The little wooden guy is pleased to make a new friend.
The nose opens with definite minerality, red fruit cooled on a bed of cold crushed rocks. The fruit smells are light, cranberry and strawberry, the flowers and tobacco. It is a little closed immediately after opening.
"Oh my that's interesting!" That was my immediate thought when I tasted this wine. First, it was absolutely nothing like the nose. Strawberries and cola, licorice and tobacco, all meet on the attack. Mid-palate is dark cherries, pastry and vanilla, then it ends with sea salt and olives. This is really interesting. Tannins are clearly present but not drying, and fine. Finish is very long, and the after-taste continues to evolve just like the wine in your mouth.
Two hours later- The nose is still fairly closed, giving up mostly strawberry and mineral. If I smelled it blind I would guess pinot noir. Tannins are far more dominant now. Strawberries and cola are there, but more concentrated, darker, and black pepper has joined the band. Tobacco is more dominant on the midpalate and the licorice has entirely disappeared, with black pepper flowing throughout the wine's narrative. The end, also, is more tannic, a taste of strong black tea washing over the olives. I was wondering after the first try whether this would be too flabby, lacking in tannins, to last for any length of time. Now, though, a tannic backbone is not just making an appearance, but dominating. It should really be interesting to see what it does on night two.
Two more hours later- Now, for the first time, this smells like a southern Rhone wine. It has that barnyard bouquet I have come to expect, along with smoked meat, pepper and dark fruits. Dark fruit, pepper, orange peel, and meat make a mouth-filling palate. The tannins are smoother, silkier, but still firmly making themselves known, providing a strong foundation. Tobacco shows up on the midpalate, and the finish is still long.
Barnyard, licorice, and meat open the nose, but it quickly settles down into sweet caramel, vanilla and flowers. The nose is entirely different than NIGHT ONE. Blackberries and blackcurrants, then smoked meat and tobacco, finishing with firm tannins and unsweetened cranberries. The finish lingers, with a memory of cranberry and tobacco.
This is a very interesting wine, rapidly evolving and showing terrific complexity and depth, particularly for the price point, $27.
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