Style is, I think, of the essence when it comes to wine appreciation. Formal qualities such as complexity and structure are all well and good, but it all comes to nought if you don’t like the wine’s character and personality. I remember tasting Pinots in Central Otago a couple of years back, and being struck by how boring some (though certainly not all) the wines were, despite being quite correct and certainly well made. There was nothing extra, no idea or beauty beyond what was in the glass.
Dark, somewhat impenetrable colour with flashes of crystalline ruby. The nose is heady with cedary spice, brambles, clean fruit and higher toned powdery florals. There are also some light touches of sweet bottle age. In its delicacy, it’s closer to fine fragrance than wine, but none the worse for it. The aroma profile became more integrated and assertive through the evening.
The palate disappointed me initially, and here I return to the question of style. For the first hour or so, I found the wine correct, full of quality, but somehow underwhelming and perhaps a little boring. A very clean entry, with cool fruit and savoury leaf winding their way towards a medium bodied mid-palate. Additional notes of vanilla, dust and a bit of eucalyptus add themselves to the mix with time. Excellent delineation of flavour components. Bottle age becomes more evident on the after palate, with a lovely, lingering sweetness sitting alongside loose-knit yet still quite dry tannins. A nice lift through the after palate shows higher toned leafiness plus hints of plush ripe fruit too. The finish is excellent, clean and long, and leads naturally to the next sip.
It all sounds quite good. What changed after an hour is critical to the wine’s success but sits outside of a tasting note. The flavours clicked, merged and became utterly persuasive. It’s as if I was able to step back and see the wine as a whole rather than as individual components of flavour and structure. Its style, in other words, transcended the mechanics of its delivery and became the wine’s dominant face. And, happily, I think I got it.
GrossetPrice: $A50Closure: StelvinDate tasted: July 2008