Monday, 30 April 2012

Formal Hall

Sunday, 29 April 2012.

2008 Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. Waipara, New Zealand. 

Forward and fruity nose, ripe gooseberry, sweet guava, passionfruit, sweet limes and a touch of green leafiness too - aromatic, smells sweet and ripe, showing tropical notes. Palate is lush, ripeness comes through; generous fruits; plump tropical fruits; theres decent texture and weight to this, not your average NZ Sauv Blanc freshness. Expressive, very well balanced; joy to drink.

2005 Pouilly Fuisse 'Les Ronchevats' Domaine Saumaize-Michelin
faulty - corked

2006 Saint Veran 'Champ Rond' Vignoble Parisse

Classic nose - buttery, creamy and sweet vanilla showing, rounded and quite thick on the nose. Fruit is very ripe on the palate, carries the oaking very well, feels generous; acdidty, fruit and oak all integrated, everything in balance.

2003 Volg Weinkellereien Pinot Noir Nach 7 Likorwein, Switzerland
B+ a real novelty

A fortified Madeiraised Pinot Noir from Switzerland, found it at this years' Specialist Importers Trade Tastings (SITT) in London being offered by For the Love of Wine.
A definite madeirised nose, with dried red currants and cranberries, along with oxidative notes, then comes tawny port like aromas of dried figs and nuts, its just all rather crazy. Palate is probably closest to a medium dry Madeira, with distinct drying and slightly tart notes along with the dried currants. Texture and weight is good, has a decent length too. Can be used as a desert wine - I served it alongside a slightly tart apple and blackberry crumble and it worked a treat.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Matthew Jukes Australian Wine Roadshow 2011 @ Noel Young Wines

Tuesday, 17 April 2012.

A tasting of a selection of wines from Matthew Jukes Top 100 Australian Wines for 2011, organised by Noel Young Wines at Anstey Hall, Trumpington, Cambridge. There were 45 wine on tasting (tried all of them), the full list of which can be found here. Below are brief notes on a few wines that particularly took my attention.

Having never really found a a good Australian Viognier (I generally find them a bit too sweet and flabby), I found two at this tasting. The 2010 Yalumba Y Series Viognier - ripe, sweet white stone fruits on the nose, peachy and floral, very attractive; fruit forward and quite a filling palate, big but not flabby, ripe peaches being the dominant note; well balanced and good value at under £10. The 2010 Fox Gordon 'Abby' Viognier had a similar nose of sweet peaches but it wasnt as overtly so, more subdued; palate was more interesting, royal gala apples, lemony acidity, lots of fruit but all very balanced and that bit more lively; great stuff.

The Hunter Valley Semillon all shone, despite the contrasting styles (vin de garde vs drink youngest available). Whilst freshness is nice, I tended to prefer the complexity and secondary notes showing on the bottle aged varieties, which are: The 2005 McWilliam's Mount Pleasant 'Elizabeth' Semillon showing a nutty (sesame seeds) savoury note with candlewax which carries through to the nicely weighted mid palate, nice concentration and length, such poise. The 2003 Tyrrell's Winemakers Selection Vat 1 Semillon which, despite having no oak treatment, has begun to develop a waxy and nutty nose to; very pure and focused on the palate, with concentration and staying power, I'd be curious to see what this will be like in 10 years' time.

The Chardonnays were all very pretty as well, I could have easily picked all of them but settled on four from different regions but similarly priced at approx. retail price of £25. The 2010 Ocean Eight 'Verve' Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula - this was apparently picked very early to retain the freshness and acidity (hence the name), which resulted in a low alcohol. Good oak treatment leaves a savoury and nutty note, the acidity is intense but very generous (not aggressive), impressive length too; very well put together. The 2008 Leeuwin Estate 'Prelude' Chardonnay, Margaret River - OK its not the Art Series, but its bigger (more famous) brother is twice the price but I'm not convinced its twice the wine. Sweet oak here, more vanilla and cream; plenty of fruit intensity, this is large and filling, touch of savoury note towards the finish; big, perhaps slightly flashy, but still balanced. The 2008 Giant Steps Tarraford Chardonnay, Yarra Valley perhaps showed the most pronounced nose - nutty oak, but with lashings of butter and cream, smells beautifully sweet; good fruit concentration supported the overt oak treatment, surprisingly integrated and well knit.  The 2009 Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills showed a savoury and nutty nose but isnt as brash / overt as the others, this to me was a study of balance and elegance - the fruit, acidity and oak all supporting and seamlessly interwoven with each other.

