Why you may ask, are we reviewing wines that have already been tasted elsewhere? Well, as one knows, terroir is important to the taste of a wine as the grapes grow. But what is little known is another factor that contributes to the taste of a wine, is the post-bottling terroir. That's right, the location of the bottle after it has been filled with rotten grape juice is important to the final taste as it is poured into the wine glass.
For instance, Madeira wines were invented after sailing ships sailing around Africa loaded up on wine and deposited them in the hold of a ship for the long voyage to India. Being baked in the hold of a ship twice cross the equator gives the Madeira the distinctive taste.
In the same way in the Bahamas, baking the cases of wine in the tropic sun on the dock of Tropical Shipping Depot in downtown Nassau, adds a je ne sais quoi to the taste of the wine. It gives it a urine nose with a ratschitt earthiness that is undescribable. Some wines have the elasticity to soak up these flavours as the sun heats them to near boiling point in the bottle.
So here we go. We had a veritable feast last night at our dinner table. Super Dave our neighbour came to dinner from an afternoon of kiteboarding on Cabbage Beach. He brought a huge tray of delicious stone crab claws and a dip. This was to accompany the Cajun shrimp fettucine that the Lovely One whipped up.
If you have never had stone crabs, you are missing the best tasting crab meat ever. They beat Alaska King Crab hands down. He also brought a bottle of A5 wine. We were joined by at dinner by our UK houseguests, Charlotte and Evan.
The red wine was a 2006 version of A5. In the corner of the bottle, you saw the year and a graphic of the Spades card suite.
It was intriguing. When you turned the bottle around and read the back label, this is what it said:
Ace To Five
2006 Napa Valley Red Wine
A blend of 5 varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon 47%
Cabernet Franc 12%
Petite Verdot 5%
Made by DBA Wines
Saint Helena, California
There is was. The ingredients were listed on the back. Dave was the first. In his long southern drawl he said "Oooohhhhh, this is spicey". I was next. I commented on how the heavy oak contrasted the Sulphite taste. Evan remarked that it tasted like petrol (that's what the Brits call gasoline). Dave added to his initial impression by saying that it was a "Franken wine", (which is a term that I intend to shameless steal).
It had a strong nose of vinegar and ethylene glycol antifreeze radiator fluid with high notes of cinnamon, rotting banana flowers and an astringent taste of witch hazel. On the tongue it had a stronger pucker power than a combination of witch hazel and Sour Patch Kids candy. It tasted like it had enough quinine to cure an entire colony of malaria.
Other than that, it was an acceptable table wine.
Here is the real irony, and this is the God's honest truth. It ended up on our table through a single degree of separation, as a gift from a billionaire that lives in these islands. This morning, the Lovely One the remaining half bottle of A5 down the drain.