Thursday, 26 January 2012

CUWS L12 - Castillo Perelada

Wednesday, 25 January 2012.

A selection of wines from the Castillo Perelada stable, from the Cava (first two wines), Emporda (next four wines) and Priorat (last two wines) DOs. Presented to Cambridge University Wine Society by Castillo Perelada's export manager, Mr Patrice Lesclaux; UK importer is Barwell & Jones, which as far as I understand is somehow related to Coe Vintners.

The Cavas were impressive and very drinkable; the reds from Emporda all had a characteristic herbiness on the nose, like that of wild thyme / rosemary, and all showed a balancing acidity and thus nice freshness, none of them felt excessively heavy. The last two reds from Priorat were more rustic and mature in style, trading opulence and forward fruit for more secondary characteristics. Somewhat unfortunate that all the reds were slightly high in alcohol, but I suppose they are al meant to be enjoyed with food.

Cava Brut Reserva

Entry level Cava, annual production of 2m bottles. Native grape varieties, dosage at 8g/l.

Fresh, citrus dominates with hints of apples; some brioche / baked bread notes, secondary notes showing; some toast too. Elegant, gentle mousse; nice width to the body, fat fruit; gentle yet persistent acidity, soft; very drinkable probably because it has some dosage, makes it feel more rounded. Feels classy, really well put together; not just your average quaffer; excellent as aperitif. Impressive effort.

2007 Cava Gran Clausto Brut Nature

60% Pinot Noir / 40% Chardonnay, 2 yrs lees contact, no dosage; annual production 100,000 bottles. Won 'Best Cava' at New Wave Spanish Wine Awards 2011.

More biscuity and yeast on the nose, developed, toast and butter; hidden notes of citrus and apple again. Acidity more noticeable, bracing and rather austere; tight knit, nervy acidity. Absolutely bone dry, lingering acidity really quite long, lip smacking, fresh. Serious stuff, high quality.

2009 3 Fincas

A Crianza level red, their most widely available wine with an annual production of 1m bottles; 12 mth new oak (70 American / 30 French); 14% abv.

Green and smoked herbs, really something badly burnt and charred, smoldering bbq coal; smoky, aniseed, woody; very weird and a touch alcoholic; theres some red berries behind all that but I really has problems gettign past the smoky / burnt notes. On the palate its fresh, lots of fruit, rounded red berries; fruit forward, not fully extracted; fleshy and soft, tannins hardly noticeable. Balanced mouthfeel, all components are together but feels light to my liking, could even chill this...

2006 5 Fincas

A Reserva level red, Merlot / Garnacha Negro / Cabernet Sauvignon / Syrah blend; 18mth new oak (50/50 American / French); 14%abv.

More overt fruit in the nose, jammy dark fruit, compote and cassis; sweet oak and vanilla too, wine gum and licorice, maybe even leathery; after an hour in the glass, develops into a slight minty note. Presence in the palate, more extracted fruit, slightly fuller feel, sweet spice on the palate; still so fresh, nice acidity, doesn't feel heavy. Some fine grained tannins towards the finish. Showing well now, but will keep a couple of years; drink now - 2015.

2007 Finca La Garriga

Single estate, sandy soils, annual production 10,000 bottles; 100% old vine Carinena; 16mth new American oak; 15% abv; Gold medal DWWA 2010.

Sweet red berry and currants, some cassis and cooked notes,;wine gum, also lots of dried wild herbs and woody notes (rosemary, thyme etc), appropriately named I guess. Lots of fruit, intensity and concentration; sweet spices, red berries, really full; lots of acidity too. Very fresh, delicious lingering finish; smooth, almost imperceptible tannins; the exceedingly high alcohol is well hidden. Great composure for a Carinena / Carignan; now - 2015+.

2006 Finca Malaveina

Translates as 'bad female neighbour'; red clay soils; Merlot / Cab Sauv blend; 14.5% abv.

