Monday, 28 February 2011

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Mendoza)

Tasted 23/02/11 at Central London Wine Society. 14% ABV, £9 Majestic, Waitrose, et al.  This has been described as the ‘best non-French Cabernet Sauvignon under £20’. Certainly, father and daughter team Nicolas and Laura Catena’s winemaking reputation is well-founded and they are producing a range of consistently excellent wines at all price points. This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which has had 14 months in oak. It is a blend from 2 high altitude vineyards. Dark inky purple, great nose, spicy, cured ham, cassis and leather; a massive wine, juicy dark fruits - big but still very young. From 2012, 16.5/20

Koyle Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Colchagua)

Tasted 23/02/11 at Central London Wine Society. 14% ABV, £12 Majestic. A new winery (for me) now available at Majestic. Bright garnet colour, lovely green pepper nose and chocolate; well balanced, excellent blackcurrant fruit, rich and quite elegant. Good length. From 2011, 16/20

Friday, 25 February 2011

Joffre Malbec 2009 (Mendoza)

Tasted 25/02/11, 13.5% ABV, £8.99 Majestic. A good supper Malbec from R J Vinedos, now being imported by Majestic. Nice concentrated crimson colour, dark fruits on the nose with coffee, chocolate and vanilla on the palate. A little closed still and not the most sophisticated Malbec I have ever tasted - perhaps this wine needs to do a little more to compete with the likes of Catena and Gestos? Need to re-visit in 6 months. From 2011, 15/20

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Villa Gardeana Bianco di Custoza DOC 2008

Tasted 22/02/2011 with Sara, Helene and Luca. 12.5% ABV. ca. £7.50 UK retail, e.g. Laithwaites, Sunday Times Wine Club. From close to Lake Garda, this is a blend of four local grapes. Pale straw colour, citrusy on the nose and quite zesty on the palate - it reminds me of a minor chardonnay. A good luncheon wine or aperitif. Drink now, 16/20

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Clare Valley

Tasted 19/02/2011 with Sara, Jane and Alex. 14% ABV, ca. £10 UK retail, e.g. Majestic. A step up from some big, 'in-your-face' Aussie cab sauvs. Wakefield has a stellar reputation and this wine is no disappointment. I found it very much a New World style - bright purple colour: the nose was variously described by our group as Provencal herbs, mint, bell peppers and cured ham. There was good berry fruits on the palate, some green capsicum flavours but a nice layer of vanilla. You could drink now but I'd be tempted to leave for a year to knock-off the slightly rough edges. Very good value, a good expression of Clare Valley expertise. From 2011, 16.5/20

Zeyssolff Klevener de Heiligenstein 2009 (Alsace)

Tasted 19/02/2011 with Sara, Jane and Alex. 13.5%. N/a UK - private import, about €10 ex-cellars. Another lovely wine from the Zeyssolff stable. Straw coloured; floral nose with some rose petals; lychees and apricots on the palate. Short-ish finish but fine balance. An interesting wine made from 100% of the rare Alsatian Klevener varietal. From 2011, 17/20

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Vina Mayu Syrah 2008 (Elqui Valley)

Tasted 19/02/11 with Sara, Jane and Alex. 14% ABV. £9 UK retail. Not quite in the same league as their reserva, but a lovely wine nonetheless from this up-and-coming Chilean estate. Deep purple colour, cassis, coffee and white pepper on the nose, damsons on the palate, elegant with soft tannins. Classic cool climate syrah - infinitely preferable to overcooked Aussie shiraz. From 2011, 16/20.
Twitter: @garywinetasting
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Macon Villages AOC 2009 (George Brichon)

