Monday, 29 November 2010

Carta Roja Gran Reserva DO, Jumilla 2001

Tasted 28/11/10 with Tom, 75cl, 13.5% ABV. Light cherry red, lots of oak on the nose. A good expression of the Monastrell grape. Red fruit aromas, and lots of ripe plum and vanilla on the palate. A good wine from an up-and-coming region. Showing good age, ready now. From 2010, 15.5/20

Sunday, 28 November 2010

The new Chelsea and Fulham Wine Society now launched

See for details of the new wine tasting club, starting in Spring 2011
Twitter: @garywinetasting
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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Humberto Canale Black River Reserve 2006, Mendoza

Tasted 25/11/10, at WHICH group. Available at the Gaucho restaurant shop, Swallow Street, W1. 14% ABV, 100% Cabernet Franc. Dark brick red colour, gamey nose, hint of stewed fruits over-extraction?
Lovely berry fruits on the palate, big, powerful wine, rather fruit driven and a little unbalanced but very enjoyable. 16.5/20
Twitter: @garywinetasting
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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Zeyssolff Reserve Particuliere Pinot Noir AOC, Alsace, 2009

Tasted 4/2010 and 11/2010, 14% ABV. n/a UK, about £10 ex-cellars. An incredibly good wine in a fine year. Never tried Alsatian pinot noir? Well, this is a good one. Pale red-brown, no sign of age at all. Vibrant cherries and boiled sweets on the nose. Initially closed.Slightly tannic but drinking well already. Good strawberry drops on the palate with a long-ish finish. A fine Alsace estate that is a bit 'below the radar' in the UK. There is a private import to the UK. Let me know if you are interested. Ready now. 16.5 / 20.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Errazuriz Wild Ferment Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, 2008

Tasted with Chris and Fran, 11/06/10, 14% ABV, about £12 UK retail (e.g. Majestic). From  La Escultura Estate, this is classed as a speciality wine made with 'spontaneous yeasts' from vines planted in 1996. Beautiful bright pink colour, strawberries, rosehips and toast on the nose.Lovely balance with forward fruit and soft tannins and a superb finish. Complex and elegant. from 2010. A great New World Pinot Noir with a twist. Top Burgundy it's not (in style, at least) but it certainly is great quality and excellent VFM. 18.5/20

Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec, 2007

A fantastic wine, well deserving of its 90 Parker Points. Tasted 6/11 and 11/10, 14.5% ABV, about £11 UK retail. It is said that Argentina is the king of Malbec, in which case this is a jewel in the crown. Dark ruby colour, mint and chocolate on the nose, dark fruits in the mouth, rich and elegant, youthful and vibrant, a lovely wine: a little tannic and needs longer but excellent finish. From 2011, 18.5/20

Monday, 22 November 2010

Duas Quintas, Douro 2005

Tasted various times, 13.5% ABV. (TourNac, TintaRoriz and TourFranca) Ramos Pinto's house red. €9 duty free, about £10 UK. A lovely blackcurrant nose, and a hint of spice and plums. Dry, forward, a little tannic. A layer of vanilla covering the fruit but a lovely, balanced wine. 16
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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Errazuriz Estate Merlot, Aconagua Valley, 2009

75cl, 13.5% ABV. Tasted 26/06/2010 (etc), about £8 UK retail. From Errazuriz’s entry level ‘early drinking’ portfolio, a superior blend from new vines. Good crimson colour. Pleasant plumy ‘New World’ Merlot nose with hint of capsicum. A little tannic – needs a tad longer but fresh to drink now, excellent bell peppers and spice on the finish. Great modern Merlot style and freshness. Can’t complain at the price but not sure if it will age much. From 2010. 15.5 20




Piccini Chianti Riserva, DOCG Tuscany 2006 ('Green Label')

75cl, 13% ABV, tasted 09/07/2011, about £7.50 UK retail. Castellina’s entry level wine by Antonella Conti. Bright crimson, lovely black cherries fruit, hint of pencil box and raspberry. Quite rounded and velvety, nicely dry and raisiny finish, slightly short finish but very pleasant budget Chianti. Better than some of Piccini’s more expensive offerings. Ready now, 15.5 / 20  



