Archives for category: WIne Tasting

On Monday 5th June the WING met for a Tutored Tasting of wines from Dão, led by Ralph.

Dão is quite a small wine area situated pretty well bang in the centre of the Northern half of Portugal – between Douro and Bairrada. It produces 4% or 5% of all Portuguese wine. It is encircled by mountains giving it a sheltered temperate climate, where grapes are mainly grown on sandy soil covering a granite base. Most famously it is known for red wines (80% of the production is red) from Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, and Alfrocheiro grapes, and whites from Encruzado. Mainly seen in the UK as cheap, supermarket, generic blends (Dão DOC blends have to have at least 20% Touriga Nacional) the area is capable of very good wine if you can track it down…

For this tasting Ralph chose a highly regarded, modern producer called Quinta de Lemos. This winery is located in the Silgueiros sub-region (1 of 7 in Dão), and is reputed to have a “French feel”….

If you want maps and graphs, and thoughts, about Portuguese wine in general, please refer to the February 15th 2017 post below>>>

All the wines at this tasting were from Quinta de Lemos, and sourced from drinkportuguesewine.co.uk, where they retail around £25 (the Roriz is £50!). At the moment they are all on sale at around £16 ( and the Roriz for £35!), with mixed cases available….

I myself was in France – actually driving to the Loire Valley – on the day of the tasting, so all the information and notes below are courtesy of Ralph and Kim,  thanks to them:


DONA PAULETTE   ENCRUZADO 2012    (13%)  -countries top white grape.
This grape, the country’s top white, has high reputation as ‘burgundy beater’ similarities to chardonnay as shows off wine-making technique. We were looking for complexity and minerality; well integrated acidity; good structure and medium body; and aromas and flavours of resinous plants, eucalyptus and mint with notes of hazelnut and tamarillo. Kim felt his example was pale golden with citrus notes on nose. Limes and minerality + resinous notes seeming more like a Semillon to me (Kim), a bit wet wool. Good length and complexity.  High acid – good food wine. Kim’s favourite on the night.

ALFROCHEIRO 2009   (14.5%)
[This wine achieved 89 Parker (P) points and  92 @ Wine Enthusiast (WE)]. Looking for aromas and flavours of blackcurrant and concentrated black fruits. The ripe and integrated tannins without being green or aggressive. Kim found a brown brick rim., looking older than other reds. Ripe fruit flavours cherries plums and tinned toms (Kim). Sweet fruit and nice acidity. Spicy and warming – high alcohol.  Some dark chocolate.  Good but not elegant or complex.

JAEN 2009   (14.5%)
[89 P, 93 WE] Jaen is the same grape as Mencia so we were thinking of structure with red fruits, vegetal and resinous notes. Fresh medium body. Young with long, lingering finale. Kim got a wine that was dense dark red. Very concentrated. Fusty, musty nose (not a fault).  Black berries and dried leaf on nose with some tobacco? Dried fruit and raisin.  Big and soft and not enough grip for my liking. Seems simpler later.

TINTA RORIZ 2009   (14.5%)
[90 P, 93 WE] Tinta Roriz is the Northern Portuguese name for Tempranillo – so expecting a concentrated color with ripe fruit and spices present in the aroma. Complex and spicy body with a good structure and great longevity. In vino veritas: A deep purple hue (not “Smoke on the Water”!)  Bit herby on the nose then smokey bacon. Softer plummy palate. Very smooth modern style. Lower in acid than the previous 2 reds.  I found it bit blousy but quite a few liked it best so far.

TOURIGA NACIONAL 2009   (14.5%)
[92 P, 90 WE] Originally from Dão, this grape is long associated with Duoro for vintage port and latterly big table wines. This is a multiple medal-winning wine, and prefigures a deep ruby colour. Aromas and flavours of ripe blackcurrant and fresh crushed wild berries with notes of Bergamot and Pine. Kim found very inky red. Pungent but less fruit driven. Big and concentrated Savoury and spicey, dates and chocolate later.  High tannins very powerful wine.  The “Bordeaux grape” of Portugal. Favourite red of the night for most.

