My tasting notes are, at times, elaborate attempts to understand and perhaps even justify a gut reaction. Indeed, I started to write notes in the first place as a way to help work through the why of my likes and dislikes (and to compensate for my shockingly bad memory). I can probably articulate a particular response better now than I could a few years ago, but what I continue to value above all else is the realisation, be it instant or gradual, that you really love a wine.
In a sense, it’s easy to write about my enjoyment of a wine when it has some accepted currency in the dialogue: elegant reds, lean Chardonnays, flinty Rieslings. The conversation is mutually reinforcing of the wine’s quality and my own excellent taste. But wines like this — authentically commercial styles designed for maximum pleasure — can be more difficult to justify. Yet they shouldn’t be. After all, wine is about refreshment and enjoyment above all else, and if a wine provides these things, surely that is its own justification?
This is very pleasurable commercial style. I’ve tasted it over three days and it has held its form and flow well. The nose shows full, ripe plum fruit and a good deal of sexy, malty oak. The impression is cuddly and expressive, like curling up on a comfortable couch with a soft woolen blanket. There’s some gentle spice and detail too, adding nuance to an aroma profile that remains all about generosity.
The palate is more of the same, and this wine’s level of alcohol — 15% abv — expresses itself as a mouthfilling voluptuousness. Despite this, the wine comes across as medium bodied, indeed showing a degree of elegance that is surprising. I think this is mostly due to quite bright acid, which props up the fruit flavours and gives the palate sparkle and flow. The fruit is just so delicious, showing sweet plums, red berries and a hint of more savoury character. There’s perhaps a slightly stressed dimension too, probably reflective of vintage conditions but in no way distracting. A nice long finish that vibrates with oak and juicy plums.
It’s a mistake to undervalue styles like this.