Sunday, 31 July 2011


Tasted, Saturday, 30 July 2011.

2007 Gemtree 'The Phantom' Petit Verdot

Dark fruits, so much blackberry; some touches of white pepper and mint; jammy, stewed, some floral tones. Fantastic fat acidity; mouthfeel is textured, thick and extracted; but the tannins have softened out, I remember drinking this a year ago an it was rather hard going. Its just mellowed out slightly, opening up, showing the fleshy dark fruits hidden inside, smooth yet big. Could probably keep a couple more years, but its drinking nicely now.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Wine Tasting

A selection of wines, tasted Thursday, 28 July 2011.
All reds decanted at least 3 hours prior to serving.

NV Eugenie Bezard Cuvee Tradition Brut
Cambridge Wine £19. B+

Citrus, some lemon; touch of bread and toast, slight brioche notes. Palate is fresh and zippy, nervy acidity, lively and happy fizz. Well made.

2009 Sumarocca Cava Brut
The Wine Society £7.50. B+

Some yeasty and bready notes, also fruit. Very fresh on the palate; gentle, classy mousse; a good Champagne look alike, and at this price, great value.

2010 Anchorage Sauvignon Blanc. Nelson, NZ.
Naked Wines £11. B+

Plenty of the green varietal notes; asparagus, cut grass and green capsicum; theres some lemon there; also some wet stones, minerality. Fresh acidity, fruit is there; not the full on varietal character that you'd expect, nice restraint.

2008 Domaine Beaurepaire, Clos de Petit Croix, Menetou Salon. Loire Valley.
Hedonist Wines £12. A-

Nose is so aromatic and lifted; honey and acacia, sweet oranges and tangerines, ripe peaches; really smells rather sweet. On the palate its full and textured filled with white stone fruits, fat acidity fills all around, plenty of minerality to back it up. Lovely, very drinkable.

2009 Mercurey Blanc, Vincent Joussier.
Hedonist Wines £12. B+

Some oak treatment evident on the nose, along with a nutty note; palate is full and textured, but restrained, ripe fruits there too. Tight, focused but unfortunately a bit linear.

2007 Escarpment Chardonnay. Martinborough, NZ.
Slurp £12. B+

Smells like a bakery in there; full on barrel fermentation, yeasty, very biscuity and toasted, theres a creamy fatness too, vanilla and maybe even a bit of smoke. Palate is rich and textured, ripe fruits, very full on the mouthfeel, almost mealy; all in, its a bit too over the top for my liking, just overdone.

2006 Savigny les Beaune, Domaine de la Galopiere.
£25. A-

Beautiful lighter colour, sour cherry and raspberry, then touches of damp earth and forest undergrowth, osme violets thrown in. Palate is lush and sweet, plenty of raspberries and sour cherries again, some oak gives a bit of weight, that slight woodiness; acidity is crunchy but long. Generally rather light and fleeting, but still lively and vibrant, very well put together, nice poise.

1996 Chateau Maucaillou, Moulis en Medoc.
Tanners (oddments) £14. A-

Plummy, some raspberry and floral notes, then lush red fruits, with cedar and sweet spices; attractive, if not textbook nose. Palate is supple and very aprproachable, very yielding, almost melts in the mouth; red fruits doesnt jump at you, just lingers; acidity keeping everything together. This has aged well and is drinking beautifully.

1996 Abadia Retuerta Cuvee El Campanario. Sardon de Duero, Spain.
£22. A-

Dark fruits, jammy compote, blackberry and bramble, decent warmth showing; then some sweet spices, particularly cinnamon and cloves and sweet oak also showing. Palate again is soft and very approachable, fruit is yielding, still lively acidity given its age. Drinking very well.

2006 Castillo La Paz Tempranillo. La Mancha.
Cambridge Wine £7. B+

Some hot alcoholic notes showing on the nose, high notes; sweet oak and lots of fruits, red berries. Palate is fruit dominated, juicy if slightly burned palate; nice acidity; but this runs through very quickly on the palate, not complex stuff.

2006 Caecus Rioja Reserva.
Hedonist Wines £15. B+

A lot of sweet oak and sweet spices on the nose, cloves, cinnamon and star anise; then fleshy currants and red berries, hint of floral notes at the end; very attractive. Palate is very juicy and lush, lots of ripe fruits is dominant; decent acidity holds it together. Drinking very well now, classy.

