The first fruit from my trip to Les Caves du Pyrene is this pleasingly obscure Italian red, a Ravenna Rosso IGT. A cuvee of our best red grapes, they say. They don’t say what grapes they are, but they’ve got sangiovese, albana and trebbiano as well as cabernet sauvignon and syrah and some other ones I’ve never heard of (update: Les Caves suggest it’s made from longanesi, which is as far as I know a first for me, though disappointingly it appears this is a modern variety rather than an ancient Italian obscurity). Instead of a useful description of the wine or why it’s got such a gimicky name, the website asks: “Can a wine help us to remember the importance of a message and to practice what we preach?”
Well, I don’t know and I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned all that matters is what response the wine provokes in me and others like me, drinking innocently in our various corners of the world. What does this mean? What message? What do you preach? I am none the wiser, and a bit narked.
So what of the wine? It’s, well, intriguing. At 14.5%, it’s barely above average when it comes to alcohol, but it seems a little out of balance. The smell of it hits you, like if you’ve got any spare it might do a decent job of sterilising some surgical tools. The tannins are strong too. It’s not a simple sip, for sure. It tastes a bit primitive – which fits nicely with Les Caves’ reputation – and, though it takes a while to get used to, it’s certainly pleasant. I think you need to be quite inquisitive about wine to be into it, though, because it’s not just smooth and comfortable and easy, and is as interesting for its novelty as much as for whatever pleasure it brings. You’ve got to get kicks out of slightly awkward wine to love this one, but for all of that, I do like it. I don’t love it.
It’s October 22nd, and over the last two nights we polished off our second and final bottle of Pis & Lov. On opening, it was really aggressive. I didn’t so much sip it as wrestle with it – and it fought back pretty hard. A day later, however, it had (despite using a VacuVin to theoretically leave the wine hermetically sealed and therefore totally unchanged) totally changed. Much more mellow, and much more pleasant. In fact, really good. I need a decanter, and I need to use it – that’s my lesson from the exercise.