There’s a particular type of wine in which I have an inherent interest; they form part of, for lack of a better term, what I’ll call the postmodern wine project. These are bottlings that draw on a particular view of wine history, elevating practices that have, over time, become outmoded, and attempting to illuminate in modern form things we may have lost from our experience of drinking wine. This project can sometimes take generous form, as in the Mountain X wines, or be somewhat more retaliatory tone, as in this one.
The idea here is to reclaim a not-long-lost style of Napa Cabernet that is earlier picked and more elegant in effect. Those who lived through unripe Australian Cabernets from the 80s may shake their heads at this folly, but I am pleased to note this wine, though it shows signs of a certain greeness, is far from the leaf bombs that Coonawarra was churning out those decades ago. At 14.24% ABV it’s not exactly a lean wine in terms of alcohol, and there is a core of ripe fruit here that supports more questionable edges of green.
To focus on ripeness, though, is perhaps missing the point of this wine, which achieves obvious, genuine elegance. Sure, it comes at the cost of some green tannins and a slightly lean (though purely fruited) mid-palate, but I’m not prepared to dismiss this wine on the basis of pulling back ripeness to provide a different view of the fruit. This seems a sophisticated attempt to do something different and beautiful that engages with a (real or imagined) past. And it’s a very good wine, even when judged by conventional markers like complexity, balance and line. Would I prefer it without a smattering of green tannins on the finish? Unequivocally, yes. Do they ruin the wine? Absolutely not.
Another fascinating Scholium wine.
The Scholium Project