Sunday, 27 March 2011

Errázuriz Estate Shiraz 2009 (Aconagua)

Tasted 25/03/11, 13.5%. Widely available, about £9 UK retail. With Chilean wines, it's always good to pay a pound or two more above entry level to buy a reserva level. Errázuriz pitch themselves a tad higher than Cono Sur, etc and their 'entry levels' start at about £9! Whilst I greatly respect their higher level and single estate wines, I have found their blends at the lower price point to be a bit disappointing. However, this Shiraz blend is pleasing. Bright purple colour, white pepper and brambles on the nose. Fruit forward for sure, but there's a great mouthful of dark fruits and coffee. Good value for money, drink now. 15.5 / 20

Friday, 25 March 2011

Gouguenheim Valle Escondido 2009 (Mendoza)

Tasted 24/03/11 with Sara, Tom and Alex. 13.5% ABV. £9 UK Majestic. The relatively new Bodegas Gouuenheim is producing some interesting wines and this one has just become available in Majestic. This is a good middle-level, early drinking Argentinian malbec. Lovely inky purple in the glass, still a little closed on the nose - plums and some dark fruits and a hint of spice and violets. Rich and fruity in the mouth, there's some nice silky tannins with probably just the right amount of oak. From 2011, 16 / 20

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Vina Valdivieso Reserva Pinot Noir 2009 (Casablanca Valley)

Tasted 12/03/11 with Sara and Lydia. 14.5% ABV, about £9.50 UK retail (e.g. Waitrose). One of the 'Waitrose in Partnership' wines with the stellar Valdivieso winery. A great demonstration of what Chile can do really well. Potent stuff at 14.5% and a world away from your delicate, aged Burgundy: a different expression of Pinot Noir certainly, but one that still has structure and complexity, a sense of terroir and an ability to age, no doubt. This is young and I'd keep it  year or two but it's wonderful now. Dark cherry red in the glass, rich and complex, lovely red fruits in the nose. In the mouth, there is a complex interaction of cherries, dried fruits and even a hint of spice. Long finish. Lovely! From 2011, 16.5 / 20

Errazuriz Estate Pinot Noir 2009 (Casablanca)

Tasted 15/02/11 with Sara, Tom and Alex, 13.5% ABV. About £8 UK retail. Disappointing. This is their entry-level blend - and it shows. It's neither one thing nor the other - none of the complexity of old world pinot noir nor the youthful fruitiness you'd expect from the new world. It is very young for sure but it's no doubt blended from bought-in grapes and young vines. Medium pink colour, some good red fruit on the nose but very thin on the palate with a short finish. This demonstrates my friend McLaren's adage that it is worth paying £2 more for the reserva! My most disappointing Chilean wine of 2011. Drink now, 13.5 / 20
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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Chateau Durfont-Vivens 2eme Cru Classe 1995 (Margaux)

Tasted 05/02/11 with Sara, Fran and Chris. 12.5% ABV, 75cl. The small second growth that fell on hard times but has now greatly improved. This was a good wine, ready to drink now. Four hours after decanting, it opened up a lot and was a real pleasure.Still quite a dark ruby colour with only tinges of age. Wonderful Left Bank nose, sweet and elegant with cassis. Great structure, lots of cabernet in the blend I suspect. Restrained berry fruits in the mouth with a long finish. This was better than the '03 which I tasted recently. From 2010, 17.5/20

Chateau Rieussec, 1er Cru Classe Sauternes, 1998

Tasted 05/03/11 with Chris and Fran. 14% ABV, 37.5cl. Great sweet wine, ready now. Beautiful deep golden colour, a massive nose of Oxford marmalade. Concentrated and powerful, with a great balance of sweetness and acid. Great now but has life left. From 2011, 18.5 / 20
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Sunday, 6 March 2011

Saint Clair Pioneer Block Pinot Noir 2009 (Marlborough)

Tasted 05/02/11 with Sara, Chris and Fran. 14% ABV, about £18 in Majestic. Limited edition release. This is a superb, big New World pinot noir but it's not just a 'fruit bomb' like some - it's elegant and has real structure and shows great winemaking from Matt Thomson. Bright cherry red, lovely nose of cherries, cedar, raspberries. In the mouth it a medley of red fruits and some spice too, fantastic length. What a superb wine and fantastic value for money. From 2011, 18/20

Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Le Chenevottes, Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard 2007

Tasted 05/03/11 with Sara, Chris and Fran. 13.5% ABV, about £30 UK retail (various merchants). Lovely wine, good to drink now. Clear, straw colour, classic nose: damp grass, apples and green fruit. The palate is refined and long - hint of smokiness, minerality and slightly nutty. There's a butteriness from the oak and it is wonderfully integrated - a really well made wine. From 2011, 17.5/20

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Cono Sur Reserva Merlot 2008 (Colchagua)

Tasted 05/02/11 with Sara. 14% ABV. About £8.50 UK retail (e.g. Tesco, Waitrose, Majestic). Good 'New World Style' Merlot from Chile's big Concha Y Toro company (Cono Sur is one of their subsidiaries). As always, this volume producer is quality-orientated and this wine shows the benefit of paying a £1 or so premium over the entry level wine (ironically, sometimes the reserva is discounted to below the entry level merlot!). Bright garnet colour, full plummy nose, big and youthful in the mouth - a complete contrast to Bordeaux merlot - hints of cocoa and spice on the palate too. Fruit-forward with sweet oak. Good finish, drink now. 16 / 20

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Chateau Durfont-Vivens 2eme Cru Classe Margaux 2003

Tasted 23/02/11 at Central London Wine Society, 12.5% ABV. About £60 UK retail. This enigmatic estate fell on hard times and was punching well below its weight but is now much improved. Cepage is 82% CS and 18% Merlot. Purple with brown tinges in the glass, cassis and leather on the nose; 'feminine' and elegant, very drinkable now. From 2013, 17.5/20
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Harrods Pauillac 2004

Tasted 23/02/11 at Central London Wine Society, 13% ABV. £27.50 Harrods. Actually a second wine from the 5th Growth Medoc Grand-Puy-Lacoste. A good wine from a variable year on the Left Bank. Mid-purple colour, little age yet, a lovely 'Pauillac nose' - hint of forest floor, cassis, oaky. On the palate its dry and austere, as expected. Well balanced, good length, from 2012. 17/20
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Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Stellenbosch)

Tasted 23/02/11 at Central London Wine Society. 13.5% ABV, £12 retail (e.g. Majestic). Dark purple colour, lovely blackcurrant and violets nose; juicy black fruits on the palate, still quite tannic, long finish. A great wine - needs longer. From 2012, 17/20
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