Crack this bad boy open and it’s like you just inhaled the contents of your herb rack.
Sometimes a wino will say that something smells herby — then you smell it yourself and go, ‘Eh? Wot? Smells o’ bloody wine to me!’ So let me assure you: this really does smell herby. It’s actually a lot like walking into one of those marvellously crowded little shops that sell every oriental spice, herb and seasoning you could imagine (and several you couldn’t). It even has that same slight headachey mustiness to it.
But, c’mon. Get it in your gob, why don’t you?
Because it’s good. It’s very good. The depth of the herbs is there, yeah, along with a sizzling tingle of pepper. Then the spices come through: cinnamon, nutmeg and the gang.
So far you’d be forgiven for thinking it all sounds pretty gruff.
… But it’s actually remarkably soft and accessible. Fresh (unbaked), with a fair bit of fruit — cooked plum, red fruits, blueberry — as well as wood, chocolate, aniseed on the finish. Rather goddarn rounded, don’t y’know?
I’d buy this like a fucking shot. I mean, look at the price. It’s full, generous, balanced, long, rewarding.
Very good indeed.
Price £8.60 from Summertown Wine Cafe (buy in store only), £9.25 from Bakers & Larners