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.   

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