Palo Alto Reserva, Maule Valley 2008

Tasted 20/11/2010, about £8 UK retail (e.g. Tesco). Another excellent everyday Chilean wine from Concho Y Toro's mid-level portfolio. A cab sauv / carmenere / syrah blend from young vines. Ruby colour, with blackberries and spice on the nose, oak shows through on the palate, tannins need a little longer to soften. Lovely dark fruits in the mouth. Good now but may be at its best in 2011. 16/20
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Friday, 19 November 2010

Errázuriz The Blend, Aconagua Valley, 2006

Tasted 18/11/2010 with Ian and Clem on our Chilean tasting night. £16.99 Waitrose. Winemaker Baettig's blend for this wine was 40 % Sangiovese, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Carmenere. This is one of my favourite producers but though this wine was very good, I was slightly disappointed. It is over 4 years old, so should be ready but we suspected that the Sangiovese in the blend was from very young vines. Nice complex black berry fruits on the nose but it was a little green on the finish. Still very rich and elegant nonetheless. One to watch - let's see how the Blend evolves with new vintages. Drink now, 17/20

Perez Cruz Carmenere, Maipo Valley 2008

Tasted 18/11/2010 with Ian and Clem on our Chilean tasting night. Best wine of the night? £12.49 retail, Majestic. Ruby red with beautiful plums and dark fruits on the nose, damsons and spice. In the mouth it's all about plums, greengages, dark fruits, some white pepper and capsicums. A great balance, soft tannins, but well integrated fruit. Complex and great finish. From 2010, 18.5/20

Cono Sur Riesling Reserva Bio Bio, 2008

Tasted 18/11/2010 with Ian and Clem from our Chilean tasting night. £6 to £7 retail. Light golden colour, nice Riesling character on the nose - petrolly and oily. Nice balance of acid and zesty fruit. Well made, some complexity and elegance, great value for money, good to drink now. 15.5/20

Casillero del Diablo Gewurtraminer 2008, Maule Valley

Tasted 18/11/2010 with Ian and Clem. £6 to £7 retail. A lightweight Gewurtz in my opinion but not bad. Pale straw colour, good varietal Gewurtz nose - hints of pineapple and ginger. Quite well balanced, but a short finish. Perhaps a little old? 14.5/20

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Shiraz, Clare Valley 2007

Tasted 17/11/10 at Central London Wine Society. c. £12 retail. Forward fruit but with great balance. A refined and elegant wine. Great value. 17.5/20
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Zeyssolff Reserve Particuliere Gewurztraminer AOC 2007, Alsace

Tasted 17/04/10. n/a UK. Medium golden colour, beautiful full slightly honeyed nose with pear drops and apricots. Long and complex. Excellent balance medium sweet, with melon and citrusy notes with a dry finish. Lovely to drink now. About £10, direct from the winery (there is a UK contact if you want the details from me). A lovely wine from a rare producer. Phenomenal value for money. 18.5/20

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Quinta do Ribeirinho VR, Beira Interior (Portugal), 2003

Tasted 11/08/2010. n/a UK, about £10 in Portugal. From the cellars of stellar winemaker Luis Pato, comes this remarkable wine, using a blend of the indigenous Baga grape and Touriga Nacional. Red-brown colour, showing some age. Lovely, complex 'farmyard' nose and cured ham. Excellent balance and superb finish. Still a little tannic but will soften. Drink from 2010, 19/20.

