Monday, 25 March 2013

Johnnie Walker Spice Road

Johnnie Walker Spice Road
March 2013

Launched in late 2012, the Spice Road is the first of three blends in Johnnie Walker's new Trade Routes Series of whiskies. Part of their Explorers' Club Collection, these three whiskies are supposedly only available exclusively on Global Travel Retail (thats duty free shopping in airports, to you and me). I picked up my bottle in March 2012 in Singapore Changi International Airport.

Johnnie Walker Explorers' Club Collection 'The Spice Road'
SGD$52.50 (1 litre) | A-

40% abv. Deep golden amber in colour, its visibly darker than your average JW. Off the bat, sweet oak vanilla aromas coming through; caramel, treacle and fudge also to the fore, then followed by sweet spices (mostly cinnamon and nutmeg); smells quite volatile for its abv (or that could be the rather hot 'room temperature' here in Singapore). Sweetness carries through to the palate, with a satisfying fruity hit in the beginning; the cinnamon/clove-like spice along with slightly woody barbecued but sweet smokiness really kicks in on the mid palate, and is the dominating flavour on the finish. Smooth, very clean on the palate, doesnt have the lingering power or depth but is surprisingly long on the finish. Yes, the name is slightly gimicky but I think its still very well-made, attractive, and relatively good value - I'll be buying another ...  

Note to Johnnie Walker: Whats with the screwtop closures with in-built steady pourers? It doesnt give me the characteristic and very warming 'pop' sound that the cork closures do ... We taste with all our senses, no?

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Local Nose, Singapore

The Local Nose tasting
08 March 2013. Le Vigne, Singapore.

A wine tasting organised by The Local Nose group in Singapore. As far as I gathered on the night, they are group of wine enthusiast in Singapore who regularly organise tasting events, showcasing the wines of particular local, independent wine merchants that they support. This tasting featured wines stocked by Le Vigne, a small wine merchant focusing on good value, everyday drinking wines at around the $30-50 range mostly from the new world - though I did spot some rather smart Chataeuneufs lying around on the shelves.

The tasting notes below are in the order I tasted them. The prices indicated are retail in Singapore Dollars by the bottle at Le Vigne, though they do offer 10% discount on all cash and carry purchases.  

Finca Flichman Extra Brut
$41.50 | B

An 80/20 blend of Chardonnay / Malbec made using the Charmat method, more commonly associated with the production of prosecco.
Golden, salmon tinge; strawberry and peach fruity nose, with slight bready / developed characters. Palate is fruit dominated, quite large but feels slightly thin and dilute; medium low acid, its passable as an aperitif. Lacks bit of brightness and zing for my liking.

2008 Bald Hills ‘Last Light’ Riesling. Central Otago, NZ.
$49.90 | B+

Lemon zest and blossoms on the nose, with a hint of petrol / kerosene; slightly waxy lemons too, with candied peel aromas, like air freshener. Gently off dry, perhaps in the 10-20 g/l range; fat lemony flavours with a grapefruit pithiness on the finish. High acidity makes it feel zingy and effectively dry on the finish, its got good fruit concentration to keep things interesting; a pretty, ageworthy wine.      

2011 Mount Brown Sauvignon Blanc. Waipara Valley, NZ.
$41.70 | B+

Served blind. Citrus and green guava, with a touch of tropical fruit sweetness coming through, subtle leafy / grassy undertones. On the palate, the greenness becomes more obvious; flinty, minerally and quite textured in style; not your usual opulent fruit-driven NZSB, more of a mature, ripe Pouilly Fume.

 2009 Mount Brown Pinot Noir. Waipara Valley, NZ.
$49.50 | A-

Dark cherry with sweet prunes, earthy and sweet spices, with star anise dominating; a lick of sweet oak and even cedar / incense woods completes a very polished nose. Fruit is bright, morello cherry and kirsch, with wild strawberries on the palate, nice ripeness of fruit with slight crunchy acidity; hint of blackpepper and sweet spice on the finish. A full bodied style with good flavour concentration and velvety texture. Its complete, very classy & poised.  

