William & Gina's Wedding (Park Palace, Grand Park Hotel): It is a bit surreal to think that we were drinking this wine while the winemaker, Patrick Bize, was lying on his deathbed after a tragic car accident - something we only found out later. This spoke so eloquently of the quality wines crafted by Bize. There was a very masculine bouquet on the nose, with a lot of savoury aromas - meaty bacon, sous bois, mineral, along with blueberries and dark cherries and a little whiff of wilted flowers. Nice. The palate was perhaps a tad austere at points, but it really had a very nice, sculpted feel to it. There was a veneer of sweetness to its pure tones of dark cherries and berries, good depth here, but peel that layer away and there was a sterner structure and minerality underneath, with fine-boned tannins and pleasingly juicy acidity that lent it a lean, spare, very cooly elegant feel. This would almost have been aloof but for the lovely quality of the fruit on it. It had a strong finish too, with fine tannins and acidity wrapped around fresh flavours of black cherries, and then a liner of boiled herb that was very 1998. A really nice, well-made wine, but somewhat needing a little more time to hit its prime. Perhaps a fitting, but rather sad tribute to the person who crafted it. RIP Patrick.
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