Monday, 31 January 2011

Formal Hall

Seifried Nelson 'Winemakers Collection' Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 08
Naked Wines £18.99 A-

Really funky, yeast, toast, buttery notes, like mature champagne, mushroom brioche, still floral, white fruits too, green melons. Textured, really layered on the palate, rich, full, acid is really fat. Definitely buttery richness, still plenty of white fruits on the palate, peaches, nectarine, ends richly, lingers well. Would be interesting to see if this develops with time, so much pleasure now. Like a burgundy with expressive fruits.

Craggy Range Single Vineyard 'Block 14' Syrah 07, Hawkes Bay
Oddbins £18.99 A-

Floral red fruits, touch of mint, wood, cigar, pastilles. Nice fruit hit on the palate, not over the top, feels subdued, cool. Sustained fruits, not big hit, just good lasting fruits. Balance between mouthfeel, acid and fruit is right. Beautiful.

Berry's Meredith Full Rich Madeira 5 yo
Berry Bros £13.95 (50cl) A-

Dried figs, marmalade, burnt edges, orange peel, dried apricots, slight hints of coffee and chocolate. Nice fruits, god length, lingers well, acid is firm and lasts, hides the sugar well. Drinks so easily and so well.

Sandemans Vintage 1963

Really pale, off-yellow colour, slight tinge of pink, smells of an old tawny, dried figs, but if tasted blind you could be convinced that it was a port. On the palate, there are hints that it was port, but I found the lack of colour really troubling. Lasts long, presence is good, there still life despite its age. Truly weird, a novelty.

Sunday, 30 January 2011


Porcupine Ridge Syrah 09
Oddbins B+

Plenty of red fruits, quite lifted, smooth, touches of spice and pepper, fat acidity, slight burnt edge. Attractive, very drinkable even on its own.

35° South Latitude Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot
Sainsbury's £3.99 (on offer) B

Correct but slightly confected nose, sweetish ripe, like sweet pastilles. Palate is of ripe red fruits, good fruit hit, juicy, some green pepper notes, leafy. Excellent value.

d'Arenberg Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 05

So very lifted, leaps out of the glass, plenty of dark fruits, blackberry compote, nice hint of mint, the viognier really sings here, so much violets and damsons. Palate is settled, matured well.

Ch Villa Bel Air 05, Graves

Mature, settled, but not much primary fruits left, touches of cigar box, wood, maybe even some cloves. Nice drying acidity, tannins are softened out.

Le Pressoir Grande Reserve Cotes du Roussilon 09

Attractive red fruits, acidity some what aggressive. Nothing interesting going on, but obvious faults either.

Thursday, 27 January 2011


Domaine Combe Blanche ' La Galine' 2001, Minervois la Liviniere
Cambridge Wine Merchants £ 10.99 A-

Lovely, heady, expressive nose, smells like a plummy mature Bordeaux, theres white pepper, spices, cloves, cigarbox, even touches of coffee and chocolate. On the palate still primary dark fruits, but its not dominant; smooth, good fat acidity, theres a drying sensation which should find its match with food, tannins have mostly resolved. Balanced, ready, generous. This is drinking sensationally well now.

CUWS L11 - Taylor's Port

Tasted Wednesday, 26 Jan 2011. Led by Joanna Delaforce.

Taylor's 10 yo Tawny

Perfectly correct, slightly alcoholic nose, red fruits dominated, dried figs. Lifted, lighter, spices, maybe vanilla and cinnamon. Soft round red fruits, generous and lingers in the palate, doesn't just hit and run. Delicious drinking.

Taylor's 20 yo Tawny

Definitely lighter in colour, more coppery amber? Nose is more dominated by dried figs, dried plums, less primary red fruits, evolving to a more nutty complexion. Palate is more restrained, the first hit is not as big as the 10yo, but it lasts longer and far more sustained, and the generosity on the palate is remarkable, velvety. Beautifully poised, an absolute joy to drink.

Taylor's LBV 2004

Dark, deeper dark fruits, alcoholic on the nose, quite strong. Dark fruits, blackberry, dark plums, cassis, liquer like, mint touches, chocolate.Palate hits you rather full on withthe fruits, unapologetically big.

Taylor's Terra Feita 1999

Still plenty of primary dark fruits, touches of mint, herb, a slight hint of burnt tar. Fruits still so forward, dark fruits, palate longer, nice lengthy aftertaste.

Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas 2001

Primary dark fruits, plenty of herbs there, good mint. Palate is large, generous, more textured, still plenty of fruits on the palate, some spice at the back. Theres more body, this is more fun, should age and develop better.