Castello Albai Joven. Rioja, Spain.
$26.50 | B

Dark fruit compote, quite sweet and cooked; very apparent oak treatment shows through the prominent sweet vanilla and coconut notes, bit too brash, somewhat unappealing for me. Fruit is sweet and juicy, large on the entry but fades very quickly; feels thin on the mid palate, gritty and rough on the finish. Rather simple flavours on show, somewhat agricultural in approach, not pretty.

2011 Finca Flichman Reserva Malbec. Mendoza, Argentina.
$37.50 | B+

Sweet dark fruit, blackberry and blueberry compote dominates along with fragrant violets and cassis notes; lifted aromas. Fruit shows dark plums and blueberries, its ripe but feels quite heavy and alcoholic; bitter chocolate on the finish. Medium low in acid, theres a rather unpleasant gritty / coal dust note on the finish; over extracted in my opinion, lacks balance.  

2010 Gran Bajoz Vinas Viejas. Toro, Spain.
$47.90 | B+(+)

Part of Pagos del Rey’s operation (same parent company as the Castillo Albai above), Gran Bajoz is their top Toro wine.
Dark fruit, blackberry, dark plums and bramble; dried herbs / garrigue, coffee and dark chocolate; with some hefty sweet oak notes, almost charred / BBQ notes; brooding, makes you expect a huge wine. Prunes and blackberry carry through on the palate; bags of fruit, nice concentration and staying power on the mid palate; obviously extracted, it is trying to be a big wine and just about pulls it off. Medium acid, ripe, sweet but chunky tannins, this will reward medium term cellaring; drink now – 2018+

2010 Vinaceous ‘Red Right Hand’. Multiregion blend, Australia.
$61.50 | B+

A blend of McLaren Vale Shiraz (79%), Grenache (15%) and Western Australia Tempranillo (5%), if not anything else, it is novel.
Sweet blackcurrant and blackberry jam, it is overtly (and intentionally?) sweet and confected in style; fragrant but a bit too brash for me. Fruit shows red plums and blackberry; its ripe, quite alcoholic and sweet; low acid, decent mid palate weight, finishes quickly. Drink young to capture the sweetness.

Overall: Interesting selection of wines, but this being my first review from Singapore, its clear that I must recalibrate my scale for value for money. Wines aren’t cheap here: at the moment, the Finca Flichman Reserva Malbec is being offered by Waitrose in the UK for £6.99 or approx. $14 (down from £8.99, approx. $18). Similarly, the Mount Browns retail in the UK for £10-15; its more than twice that here. That said, it was great getting to know some of the Local Nose crew - it was a fun, convivial occasion all around. I even managed to pick up some interesting bottles from Le Vigne ...

The Local Nose – tasting organisers
Le Vigne – tasting venue and stockists for all the wines above
72 Namly Place, Singapore 267220
T: (65) 64620053 E:
Open 7 days a week 12-18.30

Saturday, 2 March 2013


Some notable wines I tasted in November - December 2012, all of which were enjoyed over dinner.

2009 Pieropan, La Rocca, Soave Classico
A- | Cambridge Wine Merchants £ 23.99

White floral notes with white stone fruits, honey and hints of candied almond; its lifted, fragrant and opulent. Palate is textured almost slightly mealy like oat porridge (in a good way), white fruits dominate, quite sweet with balancing acidity; mouthfilling and shows great presence, leading to a minerally finish. Focused yet generous, excellent stuff.

2005 Condrieu, Les Terrasses du Palat, Francois Villard

Quite heady still, overripe peaches and nectarines mingle with honey on the nose. Palate is rich and full, stone fruit flavours dominate to the fore with a hint of grapefruit; low acidity, sustained mid palate flavours, slight drying grip on the finish. Not the most showy / opulent Condrieu, but shows decent complexity and impressively long finish.

