Making a stop over at NW's place before taking off for the west coast, we shared a bottle of the newly released 2004 vintage. This South African vareietal was one of my inexpensive favorites ($8) two years ago. It had a nice cab bouquet and definite chocolate flavors with good fruit, balance and a nice finish. But then the 03's were released and there was a rather strong reminder of bandaids in the mouth. If you're gagging about now, you should be. "Bandaids" is the descriptor used of a wine that has been tainted by brettanomyces, a mold that is controversial in that some view it's impact on a wine as one of the many positive traits of a wine that makes it distinctive. Distinctive, yes; positive, no!
The 2003 was strong in this off flavor so much that I label it "flawed." Yet the Wine Spectator gave it a favorable rating and a decent review. I had several bottles so I know it wasn't just a bad bottle.
The 2004 is better on the bandaid end of things than its predecessor but it is still there; a hint on the swirl and a fleeting (thankfully)taste before swallowing and then a sweet, currant and plum chracter takes over. Dissappointing...
I try to tell myself this is "terroir" but my taste buds tell me it's sloppy wine making. NW didn't agree. We'll see what he writes.
So, it's off to the west coast where I'll visit one of the local wineries right in Los Angeles and you can read about it when I return. Until then, raise a glass and thanks for stopping by!