Sunday, October 28, 2012

Artadi Vinas de Gain, Rioja 2005

A great vintage, revered producer, favored area...I was excited about this one.  It got off to a bad start though, with a hint of volatile acidity and some brettanomyces - a stinky, animal smell.  I used to love wines with brett but not any more.  Some still view it as a hallmark of certain wineries but I have come to view it as a flaw.  When young, the wine only shows hints of brett but with more time in the bottle the fruit fades and the musty barnyard takes over.

Oddly, it did not appear as strongly on the palate.  The mid-palate was fantastic and mouth filling but the overall impression was disappointment.  Tartness dominated the finish like it might have been the end of a barrel and too much fine sediment got into this bottle.  (It stood up for a day before being opened and I poured carefully, though I did not decant).
Flashes of brilliance with intense red fruit and great balance of tannin showed but only for about 25% of the tasting experience.  The second night was more appealing with the sweet tart acidity gone.  Even the finish came around but having to wait overnight to get a seven year old wine to come around is too much to ask.
Even with the improvement, the finish did not build or last, it remained subtle and quiet.  I neither expect nor desire fireworks in every bottle of wine I taste but I do expect some life, especially from a wine built to age and with great reviews.  Used to be imported by European Cellars.
Anyone have another they'd like to share to prove me wrong?

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