From the tasting notes on the label: “Rich ruby colour… complex nose, earthy eucalypt, mint dark chocolate… Elegant palate, generous dark berry fruits & savoury leather supported by well structured tannins & integrated fine-grained French oak… Excellent weight & persistence.”
Let’s begin with the nose. It changes — from mild first impressions after the initial breathing, to alcoholic and very slightly sour, and then later giving off an old-fruit flavour with a hints of decay (or sulfur?) — during which time the palate has fully matured and oaked-up to the full. A nose more reactive around cooking meat.
BUT — the nose is completely synchronous with the body. It’s a dense red, almost blood-rich in colour. The words that come to mind are contained… rounded (but without hesitation)… and viscous-smooth, from the oesophagus to the roof of the palate. There’s no aerial invasion of fruit bombs falling on fallow or contradictory grounds; and neither is it a limping one-trick pony. In that sense it is rounded, whole, balanced.
There’s a slight watery after-effect, but also a nice smoked-tannin afterglow. Another definition of roundedness is that it doesn’t want for anything — neither too dry and begging for sweetness nor extra fruit and woodiness or spice. The Burge is confidently sufficient.
It’s not wildly experimental in its bodily attack — it’s more a mellow Hank Mobley than late Coltrane — but one suspects it has a longer, consistent career ahead of it in the cellar (even a couple of years will really bring it home). One also thinks of Paul Gonsalves vintage, with his ability to play in muted/soft style. The ideal accompaniment for this wine is Mobley on Miles’ Someday My Prince Will Come.
There’s also a suggestion of strong pedigree to the body, an unblended singularity that makes one curious after the other runners in the stable. It’s certainly a distance-wine — upholding its integrity and stamina to the last yard. By the second glass, the wine comes alive, and it doesn’t need resting or breathers. It does call for high-quality mineral water and old Italian grana.
I did get a momentary hint of high-grade reds from St Emillion or thereabouts, but the Burge is bolder and clearer in outline — maybe this typifies the Cameron Vale stable. It’s definitely new country with old lineage.
I like to see how a wine handles the next day, to test the speed of ageing and anticipate its cellaring-future. The Burge is pretty much the same wine the day after opening… strong on flavour and ‘robust’ as the wonks have it, and wrapped in its own qualities without airs or reticence and spoilage. And since I felt rosy and fine this morning, I guess the wine’s minimal sulfites won’t pile into a nasty hangover of impurities and preservatives — as all good wines should.