DONA SANTANA 2009   (14.5%)
This is an indigenous Dão blend of 60% Tourga Nacional, 20% Tinta Roriz, 10% Jaen, 10% Alfrocheiro. [90 P, 91 WE]. Another wine with many medals, we were looking for lots of fruit (strawberry, cherry, blackcurrant, rhubarb are mentioned in citations) floral notes, full body and tannins
Kim found a purple/ black hue. The blend disguises the individual grape characteristics: slightly stalky nose; big black fruit. Very rich, dry at end of palate. Thought bit bland by comparison with others….

So, a very enjoyable evening according to several of my informants. Thanks so much Ralph for conducting it and the info above – and to Kim, and other contributors, for compiling the notes.

A theme piece on Collioure in about 4 days… until then….

On Thursday 18th May 2017 the ICC group tasted 3 Alto-Adige varietal wines (Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Gewürztraminer) against “reference” equivalents from Alsace. The idea being to see if the “lighter, drier, cleaner” reputation for the former was justified – and/or if it implied a “less characterful” other side to that coin? I chose mature Alsace wines to emphasise this, and to ponder if the Alto-Adige wines would ever develop to a similar degree.

The wines were served in pairs, so the notes below will contain both-way comparative comments. However only the first pair were served blind as I thought the relative ages of the wines would make the other pairs too obvious anyway.


Here are my notes:

KAEFFERKOPF RIESLING 2008 (Schaetzel)      –   13%     –     Grower €17  (Approx £25 in UK)
Only showing a slight hint of diesel, despite its age – floral hints and an apple blossom note in a more aromatic wine. Palate is rounder and richer with a long warm acidic line supporting a fruit phase reminiscent of dried apricots. Rather satisfying and still quite young.
Ratings:        Quality:  16/20   Value:  15/20

PACHERHOF RIESLING  2012 (Valle Iscaro)   –   13%     –     £15 Le Langhe
The nose has a light but more evolved diesel element, but is quite quiet overall with a hint of citrus. The palate is actually less dry than the Alsace wine, clean with warm acidity and a pear hint – but a mineral, slightly bitter, line grows through the wine, supporting the middle but somewhat unbalancing the finish.
Ratings:        Quality:  15/20   Value:  15/20

It seemed the older wine was on a much longer evolution, and had more depth and interest. However I felt the A-A was not shamed by comparison, and would work as well or better in some contexts.

BRAND GRAND CRU PINOT GRIS 2005 (Turckheim)         13½%    –      £19 Noel Young
Instantly recognizable Alsace PG, much darker than the Alto Adige but still fresh. Hints of flowers (roses?) and ginger with smoky notes. The palate only a little off-dry with an integrated fruit-acid line (passion fruit, quince, mango) held well together for a long time. Long and complex – a lovely wine…
Ratings:        Quality:  17/20   Value:  17/20

ERSTE + NEUE PINOT GRIGIO 2015    –  14%   –      £15 Noel Young / Highbury Vintners
This has a some PG character but only about a third as intense as the Alsace. Similar profile to the AA Riesling: clean; warm acidity; fruit (peachy in this case); mineral at the end… not all that interesting and certainly nor compared to the Alsace PG.
Ratings:        Quality:  14/20   Value:  14/20

This was even more telling a comparison than I imagined. With ten years between the wines, I wondered that the Alsace might be too old… Far from it – it positively shined with flavour and complexity and supported its slight sweetness well. The A-A certainly paled by comparison, although not a bad wine – I thought it had more interest than most Grigio, but here the least interesting of the A-A wines anyway…

HEIMBERGER “SOL GRANITIQUE” GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2007 (Beblenheim)     –    13%    –      Grower €12
No lychees on this nose but ginger and (surprisingly) pear. Palate is rich and viscous with some sweetness and a gingery spicy warmth and a “granitique” mineral line. Long warmth and a food-demanding grip.
Ratings:        Quality:  15/20   Value:  15.5/20

