Tir na N'og "Old Vines" Grenache 2006

Is it possible to be entirely prejudiced against a wine merely from smelling it quickly, walking up the stairs to the computer?

Simply put, this smelled like some kind of fruity New World red, with some kind of yeast with a flashy brand name – FermentXtreme™ or what have you. It smelled like UC Davis checked into the Motel Quickie in Roseworthy, SA and snogged its way to a Parker 90+. It smelled like something the wine waiter sells to folks who don’t like wine but who want to look sophisticated when they’re dining at the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Toorak. I dunno. It just smelled kind of lame.

That was twenty minutes ago, and it’s finally shaping up a bit with some air. Now it smells of lovely oak, Rainier cherry and allspice. Kind of a cocoa, bay leaf, eucalyptus mint, white pepper sort of thing. It’s lovely but it still seems to be missing some sense of place.

The way it actually tastes, though, is the surprise here. It smells overlarge, Partonesque, but surprises you; it’s lithe, sleek. It doesn’t taste at all like it smells; it’s more of a blackcurrant flavor I’m getting here, and the tannins seem to be out for lunch. Coming back to it again, it is decidedly New World, but there’s this twinge of cassia there that’s unusual and attractive; it finishes quietly, wandering off to the back of the spice rack where the things your Czech grandmother brought to Christmas dinner back in the late nineties still moulder behind labels you can’t understand. Basically, the trick here is that you’ve got a wine that meets the high-octane, Parker fruit bomb mold – judging by the way it looks and smells – but it tastes far more interesting than most of those. I’m pleasantly surprised by this and would gladly drink it again.

Tir na N’ogP
rice: US $25
Closure: Diam
Date tasted: September 2008

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