Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Lea and Sandeman Bordeaux AoC 2007

Tasted 26/01/11, 13% ABV, £8.95 Lea and Sandeman, London. I am not mad on ‘cheap’ claret and generally, below £10 (or perhaps £20 in the case of red Bordeaux) I would rather opt for Chile. However, the reputation of this Old World-focussed London merchant (5 stores in west and central London) and its excellent claret range plus some good reviews tempted me to try this. What a revelation! Well done, L&S. The wine is from a small Fronsac producer, apparently. It has all the characteristics of good Bordeaux – lovely blackcurrants on the nose, lots of juicy black fruits on the palate with plums, quite silky and well balanced with soft tannins. I suspect there’s a lot of Merlot in the blend. Don’t worry about the ’10 Year Rule’ – drink now. 16/20

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Casillero del Diablo Reserva Privada 2007, Maipo Valley

Tasted 23/01/11 with Sara, Tom and Alex. 14.5% abv, ca. £10 UK retail. A couple of notches up the Casillero del Diablo portfolio, made from selected Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes and worth the couple of extra pounds. Deep garnet colour, cassis, cedar, cherries and dark chocolate on the nose, great spice and vanilla in the mouth, dark stewed fruits on the finish. Elegant tannins, excellent value - a great 'premium' every day wine. Splendid! Drink now, 16.5/20
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Friday, 21 January 2011

Valpolicella Ripasso 'La Casetta' DOC 2006

Tasted 19/01/11 at CLWS. 13.5 % ca. £15 in Majestic. A fine example of
the Ripasso style, a wine that has become a little debased of late but
this wine shows that it can still be fine wine, if well made. This is
single estate (La Casetta di Ettore Righetti Estate) rather than a
blend, and it shows. Deep purple colour with a complex black fruits
nose. A silky, elegant, palate with a real mouthful of plums and
damsons, spicy kick on the finish. Great wine, drink now while it still
has some youth. From 2011, 17/20

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 'La Ciarliana' 2006

Tasted 19/01/11 at CLWS. 14.4% , ca. £17 UK retail (e.g. Majestic). This
is a rich and elegant 'mid-level' Nobile, that possible would benefit
from another 18 months age. Nose still a little closed - just a hint of
cherries and red fruits. A little tannic still but very complex, there's
a lot going on here - a layer of vanilla but great fruit and spice below
with a great finish. From 2012. 17.5/20

Trivento Amado Sur 2008 (Mendoza)

Tasted 20/01/11, 14% ABV. A new discovery for me, a great find. Trivento are part of the Concho y Toro brand in Argentina. A blend of 73% Malbec and Bonarda / Syrah.
Deep purple colour, great plummy and tobacco nose with hint of pimento. Nice balance, with soft tannins and a good finish of plums and black fruits. Lovely food wine, drink now. 16/20
Twitter: @garywinetasting
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Friday, 14 January 2011

Cono Sur Pinot Noir Reserva 2009 (Casablanca Valley)

Tasted 13/01/11, 14% ABV, ca, £8-£9 UK retail. This is one level up from
the base level Pinot Noir in the Cono Sur portfolio and is worth paying
the extra couple of pounds. Burgundy it isn't but this is a great
expression of a New World pinot noir. As always, very well made from
Cono Sur. It's had 6 months in oak and the website says that it is 50%
single estate fruit from El Marco and 'others' - I guess we could call
it a select blend then! Lovely mid-cherry red, raspberries and cherry on
the nose and hint of coffee. Soft tannins, quite a good length with ripe
berry fruits. Not much expression of the terroir at this level but an
excellent wine nonetheless and as I have said before, shows would poor
value Burgundy is below Premier Cru level. 16.5/20, drink now!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Cartuxa EA, Alentejo 2009

Tasted 10/01/11, 13.5%. n/a UK retail, ca €8 in Portugal. Produced and
bottled by Fundação Eugénio de Almeida. This is an interesting wine,
quite popular and widely available in Portuguese supermarkets and
restaurants. This wine was produced in the Cartuxa winery with the local
grape varieties Roupeiro, Antão Vaz, and Perrum. It is a pale yellow
colour with great citrus fruit on the nose. There's a lovely fresh
acidity that makes it very food (and fish)-friendly. Hint of tropical
fruits on the palate. Nice everyday wine, drink now. 15.5 / 20

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2003

Tasted 02/01/11 with Sara, Jane and Alex. 20% ABV, ca. £13 UK retail
(Harrods). This Dow port is Harrod's own label LBV. Essentially, the
same Dow wine is available in many UK retailers (most is actually 2004).
Of the big houses, I think Dow's LBV style is my favourite - less sweet
than it's sister port Grahams and less tannic than Taylors. Deep ruby
colour, lovely floral nose, hint of cassis and violets. Rich and elegant
on the palate, quite intense, spicy - raisins and black fruits. As I
always say, LBV port is a great bargain. Drink now, 17.5 / 20.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2008, Casablanca Valley

Tasted 02/01/11 with Sara, Jane and Alex. 14% ABV, ca. £13 UK retail (e.g. Majestic). This is the third bottle of this I have enjoyed this year. Toffee apple and toasty oak on the nose. Nice deep golden colour. Rich and buttery on the palate. Beautiful balance with nice acid attack. Fantastic vfm. 18 / 20. From 2011


Mycas Limari Syrah 2008

Tasted (again) 02/01/11 with Sara, Jane and Alex…..see other post…


It get’s better – glad I bought 6 bottles – it needs another year still…..


Monbazillac Chateau Ladesvisgnes AOC 2007

Tasted 02/01/11 with Sara, Jane and Alex. 14% ABV, ca. £10 UK retail (Nicolas). Medium golden colour, the classic Semillon / muscadelle blend from Bergerac – a notch above the usual in this case. The naturally sweet wine from this region is becoming more sophisticated as this single estate example demonstrates. A great year and could age longer. Not too sweet, clementines on the palate, a nice marmaladey finish and some good length. From 2011. 16 / 20


Saturday, 1 January 2011

Zeyssolff Fines Bulles aux Epices a Pains d'Epices de l'Oncle Hansi, Alsace nv

Tasted 30/12/2010 with Sara, Peter and John, 12% ABV. n/a UK (private import), ca. €12. Tight creamy mouse, gingery on the nose – some said like ginger snaps! Good balance but a rather short finish. Based on their regular Cremant d'Alsace, this is 100% Pinot Noir grapes with added ginger as a 'seasonal drink'. Interesting – some said a novelty wine but it's better than that. Drink now, 15/20

Vina Mayu Syrah Reserva 2007, Elqui Valley

Tasted 30/12/2010, 14% ABV, Majestic, ca. £11.00. Deep purple, inky colour. Grilled meat, pepper and spice on the nose. Spicy thyme and cassis, brambly, dark fruits on the palate. Powerful but with a great balance, elegant. Truly lovely - one of my best wines of 2010. A great winery from Chile’s ‘hottest’ region (actually, the coolest). From 2011. 18.5 / 20


Zeyssolff Reserve Particuliere Gewurztraminer AOC Alsace, 2007

Tasted 25/04/10 & 30/12/10, 13% ABV, n/a UK (private import only). Ca. €12. A stellar wine from a stellar vintage in Alsace. Medium golden colour, beautiful full, slightly honeyed nose with pear drops and apricots. Long and complex. Excellent balance medium sweet, with melon and citrusy notes with a dry finish. Lovely to drink now. From 2010, 18.5 / 20