I attended a satisfying dinner on Friday evening where the wines were wide ranging and the table’s reactions diverse. I was interested to note the styles that appealed in such a setting. They were invariably forward and aromatic, with fruit flavours that were clearer and more readily identifiable. No surprise there, but I was left wondering about quieter wines that don’t offer such immediate gratification but which can, when contemplated solo, provide tremendous pleasure.
This is one such wine. Not an exalted label by any means, but it’s a whole lot of good things — expressively aromatic, well fruited, evenly structured. Yet it lacks a hook, something immediate and excitable, which would make me fear for its fate in a large line-up of wines. No matter; tonight, it’s the only wine on my table and I’m pleased to consider it at length.
The aroma shows definite tertiary characters which gives a mellow gloss to underlying fruit aromas. Dark berries and some snapped twig swirl at its base, while a range of other smells build on each other. It shares a gene with the sort of exotically spiced blend that might be encountered in a tea house. Here, spice is a link between fruit, oak and bottle age.
In the mouth, a sensuous wine; its structure caresses the tongue as dense fruit coasts above. The weight of its flavours edges on ponderous but detail and definition are sufficient to keep the wine from cloying. I especially like the integration of flavours, from dark berry to aromatic orange peel to leather; this ultimately tastes like a single, complex note. Structure is present, with acid in particular carrying the wine’s movement. The after palate is relaxed and the finish decent.
$30 is a bit extravagant for regular drinking, but if I had the means, my quaffing wines would be like this: humble, quiet and perfectly formed.
Marqués de Murrieta