Met with a Professor of Philosophy on Friday, Ole Martin Skilleås (pictured), from Bergen in Norway. Ole Martin's speciality is aesthetics, and currently he is writing a book on the philosophy of wine appreciation. The philosophy community seems to be quite interested in wine: I know of two other books on the subject at various stages in the production process. During lunch, at Regent's Park Cafe, I learned a good deal, including a new phrase, 'selling elastic by the metre'. It's new to the English language, direct from Norway: don't you just love it?
As usual, quite a few wines sampled this weekend, but one I want to comment on is a very ambitious Spanish wine from the Toro appellation. Regular readers here will know of my enthusiasm for the Cano Toro 2004 from Vina Bajoz, which I described as the best sub-£3 wine ever. This example of Toro, the Campo Eliseo 2003, is more than ten times the price (rrp £34.95), and is of noble birth - it's a team effort from Jacques and Francois Lurton, and Michel and Dany Rolland. I couldn't make my mind up about this wine. Inital impressions were that they'd picked very late (alcohol is a stonking 15.5%) and then added some structure by a bit of micro-oxygenation (perhaps?) together with classy oak use.
There's certainly a good deal of elegance here, and the oak is superbly integrated with the lush, almost liqueur-like fruit (red, not black). But it's a bit like a night club bouncer who reads poetry: there's sophistication, but it's somewhat incongruous with the essential nature of the wine. I like it, but came away feeling that it lacked real personality, and certainly didn't deliver what you'd expect from a £35 wine. Yet while I wanted to dismiss it as an overpriced international-styled concotion lacking soul, there was enough there to keep me from condemning it. It just might be a serious effort, but right now I can't tell.