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They Didn't Like It…

For a subtle style of viognier (it can be too heavy and rich sometimes) I love this producer (their gamays are also favourites of mine) From the centre of France:

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This has has some brutal reviews.

I have to admit I bought 6 of the '09 back in 2015. I finally saw it off last year and I only remember enjoying one bottle.

Not quite bad enough to send back, but a lot of the comments here ring true. The tannins never seemed to soften, and it always seemed soupy, unfocussed and lacking freshness.

Maybe it needed more time?

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I thought one of the suggestions that for an exhibition wine to be made it should pass some sort of panel tasting is interesting. I’m not sure what the typical criteria is for selecting - I’m guessing consistent wines over many vintages, can meet the supply and price point and are willing to produce it according to TWS’s philosophy?

Maybe in the future, line up 9-10 wines blind from the region or style you’re looking for and approach the top-scoring vineyard to produce the exhibition bottle?

Personally, I’ve loved the Exhibition label in general, though the Hawke’s Bay NZ blend was possibly the blandest red I’ve ever had. Conversely the Maipo Merlot and Rioja were sensational and of incredible value.

I sometimes wonder if reviews are more about an expectation of a wine and disappointment that it isn’t to their ‘palate’ rather than the wine being in some way bad.

We had this a couple of weeks ago…

The reviews are pretty damning for a wine of this price, but I can’t help but think they were looking at it wanting something big, bold and stereotypically Californian, hence my counter-review just to try and frame the wine in another way.

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But if the best that you and the other reviewer who sort-of-liked it (3 stars each) is that it is ‘nice’, that does seem damning for a £55 wine. There have been comments before that TWS notes are becoming more gushing over time, so perhaps we need to treat them more cautiously. (Note to self: reread the Rhone EP offer with this in mind.)

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@SPmember Yes I do agree with you - A £55 wine, particularly on the society’s site should be pretty special, considering most of the wines are in the sweet spot at £10-15.

I guess you’re always covered by the society’s guarantee, which I was tempted at using here, but I always seem to talk myself out of it, as I just think ‘well, maybe it’s not for me’ and is it technically a ‘bad’ wine or have I just gambled and ordered something I wasn’t expecting? Which isn’t the society’s fault. having said that, the tasting notes on it aren’t really that gushing either. In fact even writing this out I’m convincing myself that I should have contacted the society. Ah well, next time!

In a blind tasting I would’ve said £30-40 with the flavour concentration, process quality and the storage costs of a 2013 vintage.

With a Napa wine it’s almost the opposite of German wines - Ripeness is so easily achieved that anything that tastes lighter and more elegant is seen as desirable - But if you spent £55 in Bordeaux, you’d have got a showstopper as that’s the happy medium of hang time, ripeness and moderation.

I guess that’s more a lesson and an experience in wine selection by the purchaser to be fair and probably my Britishness in not complaining! :laughing:

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Interesting point on whether to use the guarantee. I just made the same decision as you when I drank the Trinity Hill Syrah 2016 (discussed under Mystery cases). That was only £13.50, so it didn’t hurt to put it down to experience, and so far I’ve only complained when a bottle has had clear cork taint.

If it had still been on the list, I might have reviewed it, and if there is another disappointment in the near future, I suppose I might decide differently. It would be interesting to know views on whether just being disappointed compared to the write up is a good enough reason to complain.

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I’ve had several bottles of Trinity Hill Syrah. One was utterly bland, tasted like a £5 wine, and I got a refund. One was actually really great, lots of savoury flavours, black olive etc, and was pretty good value for money. I think it may be a bottle variation issue, or the fact that it needed a few more months of sleep

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I also had the Trinity Hill and I thought it was amazing - So dark, peppery, black olives, though I think it was only £10-11 when I bought it.

I’ve only felt the need to even consider the guarantee twice in nearly 10 years as a member so I think TWS is doing things absolutely fine. It’s also nice to know that there is a ‘safety net’ if I was so disgruntled.

Not sure who the US buyer is? Maybe they have a rationale for the tasting notes and price tag?

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I haven’t had Mount Eden wine in almost 20 years, but when I lived in California they ranked with Ridge as relatively expensive producers that I thought were worthwhile. Of course it was all a lot cheaper (cerlainly relative to claret) then. I have a £50 self-imposed price limit, but I nearly ordered one of these as a sentimental exception. Glad I didn’t now, but sorry to hear this seems to be disappointing people now.