The reds were filled with old favourites with a few notable interlopers. The 2009 Bremerton 'Tamblyn' Langhorne Creek was a superb blend; good fruit concentration with the constituent components doing different things on the palate, tasting this wine definitely wasnt boring or one dimensional, and yet it still feels integrated & together; no doubt this could age 5-10 years. The 2006 Jim Barry 'PB' Shiraz / Cabernet, Clare Valley had a fragrant and lifted nose, the Shiraz really singing with its aromatics; fruit is concentrated but not heavy, plenty of fresh acidity to liven things up; again, would develop in the medium term 5-10years.

The single varietal Shiraz were a joy to taste. The 2009 Torbreck Cuvee Juveniles, Barossa showed plenty of ripe red cherries with cherry liquer on the nose, also sweet oak; the fruit wasnt fully extracted, nice freshness & lightness to this; very approachable yet still serious. The 2009 Glaetzer 'Bishop' Shiraz, Barossa showed textbook nose of blackcurrant jam, dark plums, a touch of licorice and sweet spice, very complete and appealing nose; good dark fruit concentration, a lick of oak and acidity, all very balanced. The 2006 Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz, Barossa had a slightly more punchy and forward nose, blackcurrant compote and dark cherry, smells very sweet; lots of brambly balckberry fruit on the palate, decent acidity, noticeable tannic grip; a serious wine for aging another 5-15 years. The three wines above, whilst worthy and very good indeed were understandably blown out of the water by the 2006 Jim Barry 'The Armagh' Shiraz, Clare Valley which showed such wonderfully singing aromatics of sweet cassis, wine gums, hints of mint, dark fruit compote, all leaping out of the glass to greet you; incredible concentration and weight on the palate, yields waves of flavour; big, structured yet balanced and elegant; a very serious wine with enough oomph for the long haul 2015-2030+

Friday, 13 April 2012

Downing MCR Tasting

Wednesday, 11 April 2012.

An eclectic range of wines put together for a tasting for Downing College MCR. Retails prices are indicated, where available and known.

2010 Hidden Rock Colombard Chardonnay. South Australia.
Cambridge Wine Merchants £5.99 | B+

White fruits, very forward on the nose; tropical, quite sweet; citrus and melons too. On the palate its bursting with citrus fruit, ripe grapefruits; fresh and clean, a good quaffing wine.

2010 The Society's Exhibition New Zealand Chardonnay. Auckland, New Zealand.
The Wine Society £12.50 | B+

Oak dominates on the nose, more towards the vanilla sweet, creamy and buttery kind, but with slight hints of toasted nuttiness too. Plenty of fruit on the palate; its large and textured; the citrus and tropical fruit is ripe and supports the oak treatment; theres a hint of savoury notes too. Relatively low in acid, makes it feels quite heavy, but in all very tasty and well put together.

2009 Domaine Escaravailles Rasteau Blanc 'La Galopine'. Southern Rhone, France.
Cambridge Wine Merchants £19.99 | B+

Lots of sweet notes on the nose; white stone fruits, peaches and nectarines (even the tinned variety) along with honey and floral touches; elderflower and lime cordial springs to mind; attractive and lifted on the nose. The sweet stone fruit caries onto the palate, its fat, ripe and quite heavy; very filling and textured on the palate, feels substantial; theres a touch of oily / waxiness too; holds no punches at 14.5%, but doesnt feel too hot. Fairly low acidity, this needs food.

2010 McHenry Hohnen Burnside Vineyard ‘Wine Society Selection’ Sauvignon Blanc. Margaret River, Western Australia.
The Wine Society £8.95 | A-

Hints of green notes - bell peppers, paprika and asparagus, with a wet stone note too. On the palate theres ripe grapefruit; fruit is really ripe and sweet, slight hints of ripe gooseberries with some minerality too; feels perhaps a touch off dry (a few g/l of residual sugar maybe?). More restrained than NZ Sauv Blanc whilst still showing opulent and varietal character; balanced, very drinkable.

