Monday, December 19, 2016

Artisan or Artwork

We just love the diverse philosophies in making wine.  Some have the ‘feel-good’ aspect, and I’m thinking of ‘artisan-made’ wines, where winegrowers are in tune with the environment and their patch of dirt, and make the wine with their bare hands and souls bared.  Then there are the ‘artwork’ wines, made to catch your attention, often made to a stylistic formula, this requiring great materials and great skills.  Some people say that ‘Robert Parker Jr’ wines are the latter category.  In reality, both approaches can provide fantastic pleasure.
At the Ness-Essary dinner, two reds showed the two approaches.  Firstly a 2012 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco ‘Ovello’.  Initially light and not distinctly Nebbiolo let alone Barbaresco.  Paler colour, of course, with red florals and a little game and earth.  Even the feared tannins were subdued.  But decanted and in the glass over the night, this grew in substance.  The wine a little more clear and true, and the tannins growing in presence.  In the end, very highly and finely extracted.  A more ethereal style, but with plenty to allow it to age.  Will it ever get the fruit depth of great examples of Barbaresco?  Probably not.  But you could see the hands-on vine-tending on the patch of dirt, and the heart and soul in the making.
Then a 2006 Telmo Rodriguez Matallana Ribera del Duero.  Superstar winemaker with an international name and fame.  The wine made to impress I’m sure, though the winemaker would say the natural result of the vines and the land.  Saturated black-garnet red,  Deep and intense aromas and flavours of ripe black fruits, with enough sweetness to match the considerable, but fine tannins.  Savoury interest developing, and plenty of oak.  Could you drink more than a glass?  Of course, yes.  This will continue for another decade for sure.  Does it speak of Ribera dl Duero?  Or does it speak of the artistry of Telmo Rodriguez?  I’d say the latter.   

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