I do wonder though if people give more leeway to traditional wines (especially Burgundy) than anything not French or Italian (Rioja in my experience is consistent enough not to need many allowances). I may be wrong, but I suspect people are much faster to leave bad reviews of a £55 Californian wine than they would be for a similarly priced Burgundy or Hermitage.

The guarantee is of course open to interpretation, but I wouldn’t personally consider “not very good value” (or maybe I’ve misunderstood @Nowt_in_my_glass’s comment as implying that at £30-40 it would be fair value) as a reason to exercise it. However, if people aren’t abusing it, it doesn’t matter if we all have different triggers for using it.

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Sarah Knowles is the North American buyer. She is approachable - I’ve met her at Society tastings (remember those?) and seen her on zoom calls. Probably worth asking the question via member services.

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Oh yes sorry, I did mean the £30-£40 (let’s say £35 for a happy medium) would’ve been fair value. I think I’m also probably a bit early in my tasting journey to really give a creible verdict. I’ve had the pleasure of tasting a fair few high quality US bordeaux blends at the decanter tastings in a tutorial but these were stratospherically priced and it’s very hard to truly judge a wine’s value as it goes north of say £30. I’ve had some outrageously good us cabernet at sub-£20 recently (Cannonball) which may have skewed my judgement a bit.

I have also had the pleasure of meeting @Sarah, who gave @Inbar and I a wonderful lowdown on her buying trips in Champers and the US. My guess is that she has tasted many flights of US Cabernet (possibly the best job in the world) so has made an entirely reasonable judgment - Which leaves two conclusions with the disparity in reviews - One, there is a deficit in understanding/agreement of the economics and the wine style by the reviewers or Two, it didn’t match their expectations of a £55 Napa Cabernet.

As mentioned, the society is very good to offer a refund in this, so as a member it’s important to be considerate but call in the need for the guarantee when required.

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8 posts were split to a new topic: The Society Guarantee - Discuss!

Not a WS wine, but I have a bottle of this (I think some others may have too…). from CT:

If this were a red, the sulfur and brett would have us leave the wine for an hour and pray for change. I’ve never had a white that tasted so much like an insipid red ruined by brett, maybe more orange citrus here, but very much rotting rinds in a dirty stable. Slight effervescence. Importer logo says “OPEN YOUR MIND AND TASTE”, to remind us to abandon all frames of reference for great wine in order to find terroir virtues in sea air and volcanic soil. Yes, ok, that is there, but the horsehair dirty hay barnyard thing going on, celebrated by some wine geeks, as au naturale perfection, like matted armpit hair on a Spanish supermodel, is just too much for me. She tasted the same in the morning, and I dumped her. Sorry.

Wine in question is this


Sounds like a lot of reduction from all the reviews. I bought one to sample…will report back in due course.

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Explains as well why this thread is called HE didn’t like it

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Interesting, I looked at the spec for this wine on the website and the vinification talks about using “open plastic buckets.” That may be a bad translation (I don’t speak Spanish). But otherwise concrete tanks, soft crush. A ph of 3 and TA is 6.96g/l so all within normal range but the 3ph is a bit low. The effervescence may be down to no MLF and/or no fining or filtration (no mention of either on the spec) so you may be getting a touch of a second fermentation in the bottle.
I have never met a Spanish Supermodel (unwashed or otherwise) so I cannot comment on that point.

You may be making assumptions there? :wink:

A great review here. 3 stars. Back to the earlier discussion of sweet shop flavours :grinning:

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I have the Vidonia white from the same grower. 2018. I will open tonight so we can compare notes. My earlier post was written before I remembered I had the aforesaid wine in my cellar

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Not sure when I will broach the Trenzado. Not tonight anyway.

I know this wine quite well. As does @Leah IIRC. The 2018 was excellent and on the right side of reduction, full of body and complexity, opened out beautifully in the decanter. I also have had the 2019 and it definitely was not as good and overly sulphur-y. I had the 2019 in a restaurant and so could not just leave it, instead I was violently swinging around the decanter like a maniac.

I really loved the 2018 so I hope it just needs a bit more time to sort itself out, rather than being fundamentally flawed.

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