Rainy and gloomy Monday calls for some heart-gladdening wine that one can actually sip slowly while contemplating the buzzing pitter-patter outside one's window. Hirotake Ooka's "Sc", a rare cuvée made with Syrah and Cabernet sauvignon in the Northern Rhône, seemed fit for the occasion - it is something we don't open lightly given how few of these gems are left in the world.
This 2005 version still has a deep ruby-garnet core with some purplish red tint, almost 16 years after its harvest. The natural funk is obviously there but it is now heavily overshadowed by the purity of ripe black and blue fruit aromas. With some air, the initial funky tones dissipated, allowing brighter red fruits to emerge, together with a little touch of smoke and VA. Similar flavours can be found on the palate, punctuated by prominent notes of cassis, boysenberry, wild blackberries and a faint touch of residual sugar, balanced by a bright, mouth-watering acidity. Not as intense, rich and austere as it once was in its early years, this 500ml format (only) red blend from Ooka-san still retained much of its grippy tannins, but far more mellow now with a fine-grained finesse that prompted us to have another sip as soon as a sip is taken from our delicate, thin-lipped glasses.
One of the magical wines of the world that need the right ambiance, weather, time, place and of course, intimate company for the bottle to shine like a star.