A bit of a pre-release note for this wine; as at this tasting, it had been bottled about two weeks.
In speaking with the winemaker, Don Pullum, about this wine and the 2012 vintage generally, it seems the defining character that year was a forwardness of bright berry flavours. In response to this, Don kept a portion of the finished wine in tank, rather than barrel, to preserve some of that character through to bottling time.
An interesting approach and one that has certainly translated to incredibly bright primary fruit flavours in this wine. I left this a couple of days after I first tasted it; predictably, this led to a diminution of fruit and an increase in savoury flavours, whereupon this wine’s DNA becomes a lot clearer. There’s certainly a family resemblance to the initial estate release. Pleasing transparency into vintage, though.
Aromas begin with a plume of smoke wound around bright red fruit. At present, it opens almost entirely fruit-driven but gains a lot of complexity with air. The nose begins to show a range of dusty, floral, grassy aromas; the whole reminds me of walking through a lush field on a very hot day. It’s difficult for me not to think of the vineyard itself, which often bakes in forty degree heat and which smells not unlike this wine, in spirit if not in fact.
The palate is sweetly fruited and, in this quite, is different from the 2011. It’s a much more up front wine at this stage of its life, throwing red fruit in your face the moment you sip it. As a result, it’s a lot more accessible than the earlier wine, and I can see a lot of people preferring it for this reason. The fact that it has gained savouriness with air suggests it will head in this direction with bottle age, and I feel the wine will benefit from some short term cellaring at least, to build some of these flavours.
From what I tasted of the 2013 ferments and finished wine, the current vintage’s release will sit part way between the 2011 and 2012 wines, with both a good deal of savouriness and sweet fruit. I’m happy to have worked on that wine.
Note: For the 2013 vintage, I was an intern with Don Pullum, the maker of this wine.