1996 Jim Barry 'The Armagh' Shiraz, Clare Valley

Top of the tree at Jim Barry wines, 'The Armagh' Shiraz is one of the iconic wines of Australia, right up there with Penfolds' Grange and Henschke's Hill of Grace; from a really good vintage too.

Still primary fruits on the nose, blackcurrant cordial and pastilles, still plenty of minty eucalyptus showing; fragrant and lifted, incredibly fresh. On the palate, flavours of blueberries and blackcurrants dominate; still primary but not overwhelming; theres purity and sweetness of fruit at its core; the oak has melded into the wine, tannins are resolved - everything feels together, all supported by the fruit. This is a stunning wine, probably close to its peak, but will continue to evolve, drink now - 2023+.  

1996 Elderton 'Command' Shiraz, Barossa

First made in 1984, this is another iconic Barossa Shiraz with a stellar reputation of being one of the region's best; always a high scoring wine among the wine critics, if you are into point-counting.

Primary fruits on the nose, ribena pastilles, quite sweet and lifted, think cough syrup medication; lovely eucalyptus / mint nose also coming through; very voluptuous and ready to please out of the bottle. Palate is textured, blackcurrant fruit still at its core, but its not brash, its mellowed and rounded; savoury and gamey hints too, has an oiliness like streaky bacon. Great mouthfeel, complex flavours with all components integrated; its probably at its peak, but should still hold for a while, drink now - 2018+. An absolute joy to drink, one of the best Australian Shiraz I have ever tasted.

2004 Magpie Estate 'The Gomersal' Grenache, Barossa
A- | Noel Young £24.99 (for the '09 vintage)

Magpie Estate is a joint venture between Trumpington, Cambridge-based wine merchant Noel Young and winemaker Rolf Binder from the Barossa (who also makes wine under the labels JJ Hahn and Veritas). 'The Gomersal' is their top end Grenache, only made in the best years; typically a small percentage of their premium Shiraz (called 'The Election') is blended into the Gomersal, in 2004 it was 3%.

Warmth on the nose, mulled spices, cloves with red plums and cherries compote, slightly cooked fruit nature to this; theres also secondary notes of game and cured meats, even slightly dirty / earthy characters too. Palate is soft and rounded, fruit is still bright, red cherries and red berries with damsons; medium-high acidity, it feels vivacious and nimble; textured mouthfeel, all components integrated well. Probably at its peak, but should keep yet, drink now - 2018+

Comments: All the wines above are classics, icons even, in their own rights, a short word on each. The Pieropan La Rocca is perhaps the benchmark for quality Soave Classico, the 2009 here is the current vintage which I picked up from Cambridge Wine Merchants. Yes its not cheap, but in my experience, the La Rocca never disappoints; Pieropan also do a basic Soave (less exciting but still good) at about half the price of the La Rocca. The Condrieu and Magpie Estate were acquired from the cellars of a Cambridge College, both ageworthy wines showing the benefits of some cellaring time. The two mature, iconic Australian Shiraz, the Jim Barry Armagh from Clare and the Elderton Command from Barossa were picked up at auction. Both came with huge reputations and correspondingly high expectations, which I am glad to say it met with flying colours - these premium-end Australian reds certainly worth cellaring as much as Cru Classe clarets.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

CUWS M12 - Paritua Wines

CUWS M12 – Paritua Wines
Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A tasting of Paritua Wines at Cambridge University Wine Society, presented by its winemaker Jason Stent. This relatively new winery was established in 2001, with their first vine plantings arriving in 2003 focusing on the noble grape varieties of the world. The name ‘Paritua’ comes from the local name of the stream that runs through this Hawkes Bay property. Its current winemaker, Jason Stent, was keen to stress that while at Paritua he generally tries to practice minimal intervention in the vineyard, there are some rather nifty high tech gadgetry including a heated water sprinkler system for frost prevention that covers most of his vineyards. While based in Hawkes Bay, two of Paritua’s wines (their Pinot Noir and Riesling) are sourced from Central Otago. In addition, they also incorporate another label within their stable, called Stone Paddock.

The wines are presented below in the order they were tasted. I have included their RRP (according to Paritua), but a quick google search soon reveals that most of these wines can be had for slightly less from Imbibros or Hennings Wines.

2008 Paritua Riesling, Central Otago
£18.99 | B+

Lime rind and peel on the nose, with grapefruit and hints of kerosene; whilst pleasant and attractive enough, it lacks a certain zestiness for me. The citrus fruit is gentle on the palate, generous acidity but lacking in flavour concentration; its correct but feels a touch flabby / dilute, lacks focus. Cant help thinking it could be more precise and nervy.

2009 Paritua Chardonnay, Hawkes Bay
£18.99 | B+

Attractive peachy nose, with overripe stone fruits, tending towards passionfruits and mangoes, quite sweet; significant oak treatment here, but the buttery creamy notes integrate well with the other aromas. Fat acidity, fruit is ripe and generous if a tad simple / one-dimensional, slight savoury hints too; rather short finish. I like this, its well made and quite attractive, but I feel it’s a but too pricy for what it is.

2008 Paritua Pinot Noir, Central Otago
£21.50 | B

Bright cranberry and red cherry fruit, with warming mulled spices, earthy notes and a lick of sweet oak – pretty, polished and attractive nose, great start. Sweet red fruit on the palate, medium acidity, but feels somewhat tired and flat, just isn’t bright and its lacking in concentration. The palate such a disappointment after the nose, could be a dodgy bottle?

2008 Stone Paddock Syrah, Hawkes Bay
£14.99 | B+  

Red plums and blackcurrant cordial, quite sweet on the nose, with a hint of sweet spice. Bright red fruit on the palate (red berries and plums), a lighter, easier drinking style; smooth and polished. A little too commercial for me, correct but unexciting.

2008 Paritua Syrah, Hawkes Bay
£21.50 | B+

Jammy red & dark fruit, stewed fruit / compote nose; theres fruit liquers and cassis, almost tending towards being too sweet and confected – heady stuff, slightly over the top for me. Blackcurrant fruit on the palate, theres concentration and nice texture here, medium low acidity, hint of spice and savoury touches, some sweet oak too. Correct, but again, unexciting.

2007 Paritua Red, Hawkes Bay
£21.50 | A-

This is their Bordeaux lookalike, with a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon / 32% Merlot / 9% Cabernet Franc / 5% Malbec; significant new French oak used, approx. 2500 cases made.
Dark fruit, cassis and brambles, with a hint of leafiness, fragrant spice and sweet oak; brooding, attractive nose. Plenty of ripe fruit on the palate, nice extraction and concentration; black plums and brambles, medium acidity with decent tannins. Structured and ageworthy, drink now – 2018+

2007 Paritua 21.12, Hawkes Bay
£37.50 | A-(+)

Paritua’s flagship red, a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon / 28% Merlot / 21% Cabernet Franc; significant new French oak used, approx. 700 cases made.
Dark fruit compote, cassis and bramble notes, with hints of coffee and dusted cocoa, bit of sweet oak too; more brooding, less open and overtly fruity than its ‘Red’. On the palate, dark plums and blackberries, feels extracted; quite a large mouthfeel and heavy texture; a big wine, carries the sweet oak well. Medium acidity, plenty of fine tannins; big boned, quite muscular at the moment, certainly ageworthy; drink now – 2020+

2009 Stone Paddock ‘Isabella’ Late Harvest Semillon, Hawkes Bay
£13.99 (37.5cl) | A-

Golden amber in colour. Sweet, honeyed nose of tinned peaches and ripe mangoes; quite thick, full on, aromas. Tastes of tinned fruits again, quite intensely sweet (I’m guessing 150-200 g/l residual sugar);  texture is quite thick and hefty, but with a nice streak of acidity, alleviating the cloying feel – makes it all taste like tinned pineapples. Not shy.    