ELENA WALCH GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2015   –   14%      –    £16 Bottle Apostle
Slightly nutty nose with a slightly bitter herb notes. Palate has citrus and peach, with a hot spice line giving structure and a chalky (tending to creamy) mouthfeel. As long but cleaner than the Alsace and equally food-demanding…
Ratings:        Quality:  15/20   Value:  15/20

This seemed the closest comparison – both had clear Gewürztraminer characteristics – focusing on the ginger and floral more than the stereotype lychee. The A-A was a hotter wine, both in the foregrounding of its ginger flavours and its alcoholic weight. Also the mineral character was different: the A-A chalky, whereas the Alsace had drying salinity that held up the relatively low acidity.

Overall an interesting comparison in which the reputation of the Alto-Adige wines is justified: vibrant, leaner with a mineral frame. They are good wines with preference a matter of taste for most of the pairs we tasted. However the Alsace Pinot Gris was a long way ahead of the A-A Grigio (IMO) – maybe one needs to go up a notch to find a really characterful example… Also I can’t imagine any of the  Alto-Adige wines have as long a development time in them as the Alsace, so – personally – in most cases I’d rather buy Alsace and wait a while…

Until soon!

On Monday 8th May WING met to taste the Wines of Ampelidæ. Led by John and Ann.

This story starts with the long-time appreciation by several of the group of the Bourgueil wines of Pierre-Jacques Druet from Benais. I first visited the estate in 1995 and regularly, every couple of years until – I think – 2007. Druet’s wines have featured in Nottingham tastings regularly and won some admirers and regular buyers – often en primeur – in the WING group.

Several of us became aware of Ampelidæ about 9 months ago, when we were written to as “fidèles clients des vins de Bourgueil et Chinon de M. PJ Druet…” by the Director of Ampelidæ, Frédéric Brochet.

Ampelidæ had then taken over the equipment and stocks of Druet’s wine business (possibly the vineyards too?) when Pierre-Jacques’ EARL (an agricultural limited responsibility company isolating the wine business assets from the farmer’s personal assets) had become bankrupt. So en primeur Druet wines had transferred (without obligation) to Ampelidæ.

Brochet agreed to honour these en primeur holdings, although not obliged to, providing interested parties also purchased a proportion of Ampelidæ’s own wines. Accordingly several cases of the last Druet wines and some Ampelidæ wines found their way – elaborately and eventually – back to Nottingham. John and Ann decided to show a selection to the group.

Ampelidæ is actually in the Vienne department, about 50 miles South of Bourgueil, and only 15 miles North of Poitiers. The Domaine is the passion of Frédéric Brochet, who became entranced by winemaking at an early age, and in 1995 during the first year of his PhD in “Oenology and Ampelology” started the Domaine based on inherited family vines. His aim is to marry organic and very modern techniques in a little known wine area. To create “contemporary wine … always concerned by the protection of nature and to reach an ideal of purity and intensity.”

Does he pull it off?

Here are my notes:

AMPELIDÆ “Le S” 2014
This is pungent, with toasted nutty elements, this gives way to a gooseberry and redcurrant nose. Very typical and the palate echoes this in a slightly new world intense way… this “faint praise” description is saved by a rather cool clean citric acid line. Correct rather than inspiring IMO.

AMPELIDÆ “Le C” 2014
Citrus and a slightly buttery nose, hints of sweet soft fruits. Palate is very lean, with a saline minerality, melon fruit and a creamy texture growing against a citrus backbone giving good length and some elegant interest.

AMPELIDÆ “PN 1328” 2014
Pinot nose, very fruit driven with herby and mineral accents. Palate is a little thin, sweet fruit but the length is increasingly composed of slightly bitter mineral tones. The least successful wine IMO.