2009 Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett, Donnhoff. Nahe, Germany.
The Wine Society £14.95 | B+

Somewhat closed on the nose; maybe sweet limes and cordial, with overlying citrus fruit. On the palate its again citrus dominated; definitely off dry, maybe 10-15g/l; feels sweet but balanced. Light and dainty; acidity keeps things moving.

2006 Latria Garnatxa Carinyena. Montsant, Spain.
The Wine Society £7.50 | A- (value)

Initially quite earthy and smoky, with ferral / gamey and sweaty leather on the nose; but this gradually moves on to reveal some dark plums in the mix. Fresh acidity, the fruit is soft and rounded; sour cherry and red plums but somehow feels wild / hedgerow like. Its plush and bright yet has a touch of sandy grip at the end; very well put together, tremendous value to boot. This was incredibly well received by the wine trade press tastings in March 2012, and I can see why.

Rosso di Palazzone. Tuscany, Italy.
Cambridge Wine Merchants £11.99 | B+

Quite pale but belies the power hidden within; lots of floral and lifted nose, sweet cherries and earthy notes, rosehip and turkish delight, with sweet incense thrown in; very fragrant. Palate is filled with ripe red cherries with bittersweet chocolate and mocha touches; interesting palate with many things going on, including a touch of savouriness too; decent finish, doesnt just disappear; fresh acidity. In all, bright yet still long and complex; great fun.

2007 Weinert Carrascal. Argentina.
The Wine Society £7.50 | B+

Dark fruits, blackberry compote, black plums; smells quite dark if you will, also some aromatics and sweet vanilla and fragrant woods thrown in. Bags of sweet black fruit on the palate; blackberries again; not fully extracted, doesnt feel heavy or cumbersome; feels fresh and silky no the palate; touch of tannins at the end. Not terribly complex but well put together.  

2000 Henschke 'Abbotts Prayer' Merlot Cabernet. Lenswood, Adelaide Hills.

Mulberry on the nose, along with a slight green leafy tinge; wine gums and slightly confected nose, smells quite sweet and cordial like; sweet red paprika perhaps. Soft and lush on the palate, clearly quite settled; fresh acidity and fills the mouth; core of sweet red cherries and strawberries, rather attractive.

2003 Fox Creek Short Row Shiraz. McLaren Vale, South Australia.

Port like and alcoholic on the nose; leaps off the glass; cordial and blackcurrant jam, smells quite hot, ribena, lots of high notes. Good fruit hit on the palate, clearly this didnt fade with age but the fruit disappears quickly on the palate; vibrant black cherry and currants but no lasting power; fresh fruity acidity. Correct but one dimensional.

2003 Clarendon Hills ‘Moritz’ Syrah. Clarendon, South Australia.

Very opague still; nose feels dense and thick, dark fruits brooding, blackcurrants but with a good dose of crushed black peppers, hints of wild herbs / garrigue. Lots of fruit showing on the palate; dark cherries and plums with lots of spiciness; fresh acidity, doesnt feel heavy despite its concentrated flavours; generous and lengthy on the palate. Nice texture, really does have some presence and class; ripe and sweet tannins towards the end, this still has life ahead of it; drink now - 2020+

2005 Chateau Reynon Rouge, Cotes de Bordeaux.

Dark fruit coulis; jammy on the nose, still overtly fruity, sweet oak and vanilla still showing too, smells quite hot and lively actually. Nice red fruit on the core; sweet red cherries; quite rusty / bloody on the palate, with hints of spice. Settled fruit, pleasant but not very complex. All components are together.

1971 Chateau La Tour St Bonnet. Cru Bourgeois Medoc, France.

A novelty, tawny orange in colour with hints of pink. Bells peppers, paprika and leafy notes on the nose, along with an earthy, musty and rustic notes. On the palate the fruit has mostly faded, leaving a warmth and acidity; feels it tasting almost of citrus and preserved limes, quite hard to describe.