Here's a unique situation - two of Tinhorn Creek's premium Merlots, both from the 2001 vintage, but one was aged under screw cap and one under cork. I'd been waiting to crack these two and see what was going on with them. Which was aging more gracefully or, was one superior to the other?
I had someone else pour the wines for me, so I wouldn't know which was which, but it was easy enough to tell upon first whiff.
First impression, savoury - very savoury. Think smoked meat, leather, toasted spice, cigarbox and prune but still with some fresh plum notes. The nose here showed advanced aromas - as I expected. Later the nose showed hints of tomato leaf and tobacco. The palate was still wonderfully fresh though - it showed similar prune/plum and bacon fat, spice and bittersweet chocolate. The tannins were superfine - everything here was very nicely integrated and smoothed out, the finish lengthy.
The colour between both closures was very similar, but that's where it ended. On this wine, the nose was noticeably brighter. Sweet red plum, cherry and perhaps even some berry notes, cigarbox and fine sweet spices. The palate was more assertive - the acidity more obvious, the tannins rougher. It simply seemed like a younger wine, which trailed bittersweet chocolate and spice. Later I felt that bitterness of the chocolate flavour was highlighted even more.
I preferred the brightness, the juiciness of the nose on the Merlot under screw cap to the aged fruit and savouriness of the cork. But, I preferred the palate on the wine under cork; it was more elegant, supple and refined compared to the coarser Merlot under screw cap. The wine under screwcap, did however soften as I let it breathe.
So, I rated the wines the same, because they are both very good. But personally, I'd rather smell one and drink the other....
Good First Impressions
©copyright 2012 Daenna Van Mulligen
Wine Diva reviewed - 2012-06-11 13:58:17.0