Pale garnet in colour. Intense nose that is dominated by Elastoplast, with some fragrant horse manure. It’s a bit of a brett bomb, but there is also red fruit – perfumed cherry notes. Maybe rubber and menthol aspects. Medium high acidity, and low but detectable astringency. Intense, light and delicate. Lifted and refreshing. Great complexity, and great length. Tingly, fragrant, bretty finish. This still primary, but I don’t think I would let it age further. It is best slightly chilled. Difficult to rate, but if pushed I’d give it ****
This is a challenging wine in more than one way. I first came across it at L’Enclume, offered as a match for their venison with charcoal oil. I thought it was a great dish with great wine, and the pairing was superb. One of the best introductions you could hope for, but I still love the wine after drinking a few bottles in more modest surroundings. However, my enthusiasm is not shared by everyone, and I can understand that. By any standards the wine is weird, and technically it is faulty. The dominant smell of Elastoplast is the result of a brett (short for brettanomyces) infection, which is perhaps better known for its farmyardy smells.
But is it a fault if you like the result? Some would say not, by definition, while others argue that brett is always negative. In practice, I am not sure how it would be possible to have the same wine, but without the brett, to compare. So will we ever be sure? This is in marked contrast to the situation with a corked wine, where you can often open another bottle to compare, and the clean one is always better. For more on brett, see also this blog post of mine. Ultimately, unless you get into an argument with your sommelier when you try to return it, I am not sure it matters whether you call it a fault or not. If you like the wine, buy it and drink it. Also buy it if you want to be challenged. If you want an easy ride, there is plenty of other Chilean wine to be picked up at supermarkets.
The producer is Agricola Luyt Ltda, the grape País, it’s 13.7%, and I bought it for around £18 from Buon Vino in Settle. See also this blog post on Luyt and Clos Ouvert by Rob from Buon Vino for a bit of background.