Tuesday, 21 September 2010

First Drop Wines @ Cambridge Wine Merchants

A visit by First Drop winemaker Matt Gant to CWM Cherry Hinton, followed by a tasting of their wines. Prices reflected are retails prices at Cambridge Wine Merchants, all wines will be available from mid October.

Bella Coppia Adelaide Hills Arneis 09
£13. A-

Really lifted white stone fruits, floral and pineapple, grapefruits and some solvent nose too, very nice appealing. Good fat acidity, also nice minerality and pith running through. Feels quite old world to be honest. Good refreshing stuff, highly quaffable for summer evenings.

The Big Blind Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo Barbera 08
£19. A-

Plenty of red fruits, though the colour is quite light, ethereal pinot-like almost. Savoury, white pepper, bell pepper, rounded fruits on the palate. Soft approachable stuff, slightly unripe cherry giving really fresh acidity, little tannins. Light foods, salads, that kind of thing. Well made, not extracted and rather unusual. I find this style of wine quite appealing, like a light Chorey-les-Beaune; soft, rounded and crunchy acidity.

Minchia Adelaide Hills Montepulciano 08
£19. A-

The name apparently refers to bodily appendages (male or female, depending on where you are in Italy). Deep dark and rather brooding, black currants, blackberry, spice, smoky, cinnamon and white pepper. Really firm palate, nice acidity again, really settled. Feels grown up and classy, poised.

Mothers Milk Barossa Shiraz 08
£15. B+

Deeper more alcoholic nose, a typical Aussie shiraz? All the right notes, plenty of fruits, currants and berries. Not overly extracted, low in tannins, which is good, and still plenty of acidity to balance it out. Nice, quaffable and technically correct but forgettable. And certainly you can get plenty of other really good Aussie Shiraz at this price point.

2% Barossa Shiraz 07
£19. A-

Their reserve level shiraz, with 2% albarino in the mix (or savagnin to be more presice), I thought they would have gome for something like viognier. Lifted nose, more expressive than normal, all the right notes for a shiraz is still there - currants, cordial, black fruits. Palate is still soft and approachable. I'm missing the slightly minty notes that I like about Aussie shiraz.

Fat of the Land Seppeltsfield Shiraz 06
£40. A-(+)

Nice ripe and dark fruits there, feels deeper and more brooding than the previous wines, alcoholic too (didnt check the alcohol levels but I suspect its hovering on the 15% mark). Big, quite muscular, palate feels rather taut and highly strung (maybe needs time?). Lots of fruits there, with plenty of acidity still running through, doesn't punch you out. Was left to breathe for 6 hours and is showing well. Class and poise is obvious.

Fat of the Land Ebenezer Shiraz 06
£40. A-(+)

Alcoholic nose with plenty of new oak there. Rich, full, opulent, and very forward, but still rounded with that acidity. Has all you ask for in a Barossa Shiraz. Approachable even now, with abit of air time, perhaps more so than the seppeltsfield - at the moment, I would probably drink this in favour of the seppeltsfield

The Cream Barossa Valley Shiraz 06
£50. A-(+)

Big stuff even in the nose, quite alcoholic, perhaps overly so? Very ripe, smoky, good spice. Palate is full and yielding, really fills the mouth, generous, so much fruit. Good tannic structure shows in this one (first time I've noted tannic structure in this tasting), along with plenty of fresh acidity, this will age for a long long time if you can wait. An excellent expression of the best Barossa Shiraz can offer.

General impressions

Truly interesting tasting, exciting stuff and all very well made. First Drop is a virtual winery, they do not own any vines and buys fruit from growers whom they like. As such the quality should be high - they arent under any pressure to produce certain amounts of wine every year and will probably only make stuff when they feel the fruit is good enough. Love the balance in all the wine, all had good acidity that keeps these wines fresh and doesn't knock you out, and leaves you wanting more. Innovative varietals, certainly unusual, quality of the terroir and wine making clearly evident. The price is slightly on the high side (dont think I can afford many bottles), but hey, they make very good wine.

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