Sweet ripe blackberry, cassis abound, wine gum and pastilles; massive fruit, hints of woody aniseed and herbs again, leafy also; voluptuous nose, screams Cabernet Sauvignon. Full, extracted dark berries; textured, feels thick; lots of sweet jammy fruit, tannins are linear but grippy, decent acidity. Muscular and rather punchy, a lot more so than the La Garriga, despite being lower in alcohol; for food and aging, now to 2020+.

2005 Cims de Porrera, Priorat DO.

Annual production 9000 bottles; 100% old vine Carinena, some exceeding 100 year old; 18mth new French oak; 14.5% abv.

Red fruit, ferral / animal notes; some tanned leather and herby tones; sweet but soft spices, sweet licorice, and also oak. Rather meaty, plenty of fruit but it isn't forward, generous and wide, still fresh acidity; nice texture, lots of secondary characteristic, a more mature / rustic style of wine both in the nose and palate. Linear and grippy tannins, with classy finish; will age, drink now - 2017+.

2006 Solanes, Priorat DO.

Annual production 30,000 bottles; local varietals mostly Carinena / Garnacha, old vines 70-100+ years old; 14mth new oak.

Dark fruit, somewhat closed though; sweet and ripe berries, sweet spice; touch of herb and mint. Lots of fruit which is ripe but isn't immediately fruit driven, a more rustic style of wine, some ferral and animal characteristics to this too, woody notes at the finish. Chunky tannins, low acidity, drink now - 2015.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Formal Hall

Sunday, 22 January 2012.
Three wines with dinner.

2007 Chene Bleu Rose

Admittedly this probably should have been enjoyed a couple of years ago when released; has been somewhat neglected in the cellar. Surprisingly still lively; some of the fruit has gone but the acidity still around. Went very well with the salmon starter.

1996 Henschke 'Cyril Henschke' Cabernet Sauvignon

Blackberry and cassis on the nose, along with touches of capsicum and woodiness, also some developed fresh leather nose (like a shoe shop, one of my fellow diners commented). Palate is layered; plenty of dark fruits, this was well extracted; nice concentration; good dose of balancing acidity, so despite being 14%, this feels entirely balanced. Showing well now, this would continue to develop in time; drink now - 2020.

1997 Croft Quinta da Roeda Vintage Port
Noel Young £22.50 | A-(+)

An exceptional year for vintage port and it shows even in humbler wines. Classical nose, well extracted fruit showing; textured but not gloopy; this has done some bottle aging yet feels so fresh and still showing so much primary fruit characters (black berries and sweet prunes etc), along with dark chocolate and sweet spices; decent linger on the finish, rounded tannins. Good value for something that would easily last another decade; drink now - 2025+.


January 2012.

1999 Kracher Blend 1, Blaufrankisch Zweigelt.

Noel Young | B

Generic red fruits on the nose, somewhat closed. Nice burst of fruit initially, sour cherry, then quickly disappears to a green, woody and somewhat sappy mid palate; the finish is drying and really saps the mouth. Its 14% alcohol and at this stage in its life, isn't carrying it well. unfortunately past its best.

1999 Cono Sur '20 Barrels' Cabernet Sauvignon. Rapel Valley, Chile.

Blackberry and cassis on the nose. Lots of fruit on the palate, fully extracted blackberries; some developed secondary characters too; green, leafy, even mushrooms; then also woody and also touches of coal dust. Low acidity; grips and slightly drying on the finish, enticing you to more. Very drinkable actually, interesting and showing well.

2002 Ch Rousseau de Sipian
Cambridge Wine £11.99 | B+

Developed nose of sweet cedar and leather showing, along with red fruits. Soft attack on the palate; juicy and rounded red fruits, fat acidity. It has mellowed with time; I remember tasting this a couple of years back and thought it was probably fading away but its still holding on just fine; showing nicely now. Incredibly well priced for a mature Bordeaux.

