Monday, November 17, 2008

Torres Mas La Plana Gran Corona 1994

For once I am writing a note contemporaneously to drinking, and I think that's because I am having a hard time with this wine. I am not quite sure if it does it for me or not. Here we have a pretty aged Cabernet Sauvignon from Spain - one with a splendid reputation. The nose was typical cab to me with cassis, cedar and earth. But when moving into the palate this has lost most if not all of its fruit, while also picking up plenty of secondary flavours. The question for me, though, is do I like wine with severely diminished fruit?

There is no doubt that plenty is happening on the palate with cedar, tobacco, leaf, earth, cigar box, tar, and graphite. Still firm tannins hold the wine together and there is a lot going on despite the fact I detect a subtle hint of cork taint (should I return this?). The lingering finish is long and robust. But, there is no fruit to carry the wine forward. I feel there is only so much tar I can take without a counter-balance. I have experienced before with other famous aged cabs (a 1983 Chateau Haut-Brion for instance). I'm not quite sure if it is my preferences, or if I need something more like the 1993 Shafer Hillside Select I tried in Napa a couple years ago (still wearing plenty of fruit while also carrying fantastic secondary and tertiary flavours similar to this wine). A tough call, but I feel many would love this wine.

P.S. with air the fruit has come through into the palate and the nose has added a distinctly gamey component. It is getting a lot better, and ups my rating one notch. In fact, the fact the fruit now pushes through makes a huge difference and I think this is better than the 1997 Gruaud Larose I had a while back. Interesting.

Excellent
$70 at BCLDB

4 comments:

Joe said...

Interesting thoughts, Shea - I found my first few experiences with older wines disappointing, but the aged wines are growing on me. Besides, "tired" and "aged" are two different things - this sounded "tired" at first, but interesting how well-made "elders" seem to need a little more time to open up (sounds like this was the case). I can't recall my last bottle of the Mas la Plana, but I wasn't very impressed (younger vintage).

Shea said...

Yes that is interesting. I had a 2003 Mas La Plana that definitely disappointed. This was good, though (with the air).

Larry said...

I just had this wine last night. When I first opened it I wasn't sure how it would be, but after 15 min of breathing it was wonderful. I should add that I am a big fan of older wines - too much fruit turns me off

Shea said...

Glad you liked it. I definitely like a balance of fruit and aged components - this was good after an hour and certainly needed air, unlike other aged wines I've had.