Hewitson “Basham’s Beach” Tempranillo 2012, or, The black olive of the family

Let’s just get this out in the open – this wine has a terrible label. Its design errs on the dated, rather than classy, and I don’t think that what it thinks is a selling point really is a selling point. It states:

… Bottled and released only in exceptional vintages. This wine is the second release of the Basham’s Beach Vineyard in 10 years.

So, it’s not like this single vineyard unleashes a fine crop on the world every year, and that this is an exceptional one (a la vintage sparkling), it’s that mostly the crop is bad and this is only one of two that have been reasonable enough to bother putting in a bottle in the last 10 years.

I live in dairy farm country these days, so to me this is a bit like a farmer offering me a glass of milk and saying: “That cow rarely produces much milk, but this time she managed to squeeze out way more than normal. Hope you like it!”

Wouldn’t you treat that glass with a little scepticism?

The good thing for you is that, thanks to Hewitson’s poor marketing and design skills, there’s every possibility you will be able to pick this up under its RRP. And, if you can do that, I would say it is well worth a look in. You’ll be rewarded with a generous wine that piles on the spiced fruit and is happily reminiscent of its Spanish counterpart – the Rioja.

I have to say that it took me a few mouthfuls to get used to the faintly oily texture and the sourness of the finish, but in the end I quite liked it for that. There’s also a hole in the mid-palette of this wine that reminded me of another famous Mediterranean export: olives. Particularly black ones.

But in the same way that it took me a while to get used to the taste of olives (now I love them) you may grow to like this wine too. The good thing is, if you don’t like it at first, I have no doubt that this will cellar well. So it will be drinking nicely in a few years/decades when you are ready for it.

Price: $46 ($16.90 from Vinomofo)

Cognitive Bias: Glass half full

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