Cape Mentelle Zinfandel 2004 (Margaret River, WA)
$45, Screwcap, 16%
It’s time I came clean about something. I would like to admit, to everyone, that I am an ABV Nazi. It’s a source of bias, perhaps, but indicative of my personal preferences, that I almost unconsciously find myself driven away from high alcohol wines. What’s more, I tend to find alcohol poking out of even seemingly lower alcohol drinks, just waiting to destroy everything with its spirity ways. It’s not just wine either, I can’t drink Cognac, Brandy or Whisky (neat), as all I taste is alcohol, alcohol, alcohol.
As a result, I simply can’t enjoy wines like this, as I just can’t get past the booze. Not now, not ever, no thankyou. And even though the theory is oft repeated, high alcohol is so rarely, if ever balanced. So there.
The wine then – Deep blood red in colour, with a volatile Boysenberry nose. Too volatile. There is also a mixed ripeness, a meaty hardness to the nose too, a hint of stewed cooked fruit and uneven bunches, with the oak sitting beside the fruit, having not quite integrated properly. Fruitcake with lots of brandy is the overriding impression. But I quite like fruitcake though, so down it goes.
The palate is a big boozy ride of spirity, rum and raisin, fruitcake & fig jam fruit. Lots of quite luscious flavour, but also LOTS of alcohol, the oak again besides the fruit. To me its plain unbalanced but the redeeming factor is the big hearty richness. It’s massive and broad, but that’s kind of the attraction too. It’s a big mouthful of unstructured fruit, and, whilst I was no fan, it had the rest of the dinner table singing its plump praises.
My score then gives a half nod to that meaty attraction, but also half a nod to my own dislikes (which means my head is thus spinning round in circles). 16.5