It’s sometimes said that first impressions are the truest, and I think that is often the case in wine as in life. But wine can be a funny thing, moving around under your nose, proving you right and wrong in equal measure. It’s one of the fun things about the drink, that it can be hard to pin down, and often those wines that defy you are the most alluring.
I note these thoughts because this wine, clothed in typically handsome Gilligan packaging, showed an initial face that didn’t have me swooning. The most striking aspect of the aroma profile was a stinky sulfur reductiveness, and the palate seemed dominated by an acid line that was both unbalanced and disjointed.
An hour in glass has seen a fascinating transformation, though. The aroma has lost its feral edge, though not so much as to deny the funky presence of Mourvèdre. It is angular and in two halves, bright red fruit colliding with darker, slightly vegetal notes that are as unsettling as the red fruits are cuddly. This is not an easy wine, but I will never begrudge a wine that asks the drinker to meet it half way. I keep smelling it, never quite capturing all its components in a way that makes easy sense.
While this is a brisk, bright style in terms of structure, the initially overwhelming acid has definitely folded back into the rest of the wine. There is a lovely texture that runs the length of this, acid and tannin weaving around one another in a lively dance. Above floats the sort of slightly challenging flavour profile suggested by the aroma. It is simultaneously dark, fruity, angular and oak-influenced, not pandering but at the same time showing a crisp deliciousness that encourages further tastes. The finish is particularly it notable for its harmonious mix of dried fruits and chocolate.
This certainly isn’t the sort of slutty blend some drinkers might expect, but it’s a compelling wine and one that is worth trying, especially at the price. It will benefit from a good deal of air this early in its life, and perhaps some bottle age if you have the patience. I retasted this two days after opening and it was even more cohesive, darkening a touch in flavour profile and thickening in texture.