2002 Panizzi Folgore, DOC San Gimignagno. Tuscany.
Hedonist Wines £18. A-

Fragrant, floral, roses almost; then some gamey, cured meats notes, all backed up by lots of red fruits. Palate is very filling, almost luscious in the mouth, so generous with the fruits; lingering, vibrant acidity too. This has everything in balance; very expressive.

2008 Ferngrove Orchid Series 'King' Malbec. Frankland River, Western Australia.
Cambridge Wine £20. B+

An attractive deep purple sheen. A cool, minty / eucalyptus nose showing, wine gums and licorice; full on blackberries, like ribena pastilles; a touch of greennness too and floral notes (turkish delight, perhaps). A lot going on in the nose. Palate is full with sweet dark fruits, rounded and succulent, its not excessively extracted, actually feels lush.`Almost a fresh, lighter take on Malbec; completely unexpected.

1989 Riesling Spatlese, Burger Hahnenschrittchen, Weingut Werner Muller. Mosel.
Cambridge Wine £13.25. A-

Lemon and lime zest on the nose, very lively and tangy, slight touches of petrol; floral and light on the nose. Palate is filled with vibrant acidity, so very lively, only slightly off dry, maybe 10g/l or so, nothing much. Feels light and refreshing on the palate, graceful.

2003 Banyuls 'Cuvee Mediteranee' Domaine Pietri-Geraud
Leon Stolarski £19. A-

Deep tawny in colour. Coffee, dusted cocoa; dried figs and prunes, treacle and slightly burnt caramel, raisins and some marmalade; does smell rather hot, slightly oxidized too. Palate is generous, a lot of dark fruits, but very smooth, lots of acidity keeping things fresh; not heavy, like a cross between an aged tawny and madeira. Really coats the palate and lingers a while. Lovely.

Sunday, 24 July 2011


2010 Anchorage Viognier, Nelson NZ.
Naked Wines £12. B+

On the nose plenty of citrus, lemon, some grapefruit and unripe peaches too; white floral, lifted, expressive nose. Palate is quite fat and wide; feels rather thick. Acidity muted. Glycerol / oily touches even? Needs food, basically bone dry. Refrigerated, this still drinks well on day two.

1996 Abadia Retuerta 'Cuvee El Campanario', Sardon de Duero
£20 (at auction). B+

On opening: dark berries, cassis, earthy; mulled wine warmth, with lots of sweet spices and cinnamon, star anise. After a while, it develops to a cedar, sweet cherry wood nose; very attractive. Palate now settled, lush red fruits, sour cherries; still rather vibrant acidity, so together, integrated. Has aged well.

General Tasting

A selection of wines, tasted Thursday, 21 July 2011.

2001 Nyetimber Blanc de Blanc
Slurp £33.95. A-

Very yeasty and bready nose, quite toasty too, so much tertiary characters showing, very developed. Nice citrus hit, leading to a fresh and piercing acidity, perhaps a touch overly so; very vibrant, slight savoury tone towards the end. Elegant, taut and nervy; eally belies the age. Classy.

NV Champagne Gardet Brut Reserve
Cambridge Wine £27. B+

Some baked bread and toast on the nose, some yeast and oak influence too. Palate is fat and wide, the acidity is generous and not linear; Pinot influence can be felt. Nice stuff.

2010 Bodega Colome 'Amalaya' Blanco Torrontes Riesling
Noel Young £9. A-

Very lively on the nose, so much fruit, green apples and pears, then to white fruits and flowers, so generous and lifted, aromatics are truly remarkable - worth the money just for the nose. Palate has nice fresh acidity, carrying through the white fruits; some minerality on the palate, giving it a bit of weight. Delicious and good value.

2009 Sancerre 'Les Cailottes' Pascal Jolivet
Slurp £19.25. A-

Citrus and grapefruit, quite acidic on the nose, some flinty ntes also showing. Palate is dominated by a nervy, tight acidity; expressive minerality lends itself some weight to the palate; the acidity leads to a long finish. A focused wine.

2003 Chateau Musar Blanc
Slurp £16.50. B+

Nose is rather honeyed, mead-like; then a slightly nutty / Fino sherry-like note, with some citrus towards the end; actually smells rather oxidized which I dont know is intended or not. Palate is bone dry, contary to the suggestion of sweetness on the nose; grapefruit dominant fruit. Balanced.

1994 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Spatlese, Weingut Gunther Fehres
Cambridge Wine £13. A-

Lemon and lime zest immediately leaps on the nose, then a touch of plastic and kerosene, some waxy oranges too. Palate still so vibrant, lots of lively acidity; great limeyness through the entire palate. Definitely off-dry, perhaps in the 20-30g/l range, not heavy at all, zippy fresh, had aged very well. Superb.

