Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's not rocket science.

A friend, Sky King, brought this newly released cult wine (Sky King's words, not mine) over for Vinomaker and me to try last night.  The 2006 Rocket Science, from Caldwell Vineyard, had great colour extraction, a high alcohol content (14.9%), heavy mouth feel, not a lot of tannins, an underripe red plum fruitiness and a burst of vanilla on the finish. Yes, being a 2006 it is young, but I think you can take its youthfulness out of the equation: this wine just seemed a little out of balance to me. Thankfully, this is not John Caldwell's (famous in these parts for his suitcase clones) primary label, other Caldwell wines I have tasted have been far more enjoyable. The name, Rocket Science, I am assuming is a tongue-in-cheek attempt at saying that winemaking is NOT rocket science.  That's right, it's not.  But it can get awfully complicated.
Is Caldwell a cult wine?  I personally don't buy into the whole cult wine fad.  Last year I was fortunate enough to be able to partake in a blind tasting of wines commonly referred to as 'cult wines' - Bond, Harlan, Phelps, etc., all 2002 Cabernet Sauvignons.  My favourite was a David Arthur Elevation 1147.  I'm a bit of an 'emperors new clothes' type person, so I'm usually not easily influenced by the opinions of others. To me, the David Arthur was simply the best of the bunch because I was assessing it with my taste buds, nobody else's.
Rocket Science is great if you like a particular brand of humour paired with your wine.  Admittedly, it was a rather nice quaffing wine once it opened up, albeit a little young right now.  In the end, I was just left feeling sorry for the poor retailer who is trying to merchandise this wine, on it's side, in a bin.  The angled sides of this bottle would make it rocket right out onto the floor, whoosh!
To quote Colin McPhail of Larkmead Vineyards, "Less cult, more cultivation". With that being said, I'm launching myself out into the vineyard.


Vinomaker said...

Regarding the high acid component in wines, there are really two means of acheiving this, picking the fruit while it is still higher in the berry during maturation or simply adding it to the must or wine after harvest. The objective is usually to reduce the pH to improve stability but also to add to the balance of the finished wine. The lack of acid in many white wines results in a dull, flabby taste when the other components might otherwise be fine. High acid in this wine and other full bodied reds, however, does the opposite and can leave one wishing some could be removed. The amount of acid in a wine is both a stylistic and practical decision for the winemaker but for high quality wines, it should still not be out of balance.

Vinogirl said...

Vinomaker, thanks for your professional insight...I'm assuming you mean NO wine should ever be out of balance if the producer wants people to drink it...(read here, BUY it).

Thud said...

I have seen plenty of joke wines but after the initial laugh what is there?

monkey said...

A very sore head!