Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Quinta da Tabua Tinto, Beira Baixa, 2011

Tasted 27/12/11 in Portugal, 12% ABV, n/a UK, only available from my father-in-law's estate near Idanha a Nova. Tasted in cask. Alvaro Rocha's first attempt at a garage wine, 500 ltrs produced from about 90% 3-year old Touriga Nacional vines and a field blend of other indigenous grapes and some bought-in moscatel. Bright beaujolais pink in colour. Pleasant nose of black fruits and cured ham. On the palate it's quite sweet, rather lacking in tannins, hence a rather fruity mouth feel. I think the fruit was picked a little late (late September) and was rather over-ripe and insufficient tannins were extracted during maceration. Maybe, therefore, this is a wine for very early drinking. A pleasant wine with food, much better than I feared! 12/20
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Monday, 26 December 2011

Zeyssolff Gewurtztraminer Cuvee Z 2009 (Alsace)

Tasted 23/12/2011. 14% ABV, n/a UK - private import only, about €12 ex-cellars. Another great wine from the Zeyssolff stable, this one is top of their Gewurztraminer varietal tree, being late picked from older vines. Medium golden colour, perfumed, honeyed nose with oranges and apricots. Medium sweet on the palate - reminds me of a young German auslese. The mouth is full, with marmalade and hints of marzipan. Long, dry-ish finish. A lovely wine, maybe needs another year. From 2012, 17.5/20

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Castello del Terriccio Tassinaia IGT 2006

Tasted 23/11/2011. 14% ABV, about £24 UK retail (Lea and Sandeman). IGT rather than DOC, as this Supertuscan blend has more than 30% non-indigenous grapes (that was the law in 2006 but has now changed, I believe) - 33% each of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Dark cherry red, showing some age. Great nose of cherries and dark fruits, slight hint of tar and treacle. Big mouthful of damsons, plums and stewed fruits. Very dry with lingering morello cherries on the finish. Big and tannic - needs longer - but good now with food. From 2013, 17/20

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Domaine Tour Saint-Michel Cuvee des Deux Soeurs, Chateauneuf du Pape, 2009

Tasted 23/12/2011, with Sara, Chris, Beata et al. 15% ABV, £21 UK retail from Genesis Wines. Stellar wine from an merging producer. This wine has stormed the prizes and tastings, recently getting 5 stars in a Decanter tasting of the '09s, for example. An amazing, massive wine, one of the best wines I have tasted in 2011. Deep purple colour, incredible nose of tar, cinnamon, tobacco and toffee. Huge mouth of liquorice, juicy dark fruits and coffee. Complex with a lingering finish of Christmas cake butterscotch. Rather tannic still but refined too. This wine has a great future. A bargain. From 2014, 19/20.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Steinmühle Sylvaner QbA Rheinhessen 2010

Tasted 09/12/11. 13%ABV. £6.50. Exclusively available in the UK from German Wine Agencies. A revelation of a wine. Nice to try a pure varietal Sylvaner. Great up-and-coming producer really delivers the goods here. Lovely nose, described as a 'restrained sauvignon blanc. Off-dry, elegant palate with green fruits, lemon zest, apples. Excellent finish. Ready to drink but will last. Incredible value for money. A real find, so unusual to taste this varietal and it shows what superb quality and value there is to be had from Germany. From 2010, 17/20

Mâcon-Lugny Louis Latour, 2010

Tasted 18/12/2011. 13% ABV, about £9 UK retail (widely available). Many reviewers are raving about this as a great 'value for money' and 'affordable entry level' Burgundy. L. Latour has a great reputation and the wine does certainly punch above its weight. Pale straw colour, damp grass and vanilla on the nose. The palate is well balanced, juicy green fruits and fresh acidity well balanced with the oak. Candy box on the finish? Very clean, well made wine, a versatile food wine. From 2011, 16/20

Langenwalter Weisenheimer Hahnen Weisser Burgunder, Pfalz QbA 2010

Tasted 09/12/11. 12.5%. £6.50. Exclusively available in the UK from German Wine Agencies.
Pinot Blanc by another name. Pale straw colour, pleasant nose of damp grass and apples. Zesty palate with juicy gooseberry fruit. The acidity overpowers the fruit somewhat, rather short finish. From 2011, 14.5 / 20

Langenwalter Weisenheimer Hahnen Riesling, Rheinhessen QbA 2009

Tasted 09/12/11. 13.5%. £8.50. Exclusively available in the UK from German Wine Agencies.
Light golden colour, classic 'petrolly' nose, with hint of green vegetables and mint. Off dry. Great depth of zesty fruit and apples on the palate. Good balance of fresh acidity. Needs another year. From 2012, great value for money 16 / 20

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Chateau Palmer Alter Ego, Margaux AoC 2005

Tasted 19/12/2011, with Sara, Beata and Jean Marc. 14% ABV, about £60 UK retail. The second wine of the great 2nd growth Chateau Palmer. Fantastic deep purple colour. Great nose of blackcurrants and forest floor. Very concentrated crushed dark fruits and juicy sweet berries on the palate, with mocha and coffee. A classic and excellent value for money - as claret goes. From 2011, 17 / 20.

