$50, Cork, 13%
What a shame that this somewhat iconic winery shut its doors last year. The brand may still exist, but the (apparently modern and well appointed) winery is closed, and much of the best vineyards have been sold (to Tim Adams, for a song. Gone to a good home at least).
Anyway, this wine at least comes from a slightly more positive time in the Leasingham story, and is happily built in a very true-to-type Leasingham style: Full; rich; oaky and thick, with the sort of palate that you chew, not drink. It's almost a wine of a bygone era, reminiscent of the Leasingham reds of the late 90's, where the motto was 'too much oak and fruit is never enough'. An era of excess perhaps, but the results, particularly with some bottle age, were very good indeed.
The nose alone smells like it is from another age - it's deep, dense & spirity, with obvious choc mocha heavy toast oak intertwined with rum & raisin fruit sweetness. It smells youthful, immensely big and effortlessly rich, with serious old vine fruit depth that keeps going and going.
No surprises with the palate either, overflowing with chocolate cake oak and cooked plum fruit, edged with meatiness. It finishes with lots of chewy tannins, of the oak and fruit variety, with a shed load of sediment in the bottle. In fact, chewy is a great way to describe it, for this really is a wine with balls - roughly hewn and arguably inelegant, but with so much to grab hold of that you just know people will love it.
Perhaps the only distraction is a slightly horsey whiff, a meaty, animal element that could prove to be a bit of a distraction with more bottle age. It's probably not a deal breaker, but it is notable and noticeable (to me at least).
Putting that aside though and just plain drinking this red and you can taste how much there is to like, so much to get hold of, so much flavour and so much of that old Leasingham style that you can't help but appreciate it. It smells and tastes like it always has - unapologetically monolithic - and unashamedly so.
I mean technically, it's a relic, with plenty of foibles (character?) that could potentially get worse with age (and it only gets an average score as a result), but for lovers of the wine, for lovers of the old Classic Clare, this is gold medal stuff. And that's all that counts. 17/90