BROCHET CABERNET FRANC “LA FUYE ” 2014
This has very typical green vegetal / pepper nose. Palate has a sweet raspberry edge, good acidity and a green (herby green not youthful green) tint. Slightly grainy supple tannin, quite long and correct and more Champigny than Bourgueil…

AMPELIDÆ “Le K” 2014
This is 75% Cabernet Franc; 20% Cabernet Sauvignon & 5% Merlot. A smoother nose than the previous wine – darker, black fruit, warmth and a hint of oak. The palate is rich with a quite sharp black fruit that hints in the direction of blackcurrant. The wine is integrated (perhaps helped by breathing) and further advanced than La Fuye, gestures towards an open claret (I had drunk a 2005 Graves [½ CS, ½ M] 2 days before and, although that had layers of complexity that this hadn’t [yet?], the structure and weight were very similar). Quite satisfying.

BROCHET QUARTS-DE-CHAUME 2014
Wow. This has a strong nose of stewed plum and apple, butterscotch caramel notes, mango, a hint of botrytis marmalade. The palate has luscious sweetness but has dashing acidity and immense length – fruit flavours abound in the apricot, apple quince spectrum. Very good but even this speaks of its modernity in being quite forward… Who cares about that – I would go for passion fruit, crème brûlée with this… now!

Overall the wines are all very typical, clean and well made. I found myself thinking many times they were “correct”. Which is praise, in the sense that they were enjoyable, recognisable and faultless – and may certainly be achieving the stated aims of the Domaine. However, the term can carry a slight implicit criticism of lack of character, or in this case not expressing something specific about Vienne wines, and I think that applies in a couple of cases…

I certainly exempt the Quarts from that caveat, by virtue of being better than correct, and – to a less pronounced extent – “Le K”… Other than that I enjoyed the Chardonnay more than the Sauvignon; the La Fuye better than the Pinot. The wines are all around €20 at the cellar door, except for the La Fuye (only €12) and the Quarts (€29)… and strangely enough I’d rate those two exceptions the best value…

Thanks to John and Ann for an extremely interesting tasting.

Until next time…

 

On Thursday February 20th the ICC Wine Group met to  look at Portuguese wines.

Here are my Notes:

HENRIQUES AND HENRIQUES 10 YEAR OLD SERCIAL, Madeira DOC – 20 % – Wine Society – £20 (½l)
Just Lovely! Notes of citrus, flowers, blossom, over-ripe peach… Palate has a smoky Madeira base, but dried fruit sweet hints undercut and lengthened by a dashing supple acidity that goes on and on, a wonderful aperitif as it gets the juices flowing: evocative, dashing, sensual and sensational! I think this is my preferred version of Madeira as it’s so versatile and unusual…
Ratings:        Quality:  18/20   Value:  15/20

SOALHEIRO ALVARINHO VINHO VERDE DOC 2015 – 12.5 % – Wine Society – £15
Floral notes at first, citrus and then a deeper oily note. The palate is fresh with light acidity but opens into something with under-stated depth, showing nutty and oily character. The acidity lifts the finish to produce a wine that will cope with a variety of starter dishes. This is the second time I’ve found Portuguese Alvarinho outstripping expectations formed by their Galician sister-wines!
Ratings:        Quality:  15/20   Value:  15/20
dscf1121
LAGAR DE BAIXO BAIRRADA DOC 2012 (Niepoort) – 12.5 % – Bottle Apostle – £22
Nose slow to open but showing fruit: cherry, red berries and prune – and quite an Italian balance. The palate has a slightly earthy introduction, a light tannin backbone and a long – very long – line of acidity taking the wine into mounting fruit-acid – red plums? cherry?. This fruity finish follows a spicy middle palate, which is the other way round to usual and rather satisfying. Very good!
Ratings:        Quality:  17/20   Value:  15/20

DOURO RESERVA DOC (QUINTA DE LA ROSA) 2013 – 14 % – Waitrose – £12
Mainly Touriga Nacional, this wine has a heavy nose with a dusty, herby impression. The palate is very dark: prunes, plum skins, currants… with a sweet element just glimpsed behind a dense, earthy, brooding, slightly porty, dark wine, later is becomes slightly softer and grainier. Probably needs 3 or 4 years to calm down its fierceness.
Ratings:        Quality:  14/20   Value:  15/20

