Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Warwick Estate, Trilogy, 2009

Regular readers will know my interest in South African wines seems never-ending and that I am fortunate enough to have a good supplier nearby, so I have an almost limitless stock of the things. I gave Warwick a go based on positive comments by various distinguished boozers (the boozerati, perhaps?) and on favourable reviews by characters such as John Platter who, love him or hate him, is seen by many as the Parker of South Africa. His list of the Top 100 South African wines consistently dominates the marketing of SA wine - although people often criticise it for only plumping for already-established wines, leaving smaller vineyards largely to themselves.

Another, more superficial reason for choosing Warwick Trilogy is that I rather like the name and the bottle shape. At £20-24 it's not overly expensive and something you can cheerfully share with some friends without worrying about the bank. Might do a post on how to run successful tastings/wine events sometime, as they're a rather good way of getting into wine.

Anyway - onto the wine. Decanted for 2 hours then re-tasted after 4.

Nose: Typical Bordeaux at first - pencil shavings, graphite and cedar with an almost earthy texture to the nose. Tobacco, pepper and dark chocolate coming in from time to time, with the chocolate starting to build its intensity. Dollop of cassis in there. Peculiarly it's a rather light nose, despite the strong-seeming flavours in there. Everything is quite soft and gentle and it took some teasing to get into it. The dark chocolate has developed into a hint of chili and has a bit of bite to it. On the re-taste the nose had become much more opulent and jammy, but there was still a hefty dose of pepper in there.

Palate: Largely as above, but without the pencil shavings. The coffee is more intense and the cassis is more noticeable, but not exactly prominent. On the re-taste it was noticeably jammier, but still suffered from the slightly harsh/sharp coffee and dark chocolate. I rather wish I'd been able to decant this for longer as I think it was going really exciting places.

Body: Remarkably it was medium-light. There's plenty of tannin but there's no mouth-coating blast sense to this and it's certainly not overpowering. Rather well poised I thought - a nice weight in harmony with the clear flavours. Nice and smooth (before the tannic hit).

Finish: Quite austere and drying. Not terribly long, either. Not unpleasant, but not exactly one to write home about.

Conclusion: A nice wine, but perhaps unremarkable in some respects? I like the chocolatey-ness (almost like eating cocoa nibs - the intensity and sharpness was very interesting) but at the same time I was hoping for just a touch more fruit. I mentioned my regret that I didn't leave this out for longer, and I suspect I would have been rewarded if I had. Essentially, it tastes rather like classic claret but a little bit more accessible (especially at this age). Definitely worth a try purely to see if the construction is something you like or don't. I will try it again one day.

Points: 85/6 (note to new readers - I prefer to use a slightly broader scale than the traditional 85-100 used by most 100 point markers. By way of explanation, 85/6 is a perfectly respectable wine. Not one I would rush to put in my cellar, but one I would happily buy and drink again.)

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