Once in a while, I stumble across a wine that parallels my life. It happens rarely – so rarely that when it does, I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some omnipotent Wine God up there, occasionally deigning to point a grape-stained finger towards the perfect pour.
Given the jumbled bundle of feelings that I’ve been lately, I never would have believed that a wine could adequately express my thoughts. Leaving behind family, friends, & familiarity for life in the big city has done a number on many idealistic young writers. I count myself among their ranks.
Loose End FSR is a white blend hailing from Australia’s Barossa Valley region. The FSR stands for its composition: 50% Frontignac, 36% Semillon, and 14% Riesling.
Most of us are familiar with light, sweet, lilting flavors of Riesling, and some have heard of Semillon, a favorite among dessert wine lovers for its sometimes cloyingly sweet “noble rot.” But Frontignac is essentially unknown.
According to Foster’s Wine Dictionary, Frontignac is a cousin of the sweet Muscat grape that lends “intense floral, perfume, rose water, and spice” flavors and fragrance to the wine.
Given this syrupy trifecta, one might expect Loose End FSR to be the Aunt Jemima of wine: powerfully, sickeningly, cloyingly sweet.
Fortunately, it’s not. Like my beloved Caymus Conundrum, Loose End is a bright flowerbomb, with a nose that transports me to the rose gardens at Sonnenberg in Canandaigua (can you tell I’m homesick? I hardly ever visited the gardens while I was there, much less bothered to stop and smell them).
It’s wine to drink on its own, or with something simple – a cranberry scone, perhaps, or a berry tart; no steaks or salmon here.
Unfortunately, my comparison to Conundrum ends there.
Loose Ends is Conundrum with an inner-ear infection: off balance, unfocused, lost and confused. The delicate floral sweetness turns strong and off-putting at the end – perhaps it’s the famous noble rot gone awry. It is a finish that fits the name perfectly.
But not all hope is lost. This wine has potential. Given the right year, with the right circumstances and blend, I think that Loose End might just have a shot at greatness.
Like I said, it was a perfectly appropriate pour.
the wine: 2008 Loose End FSR
composition: 50% Frontignac, 36% Semillion, 14% Riesling
hails from: Barossa Valley, Australia
flavor profile: extremely floral, light, with ending notes of boytris rot
approximate cost: I paid $11 for my glass; expect to find it by the bottle at $16-$20