Unbeknownst to me at the time of writing my note, the 2009 edition of this wine seems to have become something of a favourite amongst wine tweeters and bloggers. I admit to having mixed feelings about it, finding it more worthy than achieved. The refreshingly honest notes that came with this sample suggest 2010 was a difficult year, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. To my surprise, I prefer this in many ways to the 2009, and am intrigued to taste more in a way that I wasn’t after trying the earlier vintage.
What it comes down to is that this wine, despite superficially similar characters (presumably due to some of the same winemaking techniques), shows quite a different view of the fruit, one that is more subdued and subtle. It’s also more savoury, a fact the nose immediately establishes, as some cheerfully sweet fruit is quickly swept aside by waves of stalk and oak, the latter happily less intrusive in character than in the prior vintage. It still smells home made, but it’s also less chaotic, more resolved.
The palate carries these good qualities through. It’s rough-hewn like its predecessor, but the fruit’s calmer demeanour suggests a sophistication that, to me, is a real step up. Good flow through the middle palate, all dark fruits and spice, before tannic texture kicks in on the after palate. The structure here is very well balanced, with enough grip and astringency to please wine nerds without demanding much, if any, extra time in bottle. The fruit, darker though it is, could still use a notch more complexity. A nice, sharp finish, fruit and oak flavours carrying right through the back palate.
Can less than ideal growing conditions bring out a more interesting side to the fruit? It’s hard to generalise, but I feel it’s the case here.
Eloquesta by Stuart Olsen