Saturday, 27 August 2011

Two new arrivals from Joseph Swan Vineyards

Having posted recently on the rather stunning Joseph Swan Vineyards Syrah 2005, I make no apologies for writing about yet more lovely wines from this wonderful California grower. I'd love to visit the winery one day, as I believe they make quite a few other wines that are not available through their UK agent - and of the ones available over here, I have yet to taste a single one that doesn't hit the spot. And here are two more, just arrived at Leon Stolarski Fine Wines.....

100% Carignan. This one is quite a deep colour in comparison to the 2008 - almost opaque red/purple, with a narrow rim. It also shows a degree or so less in alcohol (12.3% as opposed to 13.5% in the 2008) and displays scents of roses and parma violets, raspberries, cassis and cream, mint, damp earth. On the palate, it appears younger, more primary and less developed, with abundant fresh red and black fruit flavours, fine but grippy tannins and vibrant, mouth-watering acidity. But the apparent youth of this wine is certainly no bar to drinking this now - one of the things I love about Joseph Swan wines is that they are always lovely to drink, whatever age they are - even when made from 100% Carignan!. But whereas the 2008 seems a little more developed and forward and absolutely ready now, this 2009 seems like more of a slow burner, with the balance and structure to develop beautifully over the next 8 to 10 years.

The colour is transluscent, light-to-medium raspberry/blood red, leading to a watery rim. As with just about every vintage of this wine, the nose really is the essence of fine, sensuous Pinot Noir - ripe summer fruits, exotic mixed spices, roses, leather, sandalwood and damp earth. If you tasted it blind, you could hardly mistake it for anything other than Pinot. And although you might not suggest Burgundy, then again you just might. For I have tasted wines from the Cotes de Nuits that display similar qualities of sweet, succulent fruit and exotic spices (think 1er Cru Morey-Saint-Denis or Nuits-Saint-Georges from the same vintage) although I've tasted a good few lesser ones that would kill for this level of ripeness and complexity. And that generosity of fruit really shines though on the palate, with flavours of raspberries and cream and a gentle tanginess, courtesy of soft tannins and juicy acidity. Not that it is all about the fruit, of course, for those notes of exotic spice, flowers, undergrowth and old wood add real complexity. You really do get the sense that you are drinking something very fine, despite its relative youth. And as always with Joseph Swan wines, it is even better the next day. A supremely elegant and truly lovely wine.

No comments: