Sunday, 15 July 2012

Downing MCR - Taste of Europe

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A selection of European wines shown at a tasting for Downing College MCR. Retail price and stockists are indicated where known.

2009 Ridgeview Estate Bloomsbury. England. 
Waitrose £22 | B+ 

Citrus and some green apples on the nose, with slight signs of yeasty development. On the palate, its taut and nervy, plenty of acidity going on without being uncomfortable. Tending towards primary flavours as opposed to secondary / more bready characters. Clean and lively, well made stuff, does open up in the glass too - I enjoyed this more after the mousse has died down a bit. 

2004 Nyetimber Classic Cuvee. England
Cambridge Wine £29.99 | A-

Secondary characters to the fore, bready and biscuity, with lees and yeastiness all coming through; touch of the old sock and oxidation about it too; behind all this lingers some citrus fruits. Feels ripe and generous on the palate, time has been kind to this wine, the acidity has fleshed out and developed nicely. Very together, its drinking nicely at the moment though I wouldn't chance it for much longer (specially if its on the shelves and not in a proper cellar). 

NV Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier. France.
Cambridge Wine £38.99 | A- 

Always the reliable performer; this has all the flavours in harmony. A more detailed tasting note can be found here, though I must say the bottle then tasted somewhat fresher than the one now. Still very impressive and the favourite of all the bubblies tonight (by some distance too).

2011 Monte Alina Verdejo Viura. Rueda, Spain.
Cambridge Wine £9.49 | B+ 

Green apples and pears on the nose, quite aromatic & high toned, this is what I imagine walking through an apple orchard would smell like; some spritz and floral nose too. On the palate its clean and refreshing, white stone fruits, low in acidity; just runs through nicely, with some minerality on the mid palate. Thoroughly enjoyable though perhaps rather ordinary.

2010 Belisario Verdicchio di Matelica ‘Terra di Valbona’. Italy
Cambridge Wine £8.99 | B+ 

Distinctly sweeter nose: ripe peaches and nectarines, with acacia and floral elements too, very pretty and even hinting at sweetness in the wine. Bone dry on the palate, with clean citrus fruit; fleshy mid palate, good acidity and width; the palate maybe pretty ordinary but I'd buy another bottle if only for the nose. 

2006 Saint Veran ‘La Roche’ Chateau de Beauregard. France.
The Wine Society (en primeur) | B+ 

Sweet oak and vanilla, creamy and buttery notes also showing; ripe and opulent on the nose without being showy. Palate is rounded and generous, soft yielding acidity; sweet ripe fruit hanging on; this just melts in your mouth; integrated flavours, everything you could ask for in a mature entry level Burgundy. Just past its peak, still drinking wonderfully though.

2005 Riesling Kabinett ‘Armand’ Reichsrat von Buhl. Pfalz, Germany
Cambridge Wine £9.99 | A-

Ripe lemons and orange zest, touch of petrol too, theres a slightly sweet and citrusy confected nose, like orange  squash but in an attractive way. Off dry, I'm guessing around the 15g/l mark, but theres so much acidity (almost wincing) that its balanced out; juicy lemony and generous mid palate, coats the mouth. The finish could be longer but thats nitpicking; very high quality, silly price    

2010 Gyotaku Gentil, Domaine Mittnacht Freres. France.
Cambridge Wine £12.99 | A-

Been a fan of this blend since they brought it out. Lemon with tropical fruit, passionfruit and apples on the nose; again off dry in the region of 10g/l residual sugar but without the searing acidity of the Riesling; makes this feel much rounder and softer, think white flesh nectarines. Made to go with sashimi and sushi, and i think they've nailed it (again); lovely style, very drinkable and I think its organic too. 

 2005 Baga Encontro. Portugal.
Noel Young | B+

Got this from Noel Young in one of his bin-end sales some time ago. Warming nose, like mulled wine; sweet spices and jammy compote, blackberry jam. On the palate, its rounded with red cherry fruit; ripe and jammy, perhaps even on the hot side; good dose of acidity still, doesnt feel heavy. Its probably mellowed out, hardly any tannic grip; drinking nicely now. 

1996 Ch√Ęteau Smith Haut Lafitte, Grand Cru Classe de Graves. France.

Old school nose - slightly burnt green capsicum, leafy and stalky, with hints of smoke and licorice; then an earthy, truffled undergrowth nose. Velvety mouthfeel; fruit is rounded and ripe (blueberry and red berries) but isnt to the fore, theres an earthy note too; acidity higher than I expected; feels fresh and resolved, integrated feel to it all. Some fine grained tannins towards the finish, but you have to look hard for it, I think its just entering its optimum drinking window and should last a while there; drink now - 2020+.

2009 Valpolicella-Valpantena Ripasso, Secco-Bertani. Italy.

Sweet prune juice on the nose, with a heady aromatic scent, like port / cherry liquer, smells big and sweet. Palate shows black plums and balckberry, with some cherries too; good acididty running through it, but the fruit feels a bit hollow; theres bold flavours but not the fruit to back it up, maybe its a stylistic thing. Uncomplicated, drinks well.  

2008 Venta del Puerto no. 12 Seleccion Especial. Spain.
Naked Wines £14.99 / £10.99 (Angel price) | B+

Black cherries and plums, some smoky / toasted oak there, sweet vanilla and also licorice, some cooked jammy fruit too. Palate is big, or trying to be big anyway; lots of dark fruit, blackberries and plums, feels extracted and overdone; the oak is just about supported by the fruit; bit brash and showy for my liking. Not much tannins, spicy finish; not quite balanced. Insanely heavy bottle - absolutely mindless ...

NV Downing College Ruby Port, 

A basic ruby port - sweet red fruit abounds, but the fortification is very obvious; tastes quite disjointed, especially next to the vintage port. A correct but unexciting commercial wine.

1991 Smith Woodhouse Vintage Port
Bibendum £40 | A-(+)

style="font-family: inherit;">Wine gums and pastilles, with rosewater and turkish delights, theres a nice floral element to the nose, violets and rose petals; lifted and fragrant. Sweet fruit on the palate, very rounded and generous; a ripe, fruit forward style with a spicy kick on the midpalate; sweet and resolved tannins on the finish. I fear it tastes rather older than it should, it feels a bit too mature; perhaps its just entering its drinking window but I'd keep an eye out for it; drink now - 2020+

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