This was a cheap Bordeaux, costing a mere $13.98. It is a Grand Vin de Bordeax from Medoc, with 12.5% alcohol. It is very dark, with a purple rim. On the first night I was, to put it mildly, unimpressed. The most obvious part of the nose was olives, maybe kalamata, strong and salty. It took a long time to find anything else, but eventually some burnt caramel and white pepper made an appearance. On the palate it improved a bit, but not much. The olives were still there, but here was also tar and pencil lead, violets and spearmint. Fruit remained elusive, but there was a tiny hint of fig. The tannins were not harsh, but that was about the kindest thing I could say.
Would this one be any better the second night? Let's find out, shall we?
This time around there are some florals on the nose, mostly geranium, perhaps a touch of violets, too. Hey, good news, there's fruit, too. Strawberries and raspberries, to be precise. On the palate, the kalamata returns. Fruit was there, but dry, very dry, like blackberry and plum skins, just skins. I did like the florals, mostly violets.
Conclusion? This is just not a great wine. It is, however, a much better wine on the second night than the first. Might this mean it is just very closed, that it might improve with a few years in the cellar? Sometimes a lot of improvement from one night to the next means just that. In this case, I suspect not. Night one this barely rated a "drinkable but who would want to" score, maybe a 78 on the 100-point scale. On night two it popped all the way up to an "adequate, but not inspired" score, about 83 points.
Have you ever noticed how a really mediocre bottle can be much better the second night? Sometimes a wine that is "closed" opens up from exposure to air. This is a great hint that the wine is really not as bad as you thought. It just needs more time in the cellar. Alternatively, something great falls completely flat in just a day - drink all you've got, because there's not much time left. Wine starts changing rapidly the moment you open it. So here, at "Two Days per Bottle Wine Tasting," I am going to follow wine from the moment I open it through a second night. Call it an experiment. Join me to see if it really tells us anything useful at all.
My wine review policy
There has been much ado in the blogosphere lately about "the ethics of wine blogging," particularly in the area of wine reviews. Should bloggers review every wine they are sent? Should they do so under a time limit? Some suggest we hew perfectly to the code of journalistic ethics, which forbid both promises. In my personal opinion, that is putting form before substance. Putting the form of the rule- don't promise reviews, ahead of the substance- do what is ethically best, creates a real perversion of the problem. First, and I am being completely honest here, I get a little thrill whenever somebody sends me wine. Why not? Heck, I love the stuff. So what if I (a) like getting free wine, and (b) don't promise reviews. That is easy. I only review the ones I like, out of fear of scaring people off. "Hey," I might say, "this sucks, but if I write that, nobody will send me wine any more." In other words, sticking to the journalists' "code of ethics" actually creates a LARGER ethical dilemma than reviewing everything. On the other hand, promising to review at a time certain takes editorial content away, so that is a promise I refuse to make.
Do you want me to review your wine? I would love to do so. But first, know what you are asking. Take a trip around the blog. See what The Little Wooden Guy, The Big Wooden Guy, and I have to say. We are not always generous or kind. And we WILL review your wine. Honestly. Every time.
If you are still interested, send it here:
David Honig 1 American Square, Suite 2000 Indianapolis, IN 46282