2010 Mont Rocher Old Vine Carignan
Cambridge Wine £7. B+

Cooked, stewed fruits on the nose; juicy compote, then some sweet spice warmth, clove and cinnamon, along with a gamey, cured meat savoury notes; a complete, inviting nose. Palate feels rather hot, plenty of juicy plums and red fruit compote, leading to a drying, rather astringent finish. Needs food; a lot of wine for not very much money.

2005 Churchill Estates Douro Tinto.
Tanners £10 (oddments). B+

Sour cherry and rapsberry on the nose, some musty and damp earth, also smells rather hot and cooked. Palate has plenty of dark fruits, surprisingly still rather tannic and astringent; weird acid structure.

2007 Clos de los Siete.
Majestic £13. B+

Slightly musty, meaty / feral characters, then dark jammy fruits. Palate is full on the fruits, serious extraction, jammy and thick on the palate, to the point of being slightly cumbersome and clumsy. Drying finish, plenty of tannins left; will probably age longer.

2005 Malintoppo Simonella Santi DOC Orcia
Cambridge Wine £14. A-

Gamey, cured meats and bacon; earthy, truffled and woody notes, damp forest floor; then maybe some red fruits behind all that - truly rustic. Palate is bright, still plenty of acidity, fruit is muted; very together, well knit and classy. Not your usual fruit forward style, but eminently drinkable.

2007 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Rouge
Noel Young £18. B+

Dark fruits, along with sweet spices and earthy aromas coming through. Feels big and expressive on the palate, plenty of fruity warmth and charm; feels extracted yet not overpowering. Drinking well.

2007 Trinity Hills 'The Gimblett' Gimblett Gravels
Slurp £16.45. B+

Some minty and green notes showing, black and white peppers, the Cabernet somehow showing alot on the nose; dark fruits also. Plenty of fruit on the palate, decent depth, a bit too extracted to be drinking now.

1996 Coteaux du Layon, Cuvee des Forges, Domaine des Forges, Branchereau

This is the third bottle of this wine I've had in a year; absolutely no bottle variation, all stunning. Honeyed, acacia; candied peaches and oranges, botrytis. Palate settled, sweet but not heavy. Beautiful.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


NV The Society's Saumur Brut, Gratien & Meyer
The Wine Society £8.75. B+

Loads of citrus, some apples and pears on the nose, with floral touches, smells inviting. Palate is crisp and refreshing, fruit is just right, nice acidity and fine (Champagne-like) mousse. This is everything you'd want in an aperitif, so easy drinking; corking value.

2008 De Grendel 'Winifred' Viognier Semillon Chardonnay

Ripe white fruits on the nose, sweet peaches; sweet vanilla notes too, I'm guessing from some oak treatment, along with roasted shaved coconuts; lovely nose. Palate is white fruit dominated, textured mouthfeel, almost creamy, quite thick for a white wine; the viognier and semillon really combining well to produce nice body and width. Acidity just right. Full, very pleasing.

2002 Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese, Gutsverwaltung Niederhausen Schlossbockelheim

Light gold in colour; so much lemon zest on the nose, very bright, slight whiffs of kerosene and petrol. Palate is so lively, filled with candied lemons and orangepeel, acidity still bracing, really keeping it refreshing; off dry, perhaps 20-30g/l but really doesnt feel it because of the nervy acidity, keeping everything taut and in tension. Seriously good.
Only 8.5% abv, went down a treat with a passionfruit pavlova.

Saturday, 16 July 2011


Brief notes on two easy drinking reds, tasted 15 July 2011.

2009 Boschendal Pavilion Shiraz Viognier

Plenty of sweet fruits on the palate and nose, slight burnt and heat too unfortunately; the viognier does help lift the wine. Acidity was fresh and rounded. Easy drinking.

2004 Stella Bella Cabernet Merlot

To be honest, I'd forgotten I still had a bottle of this, bought a half case a couple of years ago as it was on offer and drinking well. This is still showing very well, mellowed out red fruits, really rather expressive and yet soft; the cabernet is taking the forefront, with some touches of greenness still showing. Juicy, very drinkable.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Downing MCR - Summer Wine

A selection of wines, with summer in mind. Tasted 12 July 2011.

NV Jacob's Creek Blanc de Blanc
Tesco Wine £10. B+

Plenty of citrus on the nose, not much by way of toast. Palate is clean, refreshing, vibrant acidity, all you want in an aperitif wine. Ticks all the right boxes, not so sure its worth a tenner, but they often run offers on these JC wines.