TERRA D’ALTER ALFROCHEIRO 2014, Alentejo IGP – 14 % – Weavers – £12
This has a soft nose, with oak showing among bright bramble fruit, some leafy pungency fading slowly. The palate has slightly soft, “pastille” fruit – bramble and cherry, but rather simple and (dare I say it) a bit “New World”.
Ratings:        Quality:  13.5/20   Value:  14.5/20

MOUCHÃO 2010 Alentejo DOC – 14 % – Wine Society – £25
This is 70%+ Alicante Bouschet, a red fleshed grape, and the nose starts with pungent spice (fenugreek?) black berry fruits, and a hint of herbs. The palate has supple savoury tannins and controlled power, expressed in length as much as depth of flavour, opening to show a dark fruit and acid line that develops for ages. The power/savoury/dark fruit/length balance reminds me a little of good Pauillac – although with distinctive Portuguese flavours; and I think it’d improve for 2 or 3 years and stay at peak another 3. Very good!
Ratings:        Quality:  17/20   Value:  15/20

I found this a better-than-expected tasting. All wines showed their type well, and their scores pretty well reflected their cost – hence the value numbers are nearly all the same. The Alentejo wines, in particular, showed the contrast in the region so well: an international style from an indigenous grape (the Alfrocheiro is made by a flying winemaker, Peter Bright!) against a traditional style made with modern attention to detail. The latter knocked the spots off the former in my view and is well worth double the money!

Until soon!

On Monday 5th December the WING group met to taste English Sparkling Wine, a very seasonal topic led by Ralph.

There is a long history of wine-making, and particularly sparkling wine in England. However it is only since the 1950s that there have been significant commercial plantings, and it is only very recently that production has warranted attention by wine-lovers. This has been more pronounced in the case of sparkling wine and the prominence of a few well-known award winning domains (Nyetimber, Ridgeview, Camel Valley…) and a host of small niche ones…

Here are my notes:

HALFPENNY SPARKLING ROSÉ BRUT 2013 (Staffordshire)
This wine is from Pinot Noir and Seyval Blanc (a part non-Vinifera hybrid often planted in England).
A very pale redcurrant pink. A sweet fruit cordial nose with a herby hint (fennel?). The palate has a sharp green, rather malic, acidity which crosses over the mousse creating a frothy feel… leading to an early slightly bitter finish.

CHAPEL DOWN SPARKLING ROSÉ BRUT (Kent)
A “Champagne” blend. This is paler and slightly more orange colour. Early pungency – vegetal leading to a dark red fruit note. The palate is not bone dry, a firm acidity but more flexibly integrated with the fruit and mousse giving a lighter feel… but short…

BALFOUR 1503 OAST HOUSE CUVÉE (Kent)
Meunier dominated Champagne blend. Quieter nose, slightly honeyed, bready, sherbet opening to hints of orchard fruit. Palate has a good warm mousse, good open integration but a sweet pear finishing spike. Quite good though…

GIFFORDS HALL 2013 (Suffolk)
Champagne grapes again… Nose is rather confectionery, sherbet and a floral hint. Palate is surprisingly sweet with a separate bitter – quinine? – element.

HAMBLEDON CLASSIC CUVÉE BRUT (Hampshire)
Mostly Chardonnay. Nose is over-ripe, even shading to rotting-, apples… later some chardonnay notes. The palate is dominated by sharp, even aggressive, acidity. This seems to destabilize the mousse and only later leads to elements of fruit: Greengage (with the emphasis on the green?). Length and structure but so tart that one suspects some malic acidity…

RIDGEVIEW MARKSMAN 2010 (Sussex)
All Chardonnay… This too has firm sharp nose but creamy elements too, and warm bready notes. The palate is in balance, with the creamy mousse and citric acidity entwined, fruit is citric and orchard… Quite long, balanced and satisfying – the best!