Monday, 18 February 2013

Cambridge Tasting Pt III – Seven Springs Wines

Cambridge Tasting Pt III – Seven Springs Wines

Sunday, 20th January 2013.
West Lodge, Downing College, Cambridge.

The third lot of wine at this tasting were from Seven Springs vineyards from the Western Cape in South Africa. Their UK importer is listed on the back label as Belle Epoque Wine, The Mead Barn, Coltishall, NR12 7DN. As far as I am aware, they currently do not have a UK stockist so I can’t provide retail prices. However, Tom Lewis assures me that they would be around the £10 mark.

Seven Springs Vineyards, Western Cape, South Africa

2011 Sauvignon Blanc

Correct varietal notes of citrus, hint of leafy greenness / cut grass and gooseberry, not as pungent as some Marlborough Sauv Blancs. Fruit on the palate is sweet with good acidity, quite generous in flavour but one-dimensional. A simple, well made wine - does what it says on the label.

2011 Pinot Noir ‘Young Vines I’

Fragrant, sweet red fruit, ripe strawberries and red cherries with a sweet wood / polished cedar nose too (I’m guessing theres some oak here?). Fruit is juicy yet with some crunch, ripe red cherries; forward, easy to understand but quite simple.  

2010 Syrah

More akin to Barossa Shiraz: mint / eucalyptus, with ribena pastilles, dark fruit compote and licorice – fragrant, quite heady nose. Palate lets it down, tart, unripe black cherries, lacks a bright juiciness you expect from the nose; feels fresh though.

I thought these three wines were technically well made if not slightly boring, it does what it says on the tin but doesn’t excite. I would be surprised if they were trying to retail this for much more than £10. Of the three, I was most impressed by the Pinot – I often find that entry level South African Pinot can feel cooked / hot, which this one manages to avoid. 

Cambridge Tasting Pt II – Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux

Cambridge Tasting Pt II – Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux

Sunday, 20th January 2013.
West Lodge, Downing College, Cambridge.

 The second lot of wines at this tasting were the Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux. Clarets at this level are a staple diet of Cambridge Colleges, so when Tom said that he had been sent several samples of the newly released 2010s, I procured some mature 2000s from the College Cellars for comparison. On a side note, I remember tasting quite a few of the 2010 Cru Bourgeois during the en primeur campaign in 2011, my impressions then was that quality was pretty high across the board, with plenty of sweet fruit and ripe tannins. The fruit quality was there to get good extraction and flavour; certainly a great vintage capable of long term cellaring. I was keen to see how the wines have developed now that they are bottled and ready to go.   

Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois
2010s courtesy of Alliance de Cru Bourgeois du Medoc
2000s procured from the cellars of Downing College, Cambridge

2010 Chateau La Garricq, Moulis en Medoc

Plenty of dark fruit and cassis on the nose, balanced with a sweet lick of oak; smells ripe and heady, almost a touch alcoholic. On the palate, the fruit sweet and textured; good stuffing and warmth on the mid palate, ripe tannins showing as quite silky; I think the relatively high alcohol levels somewhat masks the chewier side of the tannins. Good, well balanced wine; still very powerful, needs time.

2010 Chateau La Commanderie, Saint Estephe

Sweet fruit and cassis on the nose but with a more pronounced stalky / woody aromas; the aromas feels a bit disjointed at the moment, but it should integrate with time. Although the fruit is good, the palate is rather disappointing as the tannins feel green and astringent, gripping in all the wrong places. Feels agricultural, lacks charm.

2010 Chateau Beaumont, Haut Medoc

Dark blackberry fruit compote on the nose, with sweet woody aromas / cedar and cigar box, hints of earthy smoke too – quite alluring in all. Palate feels surprisingly thin, theres ripe sweet fruit but not enough weight and concentration; tannins are sweet and balanced. I was surprised at its lack of depth, if I remember correctly this showed rather well in the en primeur tastings a couple of years back.  

2010 Chateau Gironville, Haut Medoc

Overtly fruity on the nose, with blueberry and blackberries dominating; theres even a porty / Ribena cordial note about it, bright and voluptuous on the nose. Palate shows all the right components in check – sweet, dark fruit; fresh acidity giving it brightness and ripe but wholesome, grippy tannins. A very good claret, should age well; highly recommended. 

2010 Chateau Preuillac, Medoc

Ribena and cassis on the nose, with some notes of blackberry liquer; theres brightness and high, somewhat alcoholic notes too. Good concentration of fruit flavours, relatively high acidity, making it feel quite fresh; not as lavish as the Gironville but still a well-built wine. Has structure to allow aging.

2010 Chateau Patache d’Aux, Medoc

Fragrant, sweet dark fruit with hints of licorice, smells quite big. Disappointingly muted on the palate and lacking any weight, I’m pretty sure this is an out-of-condition sample.

2000 Chateau Patache d’Aux, Medoc

I’ve had the pleasure of tasting this particular wine several times in the past, and this wasn’t the best bottle. The slightly dusty / musty nose hints at a below-par bottle; fruit on the palate is soft and the acidity is still lively but overall, it lacks the brightness and charm I know it should have. Such a shame.

2000 Chateau Bernadotte, Haut Medoc

Sweet cedar and incense, along with a smoky hint of cigar box and sandalwood; fruit is dark but not overpowering – a fragrant, developed nose. Fruit is plush and generous, with a lovely acidity; all components integrated and balanced, this lingers on the palate surprisingly long for a humble wine. So poised, a joy to drink. Proof, if needed, that well-made humble clarets from great vintages can keep so well; still has life ahead.

2000 Chateau Lanessan, Haut Medoc

The bottle I had at the tasting was underwhelming, tired to the point of losing it altogether. I tried another bottle of this a week later, which showed its pedigree: dark fruit, with woody licorice and cedar, somewhat masculine in style. Fruit is sweet with the licorice notes following through on the palate, relatively low acidity. Drinking well now and probably wont improve further.

My overall impression of the 2010 clarets: ripe fruit was clear to see, some to the point of being almost over alcoholic; tannins were ripe too. The best, more lavish of them can be enjoyed on release but for some, I would advocate restraint, give it a few years to settle down and I think your patience will be amply rewarded. A hit rate of one in three for the 2000s doesn’t bode well in terms of consistency, yet given how well the one performed, I could almost forgive the non-performing two. Luck of the draw, I guess, but I’d probably sing a different tune if I was in a restaurant and been served two dodgy bottles in a row.

Many thanks to the Alliance de Cru Bourgeois du Medoc and Phillips-Hill, their UK PR agency for the 2010 samples.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Cambridge Tasting Pt I – Weingut Adank

Cambridge Tasting Pt I – Weingut Adank

Sunday, 20th January 2013.
West Lodge, Downing College, Cambridge.

A bit of background. I must admit, this tasting was mostly the idea of Tom Lewis, aka the Cambridge Wine Blogger (yes, its his fault, I am merely an accomplice). In one of our conversations, Tom said that he had quite a backlog of samples that he wanted/needed to try. Ideally he wanted to try them in a tasting with a few other wine enthusiasts but lacked a suitable venue, which was where I came in. So there the idea came together and materialised.