Tasted 14/02/11, ABV 13%. ca. £9 UK retail, Marks and Spencer. A simple co-operative Maconnais wine, not my usual tipple as I find these 'cheap' white Burgundies poor value for money and often uninspiring. This one doesnt really change my view but in all honesty is not bad. It's quite young and is probably best drunk thus - pale straw colour, damp nettles and grass on the nose, nice balance of citrus fruit and oak perhaps a little acid, short finish. Enjoyable as a food wine. from 2011, 14/20.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Tagus Creek Grande Vinho 2006 VR (Ribatejo)

Tasted 11/02/11, 14% ABV. ca. £7 UK retail, e.g. Waitrose. An interesting wine from the Falua winery. Ribatejo incorporates the Lisbon area and has traditionally produced wines in a more northern European style - many liken them to Clarets. This wine cannot have the DOC classification and must be a VR (Regional Wine) as it has more than 30% foreign grapes (Shiraz in this case) in the blend. The other grape used is the Portuguese nobel grape Touriga Nacional. There is great finesse and balance: a deep ruby colour, beautiful berry fruits on the nose and dark fruits and coffee in the mouth. Very well made and excellent value for money. The French oak used gives a nice layer of vanilla over the tannins. Very alcoholic - it seems to punch above its 14%. From 2010, 16/20

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Black Stump, 2008 (SE Australia)

Tasted 09/02/11. 14.5% ABV. A Laithwaites wine that really sits up and sings. c. £7. This is the Aussie Durif Shiraz. Deep purple colour. Tar, cinnamon and burnt chocolate on the nose. In the mouth it is still a little tannic but full, rich and gives you a mouthful of dark fruits with some buttersctoch on the finish. A lovely wine, excellent value for money. Laithwaites currently have the 2009, which I have 2 bottles of but havent tried yet. From 2011, 16.5/20

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Conde Galiana Reserva DO, 2002 (Catalunya)

Tasted 08.02.11 with Sara, Alavaro and Elisabete. 13%, ca. £7 UK Laithwaites. This was a rare foray for me into Spanish wine that is not from Rioja. This is a 'modern blend' of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon from small winemaker Joseph Gurrera Descarrega, from this giant Spanish region. Bright cherry red, good nose of berry fruits and boiled sweets, very dry and slightly unbalanced on the palate - probbaly needs to be drunk now. It's a reserva but a cheap one and maybe one that indicates that you need to pay more for this type of wine. From 2010, 14.5 / 20

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Zeyssolff Pinot Gris AoC 2009, Alsace

Tasted 05/02/11. 13.5% ABV. n/a UK - private import from estate. ca. 10 Euro ex-cellars. Another great wine from the Zeyssolff stable, from a fine year in Alsace. This is pretty much a perfect Pinot Gris - youthful and fruity - pale straw colour, zesty and tropical fruits on the nose, but with real weight and finish on the palate. I wouldn't keep it too long. From 2011, 17/20

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Maray Carmenere 2009, Limari Valley

Enjoyed with Sara, Alvaro and Elisabete, 03/02/11. 14% ABV, c. £8 in Majestic. A new Chilean wine (for me) from the Tabali stable. I love the Carmenere grape (the original Merlot, if some reports are to be believed) which Chile has made its own. Many lovely wines are now being made in the cool Limari Valley in the north of Chile and this one represents excellent value for money. Deep, youthful purple colour. Blackberries and provencale herbs on the nose, pepper and coffee in the mouth, with silky tannins. Fruit-forward for sure but a great balance. A slightly short finish but I am not complaining at the price. From 2011, 16/20

Esporao Reserva DOC 2007 (Alentejo)

Enjoyed with Sara, Alvaro and Elisabete, 02/02/11. 14.5% ABV. c. 15 Euros in Portugal. A fine example of one of the best Alentejo estates, this is a modern style Portuguese wine, which is a blend of Aragonez, Cabernet Sauvignon and Trincadeira. Still rather young but good to enjoy now. Deep garnet colour, lovely berry fruits and bergamon on the nose, with great forward, dark fruits in the mouth, over well structured tannins. Quite rich and elegant. From 2012, 16.5/20