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Clos de los Siete (Argentina) 2004
With Wine of the Week my intention is to guide you to one excellent, good value wine amongst the 600 on a merchant's shelves. Telling you one to avoid is far less useful, as it would still leave you in the dark about the other 599. Here then is an exception: a wine of the week that I can say, hand on heart, that I do not like. So why is it Wine of the Week? Well, it may just be the best value wine around - if you like this particular style. Clos de los Siete is the work of Michel Rolland, the world's most famous and infamous "flying winemaker", and consultant to scores of wineries across the globe. He is blamed by some for destroying regionality, subtlety, and diversity in red wine, culminating in Jonathan Nossiter's film Mondovino, where Rolland was framed as arch-villain. His Argentinean estate produced an exceptional value for money wine in 2003, that was deeply impressive, even though I personally found it too concentrated and extracted. This 2004 has less charm for me, and subsequently has tipped over the edge of my personal threshhold. It is a wine with a dense, spicy, thick character that is part Indian ink, part a smear of boiled-down, reduced blackcurrant jam. It is a massive, mouth-filling, tannic monster of a wine, with abundant fruit buried beneath a mantle of massively extracted flavours. It may well go on for 20 or 30 years, and may well be as good as many an icon wine of Bordeaux's right bank, California or Chile. It may well be an astonishing bargain at 10.99. But it won't find a place in my cellar.
10.99 Oddbins, Majestic. Note that the 2003 vintage may still be in stock in some stores, and you can buy two bottles at 8.79 each in Majestic until October 31st 2005.