The main factor in this tasting for me is the offset between the acidity and the mousse in these wines. To me the wines’ acidity seem to conflict with appreciation of creamy mousse, strong acidity almost knocking out the mousse and unbalancing the wine. Only wines 3 and 6 seemed to overcome this, and indeed only wine 6 led me to think of the acidity as citric rather than thinking of apples…

I imagine the fact that this conflict arises in English wines must – in some way – reflect a cooler climate, or how that inflects the issue of the handling of malolactic fermentation…Whatever – it’s only a tasting like this that can gives rise to these thoughts…

Thanks so much Ralph

Until next time…

Due to my absence (in the land of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc) I could not lead the ICC tasting this month. So a special guest led the tasting in my stead. This arrangement will probably persist over the next two seasons when I will miss, roughly, every other ICC Tasting.

This month the Tasting could hardly have been in better hands, with Ralph Northwood showing Riesling examples from Austria, New Zealand and Germany.

This report is not founded on my notes of course, but information and notes from those who did attend…

20161111_114100
PEGASUS BAY RIESLING 2009 (Pegasus Bay, Waipara, NZ)
This Winery is about 40 miles North of Christchurch in NZ’s S. Island.
They say that “this wine’s bouquet and flavour suggests citrus fruit, especially limes, along with peaches, nectarines, lychees, pineapple and tropical spices. The low crop levels have produced good fruit concentration and weight in the mouth. There is a core of minerality and tangy acidity, which flows through the palate, helping to draw out the wine’s length and balance its off-dry finish. While ready to drink on release, with careful cellaring, it should continue to develop and blossom for a decade or more.”
My spy at the tasting said:  “Greenish,  Lime, floral, diesel… Slight mousse, sweet but good acidity, well-balanced, European style, however went ‘sherbety’ by the end.”

BEL CANTO            WAIPARA VALLEY RIESLING 2009 (Pegasus Bay, Waipara, NZ)
The outcrop of land on which these grapes were grown consists largely of weathered stones. Millions of years ago these were torn off New Zealand’s Southern Alps and deposited in selected valleys. This individual terroir has shaped this wine. The winery claims: “ On release the wine has a beautiful lemon sheen. It exudes ripe citrus expressions intertwined with those of nectarines, peaches and greengages. This Riesling seems to expand in the mouth to become rich, concentrated and unctuous. It retains the poise, elegance and finesse that is typical of this most aristocratic of grape varieties. There is a flow of minerality, derived from the vineyard soils, which course through the wine and draws out its length. With careful cellaring it can be expected to develop additional fascinating nuances.”
But my beautiful assistant says:   “Darker colour.   Rubbery (tyres), herbs… Grapefruit, mousse again, drier but not so well-balanced. I found it duller than the first wine”

TERRASSEN FEDERSPIEL 2012 (Tegernseerhof, Wachau Austria)
The stone terraces of Wachau have a superb influence on Riesling Federspiel ‘Terrassen’ Tegernseerhof, producing a unique, distinctive wine. Delicate white flowers, citrus and stone fruit notes are balanced by a refreshing, crisp acidity and mineral tension. Decanter Magazine selected the 2014 as one of the “top 20 Rieslings to try”
My representative says:  “Lime, herbs, not so fruity….Grapefruit on palate, herbs, delicate. Still young but purer and more complex than NZs, and well-balanced..”

