Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mission Hill 2006 Compendium (British Columbia)

The first thing you'll notice about this bottle of wine is in fact the bottle - this is not environmentally friendly packaging (it's heavy), but then top tier wines from most wineries aren't because cool is not a plastic bottle. The nice thing about a heavy bottle is there a thousand and one uses for it after the wine is long gone: a doorstop, paperweight, a bud vase or weapon ... just to name a few - but I can guarantee you're going to like what's in the bottle before you get to that point. "Compendium" is the what the folks at Mission Hil have termed "a super second" to its flagship Oculuse. It's a new Bordeaux-styled blend which has Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot (the only thing missing is Malbec). The propaganda that accompanies the bottle compares it to Oculus by saying: "[Compendium] is crafted in a different style and may be enjoyed immeditaely, while Oculus benefits from time in the cellar." So after all that preamble I am sure you are wondering what the wine in the bottle tastes like. I can tell you that this is an ever changing bottle of wine. It starts with a hit of blackberry and spice on the nose, then turns into spiced plum about 15 to 20 minutes in if you give it some time to sit around and aerate. While I cooked dinner I placed the glass a few feet away from me (within arms length at all times) and I could smell it quite plainly when I was as far as 2-3 feet away, so I would say the nose is very powerful, and the colour is also beautiful. But I guess I have kept you in suspense long enough - the palate is just as advertised, hefty enough that you could lie it down for a few years, but gentle enough that you could easily drink it now, and by decanting you help it along even further. There's hints of pepper, blackberry, spiced plum, vanillin and a gentle smoothness across the tongue. I have been informed that this is a new release for Mission Hill, and since that is the case I suppose I should give it some kind of mark just in case you are looking to get yourself a bottle - I'd say 4 1/2 stars (Excellent).

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