2011 Brewery Hill Jacko's Leap Savagnin
Naked Wines £8.99 | B+

White peach, some white flowers, plenty of sherbet and touch of spritz. Fresh, plump white fruits; forward and showing nice width on the palate; fat and soft acidity throughout. May not be terribly exciting, but this is very pleasant and straightforwardly nice to drink.

2010 Anchorage Pinot Noir.
Naked Wines | B+

Sweet spices, some vanilla; light touch earth and mushrooms; plenty of red fruits and cherries. Fresh acid, fat; crunchy red berries but slight woodiness shows at the end (somewhat out of place). A fruit forward Pinot Noir, made in a lighter, easy going style; somewhat lacks the gloss.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Tasted January 2012.

2009 Bourgogne Chardonnay, Thomas Morey.
Roberson Wine £16.95 | A- 

Creamy nose, oak integrated, sweet vanilla; buttery, savoury toast too; then citrus shows as well. Nice persistent and focused acidity; creamy, textured, waves of flavour really, mineral there too; persistent mid palate; long, lingering finish. This is classy stuff, awfully good (though not cheap) for a basic Bourgogne Blanc, I certainly have tasted worse premier crus than this ...

2008 Vinalba Gran Reserva Malbec Lujan de Cuyo
Majestic Wine | A-(+)

Dark fruit, really extracted, sweet vanilla too; dark berry compote, smells slightly alcoholic; touch floral / violet too. Extracted fruit, full bodied; depth and texture, full on dark fruits but still balanced by some acidity. Quite long and persistent with a chunky mid palate; a classy, yet no holds barred fruit bomb. Drink now - 2015+.

2007 Gillmore Cabernet Franc
Naked Wines £16.99 | A-(+)

Crushed dark fruit, dark cherry, bags of sweet cassis; something green and vegetal as well, there's oak there too; after being opened a while, its showing floral blueberry touches. Extracted dark berries, full blown; depth and great fruit concentration, feels really big and muscular; textured, almost grainy mouthfeel and tannins, this will age with ease. Long finish, perhaps aided by the 14.8% alcohol. Chunky now, this should resolve given time; drink now -2017+.

Saturday, 14 January 2012


1997 Vigna del Sorbo, Chianti Classico, Fontodi.

Sour cherry nose, also sweet spices; rusty and earthy notes quite prominent earlier on; floral elements also showing, violets; lifted nose; later develops to sweet cedar and dark berries / cassis. Lots of fruit depth and extraction, dark currants and berries, morello cherries; fresh acidity still, lively and feels youthful; textured, layered fruit structure; plenty in the mid palate, very long finish, persistence. Slightly drying, with a grainy grip at the end; this wine needed several hours to open up; truly a superlative Chianti with a long life ahead of it, drink now - 2022+.

2000 Saumur Champigny, Vielles Vignes, Domaine Langlois Chateau

Crushed berries on the nose, really quite floral; followed by something somewhat hot and stewed. Palate has so much fresh acidity, lightly crushed dark cherries and berries; not fully extracted; lighter style, really feels rather nimble and light of foot. Touch of savouriness at the end too.

2011 Tilia Estate, Vipavska Dolina, Pinot Gris. Slovenia.
Naked Wines £12.99 | A-

Slightly oily on the nose; over ripe peaches, lots of ripe white fruits, moving to melons and such; floral too, acacia, quite floral; really lovely, rich nose. Nice acidity, fresh fruit showing; ripe white fruits again, filling but without being flabby; a touch off dry probably because the fruit was so ripe; acidity balance. \does have some length, lemony finish; a well constructed, highly enjoyable wine.

2010 Arco de Esporao Tinto. Alentejo, Portugal.
Cambridge Wine £9.50 | B+

Red fruit and currants; feels rather hot, wood smoke; cooked red fruit, and slightly smoked vegetal touches too; in all rather weird. Lots of fruit on the palate; slightly stewed, light cherry; freshness and lightness to the fruit, its not overly extracted; vegetal notes still persists on palate; has a weird slightly woody finish too it. An interesting, makes you ponder a while.