There were three distinct groups of wines to be tasted: the wines of Weingut Hansruedi Adank from Switzerland, a slew of 2010 Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux and a small selection of wines from 7Springs vineyard in South Africa. Like Tom, I’ve decided to write up the tasting in three separate blog entries, in the order they were tasted. Tom and I somewhat disagreed on the running order – we were both clear the Adank wines should be first, but I would have preferred the 7Springs to come next and end with the clarets. Call me old school if you must.

The other attendees at this tasting were a good mix, including members of the wine trade, wine enthusiasts who were keen to learn more, relative newbies to wine as well as several members of the Cambridge University Blind Wine Tasting Society’s varsity team.  

Weingut Familie Hansruedi Adank, AOC Graubunden, Switzerland
Courtesy of Patrick Adank

Tom and I met Patrick Adank (son of the Adank proprietor/winemaker, himself studying Oenology in France) when he came to Cambridge for a two-week English course late last year. He had a bottle of his top-end Pinot Noir then, which he graciously shared – my review of that wine can be found here, Tom’s here. He kindly sent over a mixed case containing a bottle each of all the wines that his family makes. I have no RRPs as these wines are not available in the UK, but their ex-cellar prices range from €15 - 35ish. 

2011 Flascher Sauvignon Blanc | A-

Sweet peachy notes followed by hints of oak and vanilla, some notes of wet stones too; its actually quite lovely on the nose. Palate is soft and delicate, with medium-low acidity but good minerally texture, think of a thicker, more textured Sancerre, with slight green leafy notes. Doesn’t scream at you like new world Sauv Blancs.     

2011 Flascher Chardonnay | B+

Thick, buttery and creamy notes; hot buttered toast, with overtly toasty sweet oak coming through, balanced with peachy fruit – pretty and certainly not shy. Palate is easy going, fruit is relatively straightforward, with decent length. But it lacks a wow factor: it doesn’t have the sophistication and poise of Burgundy yet also without the overt fruit of new world Chardonnays. I’m left confused and cant help think that it could be better.

2010 Flascher Syrah | B
(this wine was tasted last after the Pinots, it's put here as I took the picture along with the whites) 

Overtly sweet notes of vanilla and red fruits, violets and blueberries; theres some green stalky and woody characters showing too. Unfortunately, on the palate its watery and hollow; hardly any fruit, with a weird astringent finish. Given how its tasting so tired and hollowed out, I’m not entirely sure this bottle was in perfect condition. Or perhaps growing Syrah where they are is somewhat ambitious.

2011 Flascher Pinot Noir | B+

Red fruit, cranberries and red cherries with a touch of savoury bacon and woodiness coming through. Palate is soft, mostly sweet cranberries, with medium acidity; not much by way of weight; feels like a basic but well made Bourgogne Rouge from a cool year.

2010 Flascher Pinot Noir Auslese | B+

Sweet red fruit, with red cherries and raspberries dominating, some notes of confected strawberries and compote with some notes of lacquer perhaps showing some wood treatment; smells ripe and quite promising. Palate has high acidity and the fruit is sweet but rather thin, tastes a bit dilute for my liking; what was there is pretty but just not enough stuffing.

2008 Flascher Pinot Noir Barrique | B+

Red fruit with higher notes sweet spice, ethanol and lacquer with hint of blackpepper; the extra wood treatment shows but theres a slight sulphury whiff which I didn’t mind but some of the others likened it to rubber / tyres which put them off. On the palate its got a bit more weight even hints of minerality, red fruit is sweet and very smooth but it goes way too quickly, just isn’t enough length on mid palate. Feels a bit lean.    

My overall impression of these Adank wines is that theres clearly a house style where its very easy (and not unattractive too) on the nose followed by soft and smooth on the palate. I think the wines are technically well executed, though I might question the wisdom in making Syrah in Switzerland. Personally, I found the Pinots lacking fruit and weight on the mid palate, but then again I had spent most of January 2013 tasting en primeur Burgundy 2011s so perhaps my frame of reference wasn’t entirely fair. Many thanks to Patrick Adank for the wines.