Sunday, 31 July 2011

Vina Leyda Costero Syrah 2009 (Leyda Valley)

Tasted 31/07/2011, 14% ABV. About £8.50 UK retail (e.g. Majestic). I have had this wine in stock for a year or so and at 2 years of age, it's about ready to drink now. Vina Leyda is up-and-coming (established 1997 according to the authoritative Peter Richard's Chile guide) and gets passing mention (for example) in the latest Parker guide. I haven't tried their Pinot Noir but this Syrah, whilst not in the same league as Vina Mayu, Casa Lapostelle or Matetic EQ, is a lovely wine nonetheless, fruity and bred for early drinking but elegant too. Ruby red, raspberries and berries on the nose, with white pepper and coffee on the palate overlying a layer of brambly fruit, with structured tannins. Excellent value for money. From 2011, 16/20.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Viu Manent Reserva Carmenere 2009 (Colchagua)

Tasted 26/07/11. This £10 wine comes in at a potent 14.5% ABV. This winery has been 'family owned since 1935' but as far as I can tell, it's an exclusive UK import by Majestic. They do a non-reserva and a gran reserva too but this one is the best of the three in my opinion.
Beautiful deep purple colour, the 10 months in oak shows through with a nice layer of vanilla over the dark berry fruits. The nose is one of mocha, herbs and plums on the palate it's spicy dark chocolate, coffee and cherries. Firm tannins - drinking well now but it has 3 or 4 years yet. A lovely wine.
From 2013, 16.5/20
Twitter: @garywinetasting
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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Errázuriz Estate Carmenere 2009 (Aconagua)

Tasted 21/07/2011, 13.5% ABV, screw cap. About £7.50 (e.g. Majestic). I have said before that I sometimes find the Errazuriz entry-level wines rather harsh and two-dimensional but this one was a pleasant surprise. It says that 'half the wine' (sic) has had 6 months in oak but have no doubt this wine is quite elegant and well-rounded. Carmenere from Chile is gaining a deserved reputation and this wine reinforces that notion. Deep purple, with pimento, cigars and mocha on the nose, dark fruits on the palate with soft, velvety tannins. A very well made wine. From 2011, 15.5/20

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Archangel Wines Long Trek Pinot Noir, Central Otago 2008

Tasted 15/07/11 with Sara, Jane and Alex. £10 UK retail (n/a Majestic). This winery's reserva wine is a multiple medal winner. I have had a couple bottles of the entry level for about 2 years and probably with hindsight, kept them a year too long. It is a New World style for sure and shows what Central Otago is now capable of with the fickle Pinot Noir grape..... this is a fruit forward, well balanaced wine but some of the fruit has now gone and would have probably benefitted from drinking when it was 2 years old, rather than 3. Young vines no doubt. Nonetheless, it is still most enjoyable - it's bright cherry red, intense strawberries on the nose, a little tannic on the palate, but there's boiled sweets, and a hint of spice in the mouth. This winery shows great potential for the future. Drink now, 16/20.

Chianti Riserva San Colombano 'Baroncini' 2007 DOCG

Tasted 13/07/11 with Sara. 13% ABV, ca. £9.50 UK retail (Waitrose). Initially, I was rather disappointed with this 'IWSC Bronze Medal Winner' but after 3 days breathing (sic) it really came into its own! San Colombano have a good reputation in the Tuscan middle ground and I thought at 4 years old, this bottle was about ready to try. Upon first opening and even on a second day, we found this rather closed, extremely oaky and very dry. But it eventually opened up to reveal lovely cherries and strawberries on the nose, and the tannins softened. As it is this wine is good with food but it shows that there are still long-lived 'traditional' Chianti styles made at this level. Note to self - keep for another 3 years at least! From 2015, 16/20

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Errázuriz Tapihue Block Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Casablanca Valley)

Tasted 12/07/11 with Beata, Jean-Marc, Tom, Sara, et al. 13.5% ABV, about £8 UK retail. This wine has improved in the year since I bought it. This shows that even youthful, early-drinking wines benefit from some age. Pale straw colour. Very nice apple and gooseberry nose, refershing acidity on the palate. Quite well balanced now and drinking well. I do like Errazuriz reserva-level wines and their fine wines, but unlike say, Cono Sur and Concha y Toro, I find their entry level wines unremarkable but this is an exception. From 2011, 15.5 / 20

Monday, 11 July 2011

Vinchio Vaglio I Tre Vescovi Barbera d'Asti DOCG Superiore 2008 (Piedmont)

Tasted 10/07/11, 13.5% ABV. About £8.99 In Waitrose (currently on offer at £6.50). A lovely little wine and it shows that there is good vlaue for money to be had for every day wine in the Old World. Ruby red in colour with brown tinges, looks older than its age. Beautiful strawberries, dried fruits and toasty oak on the nose, red fruits on the palate. Good tannins and well balanced. Really superb food wine - good value even at full price. Drink now, 16/20

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Casillero del Diablo Merlot 2008 (Casablanca)

Tasted 05/07/11, 13.5% ABV. This is widely available for anywhere between £6 and £8. This is an entry level varietal blend from Concha y Toro's global brand. Though labelled 'reserva' I am not sure why but.....
As always with CdD, their entry level varietals are far superior to most New World gluggers at this price point, and great value too.
This wine is medium purple, the nose has spice and red fruits and some oaky notes. The palate is fresh and fruity. Well balanced. Not remarkable but you get a good Merlot character. Drink now, 14 / 20.
Twitter: @garywinetasting
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Sunday, 3 July 2011

Finca Flichman Malbec Reserve 2009

Tasted 1/7/11 with Tom. 14% ABV. Currently on offer at Waitrose at £5.99 (from £7.99). The 2010 has just been released so I decided to drink up the '09 that I had since last year. It seems very similar to the Gestos, just not quite as elegant or rounded. Their website is worth a look: (Spanish only) but doesn't list this wine. My guess is this is a blend for the international market; according to the bottle based on two of their vineyards. I think the 'reserve' appellation comes from selected plots rather than barrel age. Anyway, it is clear, medium purple colour with a good nose of plum and strawberry. Tannins are soft. There's a rather short finish and I would have preferred a bit more grip with firmer tannins. Good value for money, nonetheless, if you like your Malbec soft-ish and for early drinking. 15/20, drink now.