Vinopic to talk about his new venture and in particular his science-based Intrinsic Quotient method of scoring wines.
I had feared an eccentric, iconoclastic, mad-science vision of being able, through scientific analysis, to reduce all the world's wines to no more than a bald score, but the reality was much more reassuring and sensible, with the science side of Vinopic focused on production quality and the overall Vinopic score based as much on a "palate test" by Rosemary George MW as the man-in-a-white-coat Intrinsic Quotient value.
At the time I noted that "the real test is whether their wines are any good and represent value for money at their listed prices", so this is the far-more-important follow-up to my meeting with Santiago - the proof of the pudding, so to speak.
On first opening, this Vesevo Beneventano Aglianico is darkly, inkily purple in the glass; there is a complex nose of sour cherry, elderberries, dark spices and a Burgundian hint of funky earthiness. On the palate it is full and very smooth, with well-integrated tannins and a balanced finish.
It feels rather more restrained that I had expected for a Southern Italian wine, with more emphasis on texture and mouthfeel than up-front fruit. Mrs CWB summarised in her usual, succinct way: "It feels more French", she said, and part of the answer for this lies in the altitude of 450m - 550m at which the grapes are grown, giving a more temperate-climate feel.
The wine opens up quite gradually over the course of dinner - even with the assistance of a decanter - but sampled the following day, the big, outgoing personality you would expect to see is more in evidence with lots of ripe, dark berry fruit and spice.
By day 3, the nose is showing elderberry, blueberry, spice and chocolate - on the palate there is is more dark berry fruit, red plus, sweet vanilla spice and a touch of cool mintiness.
It is supremely well-balanced and feels elegant, with crowd-pleasing touches. The tannins are fine-grained, ripe and really well-integrated, giving a gentle but firm grip on the finish.
It is truly a food wine in the sense that, served with food, it reveals aromas not apparent when sampled alone, but also because of the wonderfully rounded, food-friendly acidity.
Match with dark meats such as beef or lamb, or darker game with a spiced sauce.
So, I liked the wine a lot, but how much of this is due to Santiago's initial sourcing, the Intrinsic Quotient it scores or to Rosemary George's assessment I simply don't know - or can't say at this stage - but I suspect that the Intrinsic Quotient covers the "build quality" aspect whilst Rosemary's assessment is "enjoyment".
Its Vinopic score is 99 from Roger Corder and 17.5 from Rosmary George MW; the overall score is 92 and it has a Decanter silver medal.
Sadly, the 2008 vintage of wine is now sold out whilst the 2009 was not considered sufficiently impressive and is not stocked - the 2010 will be assessed on release.
Provided for review.
Vinopic - http://www.vinopic.com/