2008 Ridgeview Grosvenor
Noel Young £28. B+

Citrus on the nose, some hints of toast and yeast contact. Gentle mousse, lots of acidity, really quite nervy stuff; grapefruit and citrus still on palate. Well made.

2010 Anchorage Pinot Gris. Nelson, NZ.
Naked Wines £12. B+

Ripe white furits on the palate, peaches and nectarines, with tinges of green apples and pears, some floral notes too; impressively aromatic and expressive on the nose. Palate carries the white fruits through, fat acidity; very slightly off dry, giving it a nice width on the palate. Just perhaps a touch flabby for my liking.

2008 Mar de Vinas Albarino. Rias Baixas, Spain.
Naked Wines £11. B (possibly faulty)

Colour was slightly golden, perhaps the (unintended) bottle age? Nose has citrus with some musty, rather briny fishy notes (like fresh uncooked shellfish), which I am not entirely convinced is supposed to be there. Palate still lively, plenty of acidity left, minerality shines through at the end; the slightly musty notes on the nose persists, though not as prominently, on the palate. I think either some premature oxidation and/or possibly cork taint here.

2010 Stanley Estates Sauvignon Blanc
Noel Young £12. A-

Very green on the nose: asparagus, green peppers, tomato plants, freshly cut grass; some mineral / almost wet stones character also showing. Plenty of fruit on the palate, ripe but not punchy; after the nose, the palate is actually quite restrained and classy, nice minerality and texture showing. A vibrant, lively wine.
Most popular white wine of the tasting, its no wonder it bagged 4 trophies at IWC 2011.

2009 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon
Noel Young £23. A-

Developed nose, buttered toast, some malty character and sweet vanilla as well, quite savoury; the sauvignon blanc greenness can just about be fond on the nose too, behind all that barrel fermentation / oak. Palate is unsurprisingly big and textured, ripe fruits too, nice minerality - everything just felt very well knit in this wine, no one thing dominates. Classy, serious wine.

2007 Felton Road Chardonnay. Central Otago, NZ.
Noel Young £20. B+

Again, very burgundian on the nose - brioche and toast, creamy too, rather savoury. Palate is of white fruits, mingled in fresh acidity; plenty to carry the treatment. Classy wine, decent length.

2010 Magpie Estate 'The Mixed Thing'. Barossa.
Noel Young £12.50. B+

Plenty of ripe fruits on the nose, blackcurrants, with dark berries, touch of winegums and pastilles too; some alcoholic notes at the end. Palate is vibrant, fresh and rounded, actually rather light, which is not obvious from the depth of colour. If anything its slightly too light for my liking, rather thin; plenty of ripe fruits though, and very drinkable.

2009 Cline Zinfandel.

red stone furits on the nose, plums and prunes, some violets, and a touch of licorice, with a smoky / tar note too. Palate is jammy, red cherries and dark currants, good vibrant acidity; fruit filled but not heavy, low to moderate tannins, good easy drinking stuff.

2009 Ernie Els Wines 'The Big Easy'
Noel Young £15.50. B+

On the nose its quite big and punchy, lots of dark fruits, again a slight note of burnt tar and also of pines; some sweet oak also. Palate is dripping with juicy fruits, dark berries and the like, well extracted and integrating the oak; some sweet spices too. Tannins show a little bit towards the end, but nothing to stop it from being enjoyed now.

2006 de Bortoli 'Melba Lucia'. Yarra Valley.

Jammy, full on dark fruits, cassis on the nose; minty notes are there too, with a touch of cedar and sweet spice; very expressive and lively. Palate showing a fresh, almost crunchy acidity; plenty of red fruits and currants, sour cherries and raspberries (stewed, like compote, not fresh), really not much tannins left. A rather drying finish, I think this is just slightly past its peak.

2006 Magpie Estate 'The Election' Shiraz.
Noel Young £30. B+(+)

Classic varietal nose: blackcurrants, dark fruits, with touches of mint and eucalyptus, its like ribena pastilles and wine gums; some sweet vanilla form the oak also shows. Palate is full on the fruits, blackberries and dark cherries, very juicy and yet creamy at the same time; well extracted stuff, theres a lot going on in the palate, serious wine. Grainy tannins still linger at the back; will keep easily another 5-10years. Tried this wine upon opening and after 3 hours decanting; no doubt the decanting really allowed the wine to express itself better, just that bit more voluptuous. Far and away the favourite wine of the night.

2001 Ch de Madere, AOC Cerons.
Cambridge Wine £6 (375ml). B+

Recently tasted here. I think its at its peak, dont hold on to it much longer.

