The origins of this wine completely fooled me in the blind tasting. The reason being, on reflection, was that it had no particularly strong characteristics apart from being well-made and completely in balance. The Max made by Miles Mossop is a South African wine from Stellenbosch and is a Bordeaux blend (CS 54%, Merlot and Petit Verdot equally making up the remaining 46%). There were no strong indications of its 11 year age either on the nose or on the palate, rather it was remarkably fresh and gave off all the primary fruit notes of cherries, strawberries and cranberries with the accompanying acidity. These were repeated in the taste along with a pleasing tannic grip. The colour was a mid-red – neither purple or brown rimmed – with no particular indications of viscosity.
It would be interesting to see how this wine develops. Personally, I would have liked to see a little more distinguishing features but there is no doubting its quality as a dry, fresh tasting, well-balanced wine of medium length.
[Richard: I don’t often buy wine from South Africa but was intrigued by a WS offering of mature wines from Miles Mossop (about £22, now sold out), really because they didn’t seem to be South African in style and the absence of the dreaded pinotage grape is always welcome. This was a very smooth, very drinkable, well-made, claret-style wine that opened up well over the evening, albeit, as Geoff says, rather lacking in character. To me the nose was clearly CS but, as we know, it’s easy to guess the grape when you’ve seen the label. Talking of which, we don’t often mention back labels – traditionally a place for a little information and a lot of hyperbole but this one was special. Apparently the wine offers an ‘older soul juxtaposed with youthful ardour and a fearless strength’. I didn’t quite pick up on this. Two more bottle of other vintages left, though, so perhaps all will become clear.]