Reductive Viognier and a nice Syrah
Two wines tonight, both of interest.
Yalumba's Eden Valley Viognier 2005 had the potential to be an excellent wine. That it is merely good, is, I suspect, down to the closure - in this case a tin-lined screwcap. The luscious, rich, complex peachy fruit that typifies many top Viogniers, here enhanced by ageing in old French oak, is hidden behind the dominant theme of this wine: some intense, almost pungent struck match reduction character. In the absence of chemical analysis this is an educated guess, but I reckon the low redox environment generated by this almost hermetic seal has led to a shift in the sulfur chemistry such that a clean wine at bottling has turned reductive. If this was a rich Chardonnay, the reduction might have been complexing. But here it doesn't work: it masks the fruit.
Second wine is Laurent Miquel's Nord Sud Syrah 2004, which at £6.99 in Tesco is agood buy, with its ripe, concentrated, meaty/spicy fruit. It's quite perfumed, and has a sane alcohol level of 13.5%. Very stylish winemaking for a humble Vin de Pays d'Oc.