In a recent tasting note I said I bloody hate Grenache-based wines – they are normally too heavy, boozy and hard work. Given this, my excellent chum Lance Foyster, a wine merchant I’ve known for 20 years, decided to send me this bottle of 14.5% Grenache. I can only imagine he did this to continue the tradition of him giving me punishing tasting experiences, as he did when he was training the blind tasting team at Oxford. There cannot be any other reason, he would know I’d absolutely despise this wine and savage it as competently as I can after being incapacitated by its frightening booze quotient. I’ve had two tastes whilst I’ve been writing this paragraph and I already feel pissed as a fart.
Collioure can be good. I used to buy the Domaine du Mas Blanc ones quite regularly, but they were cheap and clocked in at around 13%. I don’t know how much this wine costs, presumably the aviation fuel the winemaker adds to it bumps up the price a bit, but there is no price I would pay at which this wine would satisfy me in any way. Indeed, even at the price of ‘free’ I’m vaguely irked that Lance had the temerity to send it to me. OK, that has been enough invective in this introductory preamble, let’s get to the appalling horror of analysing this by means of *shudder* tasting the stuff.
The nose repels me: it is an odd combination of cough candy twist boiled sweets, volatile acidity and pine-scented clumping cat litter of the type that Kisu the cat would rather avoid. Oh yes, there is one hell of a lot of alcohol as well. To deny this is incredibly ‘hot and sweet’ would be as big a duplicitous act as claiming Ed Milliband was ‘charming with integrity’. I said aviation fuel in above, but presumably aviation fuel from some experimental, hyper-sonic, scram-jet vehicle. If I look at my glass with too hard a stare it will ignite, and the whole beast of a nose makes me not want to look at it ever again. Is there a hint of celery there as well? By arse, I hate celery. The palate just tips over the wrong side of the extraction boundary to ‘over’ and it has one of the most repulsive textures of any wine I’ve had in a period of time. It’s bitter, acrid, harsh and utterly devoid of features that would make anyone say they’d fancy drinking a charming bottle of this with their luncheon this afternoon. Indeed, it’s so fabulously lacking charm we could be back to making unfavourable comparisons with Ed Milliband again. The booze level is fiery and reminds me of the time an Alaskan forester defiled some de Montille Burgundy I opened by pouring Everclear (70% booze) into his glass because he “wouldn’t get hammered on this dishwater”. The bastard. I took my bottle elsewhere. And that is what I am going to do with this, I shall take it to The Editor (who charitably claims “even though I hate it, it’s not entirely badly made”; to be fair his comments on the winemaker’s aesthetic ideals are spot on) and let him see if he fancies getting ripped to the tits on firewater Collioure. I’m not going to finish my glass.
Please, Lance, never make me taste this again – it just makes me unhappy.