1970 Quinta do Noval
Cambridge Wine £68 | A

Holding colour quite well, browning touches only. Sweet, almost ester like nose; such floral nose, rose water; lifted, really fragrant. Sweet and candied red fruits in its core; still lively, plenty of fresh and lively acidity, really dances on palate, still so much life to this. Still a lot of fruit in the mid palate, juicy even; generous, lingering finish; excellent balance overall. Drink now - 2020+.

Friday, 6 January 2012


1995 Querciabella Chianti Classico

Red cherries and red berries, summery, some floral tinge; smells red, if thats even possible; raspberry liquer, with light woody / rustic touches. Fresh acidity which was initially harsh and sappy, later softened out; at its core red fruits, sour red cherry; decent mid palate weight, fruit still very much there; slightly drying finish. Great food wine.

1998 Vina Arana Reserva, La Rioja Alta
Tanners (oddments) | A-

Sweet nose: ripe red fruits and integrated sweet oak; lots of secondary characters coming through - tanned leather, cedar and mahogany; tobacco and sweet spices (cloves, star anise); also cured meats, and some smoke. Fresh red fruit abound on the palate; ripe red cherries and sweet currants; spices, leathery and woody notes carry through on the palate; sustained mid palate, lingering finish; velvety smooth, loads of grace and elegance. Really needed several hours to fully unfurl itself; drinking absolutely beautifully now - 2018+.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


1999 Riesling Auslese, Burger Hahnenschrittchen, Weingut Werner Muller
Cambridge Wine £16.99 | B+(+)

Pale yellow with slight green tinges. Sweet lime, lime cordial, with lots of lime zest and spritz; then floral nose, elderflowers. Palate is off dry, bordering on medium sweet; I would guess 30 g/l residual sugar. Sweet lemons on the palate; sustained fruit in the mid palate, lots of acid but balanced by the sugar; long, lemony finish. Fresh and lively, its drinking nicely now, but will reward further cellaring; drink now - 2020+..

2000 Chateau Canon, Canon Fronsac
Tanners (oddments) | B+

Warming red fruits, compote, some cassis; also green, almost leafy touches; sweet spices, maybe licorice.  Palate its vibrant; lots of red fruit, blackberries, plummy and juicy; good fresh acidity through out, some grip towards the end. Fresh, rounded and plummy; drink now - 2015+.

2008 Amani Pendana Shiraz. South Africa.
Naked Wines £15.99 | A-

Dark berries, extracted; quite floral: minty, eucalyptus; then pastilles, ribena and wine gums; bit of smoke as well, quite hot. Its a big wine; fully extracted; dark berries compote, blackcurrant essence; still theres good acidity, keeping it fresh and not overbearing. Ripe, rounded tannins; not for aging. A big, well made fruit bomb.

2003 Chateau de Varrains, Saumur Champigny, Domaine Langlois Chateau

Initially rather awkward; but slowly opened up to show nose of crushed blueberries, its almost floral, with violets and damsons. Theres still good fruit on the palate; of sweet blue and black berries; rounded, no harsh edges; fresh acidity. Soft tannins, to drink now - 2014+. Becomes slightly sweeter and more rounded after being opened for a day.

2007 Amancaya Gran Reserva Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon. Argentina. 
Bibendum | A-

A joint venture between Nicolas Catena and Domaine Barons de Rothschild.
Dark fruits, jammy and compote, lots of cassis and some sweet woodiness too (oak and cedar); gentle spices. Palate is big; full bodied; extracted but not overdone; dripping with sweet blackcurrants / black cherries and dark berries jam; ripe fruit very much evident; probably saw some oak and carries it well; notes of dusted cocoa at the end. Rounded and ripe tannins, gentle acidity; sustained fruit too, good concentration; drink now - 2015+.