way to go here before the wine sheds its aggressiveness; for now, you’ll need to put up with traces of overly firm structure on the after palate in particular. But why quibble when each mouthful offers up so much distinctive flavour?
Drink this with pungently flavoured food – Peking Duck, for example – to get the most from it right now. I’ll come back to this in about two to three years’ time. Promise.