Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Miquel Gelabert Torrent Negre 20 Aniversari 2005

Sa Bodeguita d'es Pi, €15 (€30)

Anyone following the annual Bordeaux en primeur pig-circus will have noticed something peculiar these last few weeks. The Bordelais no longer have good, bad and average vintages, they have different ones.

As if in some collaborative effort to prove the passing of time, growers, merchants and critics have universally hailed 2010 as neither better nor worse than 2009, merely "different".

A long overdue and begrudging acceptance of the wonderful plurality and variation available to the wine consumer? Whaddayathink?

It all sits rather uneasily in a system based around scores, Vintages of the Century, and the idea that there's some kind of objective and quantifiable definition of what is 'good' Bordeaux. Quite frankly I'm surprised the entire system hasn't imploded under the weight of its own contradictions.

Which is a pity, becuase although I quite like the stuff, it makes me disinclined to drink it. And with celebrations due I wanted some Cabernet-Merlot seriousness.

There was only one thing for it: a bottle Torrent Negre 20th Aniversari 2005 I had purchased in a restaurant the previous week. The owner had not only let me buy a bottle 'off', she had also rung the producer Miquel Gelabert on her mobile to find out what grapes were in it, and then (I discovered later) charged me precisely half what it was worth.

40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, a curious triptych, but the Mallorquins are a funny lot so we shan't hold it against them.

The nose opens with a little brett sweatiness, though this is gone after ten minutes in the glass, leaving ripe raisins, stewed plums and a hint of savouriness.

The palate continues this, it's massive in every way, porty with big thick syrupy red and dark fruit, but little herbaceous touch on the finish. A healthy tannic structure, a seemingly well-integrated blend and no heat from the 14.5% alcohol.

Big, brash, heavy, expansive stuff, and remarkably, not the same as (for example) something else.

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