Taylor's Vintage 1985

Lifted nose, seductive, red fruits, floral almost, touches of currants, licorice and pastilles. Plenty of dark fruits still shows, the palate is smooth, generous, lingers for ages. Still has plenty of life ahead of this, which is saying something. Gorgeous.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011


Monasterio de las vinas Old Vines Garnacha 08
Cambridge Wine Merchants £ 6.99 B

Red fruits, raspberry, cherry, touches of chocolate. Plenty of acidity, keeps it fresh. slightly oxidised. Perfectly drinkable, everyday wine.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Matetic Coralillo Syrah 09 Chile
Oddbins £16.99. B+(+)

Fragrant, expressive Syrah on the nose, dark fruits, quite brooding. Palate is full, textured, thick, offering good depth and intensity. The dark fruits and a touch of mint shows too; nice acid keeps it fresh, otherwise would be rather cumbersome. Good presence overall, shows well.

Kimbao Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere 08 Chile
Naked Wines £8.99. B+

Rather green and leafy on the nose; maybe some woody notes and burnt tar, charred. Palate is surprisingly soft and approachable, mostly dark red fruit showing through; smooth, not tannic, slips through. Perhaps a simple wine, but still gives pleasure. Less clunky than when I had this last year.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Formal Hall

Two wines from Naked Wines, along with dinner.

Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir 08, Earnsclough Vineyard, Central Otago.
Naked Wines £17.49. B+

Soft, sour cherry dominated, raspberry; nose is also lifted, quite floral, damson, touch of earthiness and leafy too. Palate is soft but ripe, plenty of lip-smacking fat acidity; fruits does show, sour cherries again. Only criticism perhaps is that its a bit thin. Overall delightful and nifty little wine.

Glaymond Landrace Shiraz Mataro 06, Barossa.
Naked Wines £23.49. B+(+)

Deep dark fruits, blueberry, blackberry and cassis. Some minty bramble, jammy, really fruit dominated, forward. Palate is full and a touch heavy (somewhat expected), nicely textured though, serious depth there; plenty of ripe fruits still showing throughout the palate, generous. Unfortunately the alcohol at 15.5% does show. Could do with some aging / air time.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

CUWS Lent 11 - Felton Road

Selection of wines from Felton Road winery, Central Otago, New Zealand. Presented by Angela Reddin.

Felton Road Bannockburn Riesling 10

More floral, citrus, orange peel, blossoms, mangoes, touch of tropical. So much acidity on the palate, also its off dry, apparently 48 g/l, but really doesn't show it, just shows how much acidity is there. Balanced, plenty of fruits still. Like the style.

Felton Road Dry Riesling 08

Full lime, zesty, tang, really vibrant on the nose, lively, slight hints of organic. Plenty of racy acidity there, so bright, good minerality, reinforces the lime flavours, citrus. Seriously fresh, sharp, good edge. Will wake you up in the morning.

Felton Road Chardonnay 08

Plenty of white fruits, apricots, loamy, chalky, mineral notes too. Some depth, definitely toast, buttery, cheesey, lees contact? Full on the palate, plenty of fruits, good solid acidity but not aggressive, generous width, feels complex. Given that theres only a small fraction of oak treatment, this is seriously complex. Class.

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 09

Red fruits, cherry, raspberries to the fore. Perfumed, some violets, slight earthy and woody notes and herbs. Really juicy, nice big burst at the front, cherry dominated, then slowly dissipates, not sustained. Bit thin for my liking.

Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir 09

Nose is very similar to the Bannockburn, if anything slightly more lifted, expressive and perfumed. Nice cutting acidity, plenty of fruits, cherries again. Acidity and fruit very forward, lacks finish, still delightful drinking. Described as being the 'mistress' of the two Pinots.

Felton Road Calvert Pinot Noir 09

Similar nose as before but not as expressive. Nice body, full, good width on palate, doesn't immediately explodes in your mouth but is sustained, excellent length and finish. Very together. Maybe more lean and restrained, but still delicious drinking. Probably will age well, one for the long run? Described as the 'wife' compared to the Cornish Point Pinot.

Felton Road Pinot Noir 01

Earthy, mushroom, mouldy notes, cheese rinds, farmyard, definitely developed, age shows. Gamey, rusty nails? some savoury characters, aged well, fruit still showing remnants, but is still together, still good acidity. Fully mature, don't think you'd get more by aging this. And considering these came from rather young vines, quite astonishing.