Chateau Brane-Cantenac 2eme Margaux Grand Cru Classe 2005

Tasted 19/12/11 with Sara, Beata and Jean-Marc. About £85 when you can find it. Decanted for five hours. Dark, inky with a purple rim, clear with little sediment. Clean on the nose with cassis and pencil box notes. Medium-full on the palate with youthful acidity and integrated tannins. A classic Margaux in style - floral nose and quite sweet on the palate. Quite long finish with dark fruit and a layer of oak masking the fruit for now. Drinking well now - I tend to enjoy claret quite young but if you want to keep it for 2 decades, no problem! From 2015, 18/20

Zeyssolff Selection de Grains Nobles Pinot Gris, Alsace 2007

Tasted 19/12/11 with Sara, Beata and Jean-Marc. 50cl, 13% abv. n/a UK, private import only. c. £12 ex-cellars. Only made in exceptional years, botrytised Pinot Gris is quite rare to experience. Golden colour, the nose is complex and full of seville oranges, the palate raisins and apricots. Not too sweet and with a dryish finish. Rich and full, this is more at home with pate or cheese than a dessert. Lovely, unusual wine. From 2012, 17.5 / 20

Bollinger Le Grande Annee 2002

Tasted 19/12/11 with Sara, Beata and Jean-Marc. 12 % ABV, widely available UK, about £70. Lovely light golden colour, tight, small bubbles in the glass. Still rather young, tight on the nose with candied fruit and zesty notes. A very rich palate and complex but still a little restrained. Needs longer - from 2013. 18/20

Monday, 12 December 2011

Langenwalter, Weisenheimer Hasenzeile, Gewürztraminer, Pfalz QbA 2010

Tasted 09/12/11. 13.5%. £8.50. Exclusively available in the UK from German Wine Agencies.
Light golden colour, honeyed nose with apricots. Sweet at first but with a dry finish. Great depth of tropical fruits, apricots and almonds. A luscious wine with great concentration of fruit. Excellent balance of fruit and zesty acidity. Good now, from 2011. 17.5 / 20

Langenwalter, Weisenheimer Halde, Spatburgunder, Pfalz QbA 2009

Tasted 09/12/11. 12.5%ABV. £9. Exclusively available in the UK from German Wine Agencies
Mid purple with just a hint of brown tinges. Cherries and oak on the nose. The palate is complex. Dry with fresh strawberries fruit, a long finish with tobacco and cinnamon. A well balanced and elegant wine. From 2011, 16.5 / 20

Steinmühle Spatburgunder Rheinhessen QBA 2009

Tasted 09/12/11. 13%ABV. £8. Exclusively available in the UK from German Wine Agencies. A revelation of a wine. A world away from many Spatburgunders (Pinot Noirs) of old. Bright pink colour, youthful, clear, and very little oak evident. A pure expression of Pinot Noir fruit. A delightful nose of rosehips and strawberries. Elegant palate, balanced with firm tannins. Juicy red fruits. Excellent finish. Ready to drink but will last. From 2012, 18/20

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Tupungato 2010 Catena Zapata (Mendoza)

Tasted 06/12/2011, 13.5%, about £9 in M&S.
A Bodega Catena Zapata wine sold under various guises, I think - this one M & S. This is a Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec blend. A lovely wine. Inky colour. Great aromas of damsons, prunes and salty figs! Very forward dark fruits, fresh youthful palate, with coffee and allspice on the finish. Good to drink now, from 2012. 16/20
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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Zeyssolff Reserve Particuliere Pinot Noir AOC, Alsace, 2009

Tasted 4/2010 and 11/2010 and most recently 30.11.11 with Sara, Beata and Jean-Marc. 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. From 2011. This wine has imporved in bottle over 18 months and is ready now. 16.5 / 20.

Zeyssolff Reserve Particuliere Gewurztraminer AOC 2007

Tasted 30.11.11, with Sara, Beata and Jean-Marc. 13% ABV, n/a UK (private import only). Ca. €12. Medium golden colour, beautiful full, slightly honeyed nose with pear drops and apricots. Long and complex. Excellent balance medium sweet, with citrusy notes and melon with a dry finish. A stellar wine from a stellar vintage in Alsace. Improved from last tasting one year ago. From 2011, 18 / 20