Vina Valdivieso Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley 2006

Tasted 02/10/2010. £9.49 in Waitrose. One of Waitrose's 'In Partnership' labels, they have made a deal here with a very reputable winery. Deep purple – good Cabernet Sauvignon nose – tar and cassis and hint of bell peppers. A little tannic – needs a little longer. Leather and toffee on the palate – dry with forward fruit. From 2011, 17/20

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir Colchagua Valley 2006

Tasted 13/11/2010. c.£15 -£20 various retailers e.g. Majestic, Waitrose, Tesco.
This vintage is ready now and shows how great Chilean varietals can be - it's older vines from selected blocks. Nice dark purple colour, youthful appearance. On the nose, there's complex strawberries and berry fruits. The palate is long and complex. A refined and elegant wine. Great value. 18.5/20
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Errázuriz Estate Reserve Chardonnay Casablanca Valley 2010

Tasted 12/11/2010. Various retailers, ca. £7.00.
This wine's fruit was only picked in late March and the wine has only just arrived in the UK. Pale yellow colour, some caramel and vanilla and the nose. On the palate it's rich and creamy with quite lively acidity. Some of the French oak shows through and this is a well rounded wine. There is definitely more a sense of the varietal character than the terroir, but it's a great value everyday wine, nonetheless. Apparently, the vines were planted between 1992 and 1994 and the quality of the fruit definitely shows through. 16.5/20

Cuvée Extrême Cotes du Roussillon Villages AOC 2008

Tasted 12/11/2010. M&S, £6.29. A reasonable Syrah, Carignan, Mourvedre ('CSM') Rhone -style blend, representing the 'new Roussillon'. Nice ruby colour, clear with hint of brown tinges. Pleasant stewed dark fruits and some pepper on the nose. A slight kick on the palate and a good finish. Not my favourite but not bad. 15.5/20

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Montes Limited Selection DO Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenere Colchagua 2008

Tasted 17/10/2010. £8.99 Majestic. Perhaps not one of Aurelio Montes' best. Good bright purple colour. Berry fruits and bell pepper. Hint of chocolate on the nose. Slightly disappointing in the mouth – rather closed and short finish. I don't think it needs longer - it should be at its peak now. 14/20

Monday, 8 November 2010

Errazuriz Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Aconcagua Valley, 2009

Tasted 08/11/10. c. £8 Waitrose, Tesco, etc.
One of my favourite producers...this wine was one of Decanter's 'Wines of the Year' (Dec 2010 edition), and justifiably so. Bright purple with toasted new oak on the nose. Initially closed but opened up in the glass, good structure and lovely youthful, blackcurrant fruit. Tannins firm - needs another year. At the risk of repetition where my Chilean reviews are concerned, it is 'excellent value for money'. 16.5/20, from 2011.
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Sunday, 7 November 2010

Guado al Tasso DOC Bolgheri, 2006

Tasted 21/10/2010. Antinori 'Super Tuscan' from a great vintage, about £70 to £75, various merchants, e.g. Harrods, Philglas. This is one of the 'cheaper' Antinori Super Tuscans and probably represents the best balance between quality and price. Deep ruby colour, dark, concentrated nose of berry fruits and figs, nice oak, promising; Great length and Morello cherries on the finish. Tannic – needs a little longer – but lovely now. Not too oaky. Elegant and powerful but without being overpowering. Worth the money. 19/20

Chablis Bernard Defaix, AoC, 2008

Tasted 06/11/2010 at Gordon Ramsay. A nice wine by the glass at Ramsay's Chelsea bistro @ £8.50 a throw. Pale straw colour, classic oysters and sea salt on the nose, quite flinty on the palate with a nice acid bite. Good finish – a sound choice for an entrée wine. 16/20, drink now to 2012
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Saturday, 6 November 2010

Errazuriz Carmenère 2009 Aconcagua Valley

Tasted 10/10. Currently £5.49 Majestic, also Tesco.
I love this as a everyday food wine. When I think what awful, thin and acidic '£5' wines there are around- wine of this quality might cost you £25 in a restaurant. Bright purple, black pepper and tobacco 'cigar box' nose. Rich and tannic, good now but needs another year. Damsons and stewed fruit on the palate. Very clean and well made, delicious, excellent VFM. Winemaker Francisco Baettig comes up trumps again. I hate to think how much you'd have to pay to get this quality in the Old World. 16.5 / 20.
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Montes Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Casablanca Valley