KELLERBERG 2007 (Tegernseerhof, Wachau Austria)
Kellerberg (literally ‘cellar mountain’) is arguably Austria’s most famous wine-growing mountain; and Tegernseerhof vineyards lie in a particularly favoured spot. The wind has brought in volcanic loess, adding fertility to the soils beneath the rocky terrain of the vineyard. Named after the cellar of the wine cooperative, which was dug under the mountain. The Kellerberg exposure is from south to southeast and faces into the so-called Flickathal – a cold area that produces its own microclimate, resulting in a wine with “cool elegance that seduces with aristocratic charm”.
My informant says:  “Diesel but also face powder.  Rosewater, lemon… Good grip, complex, subtle, well-balanced, elegant”

JOHANNISBERGER KLAUS KABINETT 2005 (Prinz von Hessen, Rheingau, Germany)
A note I found for this says: “Riesling with lively pale yellow color and slightly green reflexes, which has a very ripe scent. The aromas are subtly reminiscent of apricot, a touch of peach, some citrus fruit and cavaillon melon. In the background the fine fruit aromas are carried by a gentle character. On the palate, this Riesling convinces with a fresh, well-integrated acidity and a fine-fruited flavor. A wine with a pleasant length…”
My correspondent says:   “Violets, honey, orange, perhaps acacia and a ‘stinkier’ smell, though not unpleasant.  Puckering acidity, violets, orange blossom, refreshing acidity, good grip, well-balanced…”

SCHARZHOFBERGER SPATLESE 2002 (Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, Saar, Germany)
The Scharzhofberg vineyard lies in a side valley of the Saar River. It is probably the Saar’s most famous and climatically coolest site. It qualifies for the VDP and was also classified by Hugh Johnson and Stuart Pigott as a “Grosse Lage” (top site). With 6.6 ha (16.3 acres), Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt numbers among the largest owners with holdings in the site. Scharzhofberg is a south-facing slope with a grade of 35-60%. Its soil consists of loess, as well as coarse gray and reddish slate (up to 70%). These soils are less prone to weathering than those of the Kaseler Nies’chen in de Ruwer valley.
Wines originating from Scharzhofberg are distinctive for their penetrating, salty mineral tones and refined elegance. Even very mature wines continue to show an astonishing cornucopia of ripe fruit. The aging potential and vitality are the basis of the Scharzhofbergs legendary reputation worldwide.

Wine description on release:
“A brilliant start on the palate with lots of minerality and a pleasant acidity. Very ripe concentrated fruit, such as raisins, apricots, and peach, lends the wine depth and a variable mouthfeel with a wonderful play of sweetness and acidity. A great Spätlese with a tremendous future…”
My conspirator felt:   “Golden colour.  Toffee, caramel, creamy and linseed underneath. Gorgeous!!   Refreshing acidity, rich, caramely, puckering.  Elegant, good grip, subtle, complex – all of it!”

The couple of people I’ve heard from favoured the Europeans, and probably the Germans; and found “NZs compared to European:- much less complex and more ‘blousy’”!!

Many thanks Ralph for providing – as always -such an interesting tasting, and thanks too to those who have commented… feel free to join in….

Until soon!

Carrie and Laurie hosted a Sock Party for WING members on Friday October 28th. A very convivial evening with a consistently high standard of wines…

Here are my notes:

dscf1064
CRÉMANT DU LOIRE BRUT ROSÉ NV (Domaine de la Cune)              Welcome Wine
Red fruit – more raspberry than strawberry – with a peachy twist later on the nose. The palate has a herby, slightly green, hint – then raspberries again, quite long mousse and a slightly bitter acid lift at the warm finish. A good aperitif!

ALSACE GRAND CRU RIESLING “HENGST” 1999 (Barmes Buecher)          Laurie
This is quite golden, partly due to age but – unfortunately – partly oxidation, which increasingly masks the nose and the early palate with apple notes. Nevertheless: pungent diesel and smoky hints – with some tropical fruit (mango?), underneath. Fundamentally the palate has sweet peach, oily texture and a pithy grapefruit acid line emerging through to a powerful finish. A big Riesling attenuated by slight oxidation.

DIEMERSDAL GRÜNER VELTLINER 2015 (Durbanville, S. A.)           Kathryn
Fresh nose, with pear and peach notes – and a herby sharp tinge and an earthy (South African?) note. Palate is full of sprightly acidity with a green olive notes and lime finish. A surprising combination, that works well – although some of the archetypal Austrian GV character (white pepper, grapefruit…) are not present.