Sunday, 10 July 2011


Sunday, 10 July 2011. A small selection of wines tasted at Cambridge Wine Merchants, Kings Parade. Prices are retail by the bottle.

2010 Mont Rocher Old Vine Viognier
£7.50. A-

Incredibly aromatic, really leaps out of the glass at you; bags of sweet apricots, nectarines just all round white fruits; quite floral too, blossoms; really attractive nose. Palate is soft and rounded, could do with a touch more acid, but thats Viognier for you; white fruits still there. Slight pith and bitterness at the end to remind you its Viognier. Restrained, which is uncharacteristic of region, nice stuff - I would buy it just for its lively aromatics.

2009 Mount Brown Riesling, Waipara Valley
£9.99. B+

Classic limes and citrus on the nose, hint of kerosene perhaps even; straightforward. Palate is rounded, filled with citrus; touch of residual sugar, making it feel slightly off dry, but really covered by the refreshing acidity, minerally on the finish. Well made.

2009 Domaine de Cebene 'Le Bancels' Faugeres
£15.99. B+(+)

Plenty going on in the nose: dark fruits, brambles and jammy at first; develops into a gamey and savoury note, like cured meats, even some leather; also herby / woody too. Palate is full of dark fruits with good extraction, really still some grip to this, acidity there too. Evident complexity, all components very together, I think this will develop nicely with age.

2006 Domaine du Grand Cres 'La Cadela', Corbieres
£9.99. A- (interesting)

Bright colour, not your usual deep ruby; this looks more like an extracted Pinot Noir. Attractive red fruit on the nose, red cherries and raspberries; quite floral, violets; theres some herby notes too; vibrant. Palate shows plenty of ripe red fruits; rounded and soft, not over extracted, no alcoholic burn either. Very unusual style, elegant and nimble; you could almost drink this slightly chilled for barbecues.

Sunday, 3 July 2011


NV Freixenet Brut Cordon Negro
Tesco Wine £8.76 / Sainsburys £9.25. B+

Fresh citrus, lemon on the nose, lively, touch of toast and buttery notes. Palate its cleansing, vibrant acidity, mousse gentle, plenty of citrus fruit. Sustained acidity, had decent weight, not like your typical cheap cava.

IWC Taste of Gold - Sparkling & Rose

IWC Taste of Gold event, Lord's Cricket Ground Nursery Pavillion, 29 June 2011.

All wines shown in this event were gold medal and/or trophy winners from the 2011 International Wine Challenge. I tasted through 57 wines on the day and understandably, the quality of the wine on show were seriously high. Below are short notes on sparkling and rose wines which were particularly notable.

Wines are in no particular order; prices are guide retail price given by the suppliers.

2005 Champagne Penet-Chardonnet Millesime Extra-Brut

No dosage, not only in this wine but across their entire range.
Nose is citrus, with tinge of toast. Palate is bracing with acidity, seriously fresh and zippy, nervy acid held in tension, great precision and focus. Lean, linear yet structured. Not for the faint hearted, yet joyful to drink nonetheless.

NV Champagne Ayala Brut Nature

Another zero dosage wine.
Citrus zest on the nose. Palate is fresh and zippy, almost piercing with the bracing yet persistent acidity, slowly expanding to show the depth of fruit behind it. Theres is still some texture and development to this, not completely linear.

2000 Charles Heidsieck Millesime Brut
Vintage Champagne Trophy

Classic Champagne nose - toast, yeasty and brioche all there, even a slight nuttiness. Palate is full, fat and wide acidity swishes around, good presence. Everything is together, no one element dominates, integrated and showing very nicely. A serious Champagne, very classy, drinking beautifully now.

NV Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne Brut (pictured right)
Tesco Wine. £18.99

Great Value Champagne under £22

Nose has the characteristic biscuit and toast; gentle mousse on the palate, restrained fruit. A mature style, carried well through the finish. Good value.

2010 Chalk Ridge Rose, Denbies Wine Estate.

Grape variety is Rondo.
Vivid pink in colour. Plenty of red fruit on the nose, raspberry and strawberry dominates, which carries to the palate. Theres a small amount of sugar left in there, gives it nice body and fatness to it. Not the most complex, but its juicy and lush, very drinkable.

NV Chapel Down Vintage Reserve Rose Brut

Made entirely of Pinot Noir; 4% still red PN mixed back in to achieve colour.
Mostly red fruit on the nose, slight toast. Great freshness and mousse, light and nimble, restrained fruit. Very drinkable, good example.