Tasted 7/2010, c.£7.99. 2010 vintage now available (not tasted).
This demonstrates a varietal wine that Chile does really well, from one of my favourite producers, that goes from strength to strength. This is at the second level in the Montes hierarchy - riserva (or reserve) - selected grapes / blocks rather than just a straight blend. It's very well made and youthful, great to drink now. BUT it is more than a 'cheap' varietal. There's perhaps more expression of the grape than the terroir but it's all there - gooseberries on the nose with minerally overtones, a hint of damp grass and bell peppers too. It has a lovely balance of green fruits and fresh acidity, and is quite rich. Good finish. 16.5/20. The regular is good too at about £1.50 per bottle less.
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Novas Winemaker's Selection Syrah 2007 Casablanca Valley

Tasted 10/10. Ca. £11 Majestic
This is a wonderful cool climate syrah and a fine example of what Chile can do at its best. A winery with a stellar reputation has produced this gorgeous and incredibly drinkable wine (despite the 14.5% ABV). This is superb value for money. The nose is full of notes of chocolate and toffee, with some tar and caramelised sugar thrown in. Long and full on the palate, this is an elegant and very well made wine. Refined and fruity but not too dry. I am going to buy a few more bottles and see if it ages well. It's great to drink now - it's almost 4 years old after all. I scored it 17.5 / 20
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Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Curico Valley

Tasted 6/10 and 9/10. c. £9-£11, Majestic, Tesco, etc.
This is the third tier on the Montes hierarchy - one up from their riserva. It is difficult to fault this wine - both in terms of quality and value for money. This wine is an excellent demonstration of what Chile can do really well. If any of your friends or guests are doubtful about Chilean wine, ask them to try this. I recently gave this 18/20. The quality of the wine making shows through - excellent clean, forward berries fruit with a lovely 'New World' capsicum nose, with toasted notes and cassis. Very good finish, excellent balance - drink now. For the red wine drinker, I can't think of a better value wine generally available in the UK. I guess it's selected parcels of young vines. I am not sure if it will age but who cares? 17.5 to 18/20
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Matetic EQ Syrah 2008 San Antonio Valley

Tasted 6/2010. Ca. £18 Majestic
A 'boutique' estate, some say, but this relatively new producer makes some of Chile's best wine. This is a classic Chilean syrah: elegant and rich, with a spicy and chocolatey nose, somewhat restrained on the palate and a little closed at the moment, but the wine needs a bit longer. This wine is difficult to criticise, especially at this price. Remember, this is not generic, 'varietal' New World syrah - this is top drawer, fine wine. 18/20
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Friday, 5 November 2010

Mycas Limari Syrah 2008

Tasted 7/2010. Great wine, great value at ca. £8.99 from Majestic or Tesco, etc.
Excellent, elegant cool climate syrah that Chile can do really well. This is bordering on fine wine - it's not just varietal New World much-of-a-muchness. Deep purple colour, stewed fruits and hint of allspice on the nose; in the mouth its all about chocolate and damson with a good finish. Still a little tannic, but good now. Ideally, drink from 2011. This wine is better than the 2007 vintage.
In 8/2010, I said: "This wine is from a great winery and represents truly excellent value for money. This is very well-made, top-drawer wine - not cheap varietal syrah - equivalent (in my opinion) to a £25 Rhone or Croze-Hermitage. Though variation in vintages aren't quite the same issue in Chile as in the Old World, 2008 was notably excellent in Limari. This is much better than the 2007 I tasted. The wine has fantastic mixed spice and chocolate on the nose, black pepper and bell peppers too. Though it is full and a little tannic at this stage in the mouth, this will soften. I would like to keep this wine for a couple of years and see what happens!
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Monday, 1 November 2010

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2003 'Piancornello'

Tasted 21/10/10. Dark red, brown tinges, concentrated, almost medicinal, lovely cherries on the nose; Great balance between price and quality. Elegant, well rounded, good dark fruits on the palate and figs on the finish. GBP 29.99, Waitrose. 18/20

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2007 Castelli del Grevepesa

Date tasted: 21/10/10. A lovely single estate Tuscan, unfortunately n/a UK.

Good cherry red, concentrated nose, spice and cherries; excellent balance, young but great to drink now with length and complexity. Not the heaviest of wines but elegant, very well made. ca. GBP 13.00 equivalent - bought in Florence. 17.5 / 20