CARIGNAN BLANC VIEILLES VIGNES 2014 (Lavail)         Helen
White Carignan(!?) is in fact a white mutation of the familiar red grape, with under 500 hectares left in the world – mostly in Languedoc-Roussillon. This version, from Côtes Catalanes, has a quiet nose with hints of citrus and salt, showing some herbs as it opens. The palate is warm with hints of stone fruit, and a citric depth…

MORGENHOF ESTATE CHENIN BLANC 2015           Yvonne
Citric notes with some woody notes and a hint of honey. The palate is warm with some typical Chenin acidity showing orchard fruit in the middle and a slightly creamy oaky finish…

“CROSSING” SEMILLON / SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 (Juniper)        Sue
Fresh nose with nettles and herbs, and a slightly oily note. The palate has a balance of herby acidity and a soft fruit richness. A wine that expresses some typical element of each grape, within an integrated package – very good Margaret River wine!
dscf1069
“ONE-TO-ONE” OLD VINES PAIS 2015  (Morandé)     Brenda  
This turns out to be from the Maule Valley in Chile. This grape that originates in Castille where it has now disappeared, is now nearly all (95% of the world plantings) in Chile. Lately carbonic maceration has been used there to best control a tendency to astringent tannins. Indeed this wines has some Beaujolais character, showing light fresh fruit with a slightly “gummy” palate. The preceding nose has herbs, fresh red fruit and a hint of sweetness. Very interesting…

GIVRY 1er CRU “LA GRANDE BERGE” 2009 (Ragot)         Carrie  
It’s a couple of years since I tasted this last, and the firm acidity and under-evolved nose have both moved on. I found plummy fruit and hints of spice and farmyard on the nose and the acidity and graininess now softened on the palate to support a lovely food wine, a little on the rustic side of great Burgundy but very supple and pleasurable, ready now!

CHINON “LES TEMPS DES CERISES” 2014 (Domaine de la Noblaie)         Mike  
A very dark wine, which has earthy notes and bramble fruit. Palate has a lot of tannin and some raspberry notes, and after finding out that it’s Cabernet Franc I thought I could get a sappy wood hint. Much bigger than most Chinon, indeed than most Cabernet Franc, but a good food wine…

NUITS SAINT GEORGES 2010 (Chauvenet)         John
Also very dark, and dark – plum and prune – fruit nose with a spirity hint. The palate is quite firm with a woody element and a hint of fruit that is, at the moment, recessed. Suggesting some coiled-up class This wine seems more closed than when younger, we are told, so perhaps a dumb phase? On this showing I’d wait another 3 years…

TWO HANDS “ANGELS’ SHARE” McCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2015           Matt
Big woody first note with mint hints, blueberry and spice, and a – relatively restrained – pinch of salt! Palate is very big – black fruit with some supporting acidity and quite a grip of tannin. The palate shows little salt and this is a good example of a big, intense wine with a linearity that some (I confess I am one) might find too much…

“LA GROLA” VERONESE IGT 2012 (Allegrini)        Kim
Plum and prune in a very obviously Italianate nose with a slightly oily and smoky hint. Palate is dense with prunes and a delightful acid lift, which cries for food. This is IGT as the Corvina is supplemented by 10% Syrah… but very good!

ANGOSTO TINTO 2012  (Cambra)     Rob 
This Valencian wine has a sort of dark-Merlot nose: slightly sweet dark fruit and a hint of chocolate. The palate is similar with black cherry and dark plum flavours and a long but quite restrained acidity and tannins supporting… another food wine!

CH PUY SERVAIN TERREMENT MOELLEUX 2006      Farewell Wine
Nose has honey and a floral hint. Palate has warm sweetness with a hint of butterscotch and a long mounting orange marmalade later palate, with the acidity and hint of bitterness associated with that. Balanced and delightful with, a lip-smacking slightly tart, apple crumble… A lovely coda to the evening.

Thanks to everyone present for a lovely evening…

Until next time…

%d bloggers like this: