Arribes de Ventonia Redux – bottle variation?

Following my very enthusiastic review of Arribes de Ventonia 2011, I snapped up the remaining bottles I could find, and also bought a few from the 2013 vintage, which was a slightly different cépage.

I tried the 2013 first, and it was not a patch on my previous experience. Fruit and oak, but none of the complexity of the 2011. Ah, well – it was after all a different wine. But last night I tried one of the more-recently-bought 2011 wines, and it reminded me more of the 2013 than my previous experience with the 2011. For both recent bottles, it was a *** rating rather than *****. Still not bad for a £9.00 bottle of wine, but not something to make me want to dash out for more.

Bottle variation or taster variation? Under most circumstances I would be very willing to accept that I am the most likely cause of inconsistency. But in this case the differences were so marked that I am leaning much more towards the bottle variation explanation. Maybe the 2011 wines were from different batches, or the storage conditions differed before the wines reached me? Not that I am suggesting there was any heat damage or similar – just that they happened to be not so good for these particular wines. The closure was not natural cork BTW, so a dodgy cork would not be an explanation.

What can we learn from this?

  1. This is the way things are for wine that are more interesting. We have to accept it.
  2. When I highlight a single wine in a blog post, it will be one I have tried on multiple occasions or one I have both tasted and drunk at least half a bottle of, with food where appropriate. Maybe I need to hold back on my opinions even more. Not that I feel guilty over this incident – I rarely review freebie bottles, and in this case I put my money where my mouth was to the extent that I doubt anyone else had chance to buy any.
  3. As a consumer of tasting notes, I shall be even more sceptical. And I recommend that attitude to you too.

Author: Steve Slatcher

Wine enthusiast

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