Wine Tasting Review

This page covers the wines we've done at past tastings and highlights the ones we liked and the best sellers. It is not to say the others were inferior just these suited our palate .

30th September 2011

Prosecco Spumanti Torre Dei Vescovi
Night Harvest Zinfandel
St Clair Sauvignon Blanc
Saint Veran Drouhin
Meerlust Red
Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva
Tapiz Reserva Malbec

A private tasting organised by Joanne and Andy Millar for their friends. Our remit was a mixed of stuff you like, so basically a tasting for me.
The Prosecco is a personal favourite because it is fun fizzy stuff that does not take itself too seriously with hints of biscuit and apples. The Night Harvest has lost some of the strawberry juice characteristics since the last vintage I tried and does miss this so not as good as it was, the joy of vintages? St Clair is up there with the Cloudy Bay wines and this is a gooseberry, peach skin and a little hint of cat pee on the nose (but in a nice way). A classic chardonnay made by the folks who know how to make it (the French) and a rich buttery mouthful they have here but no nasty OTT vanillas. The Meerlust is a solid deep rich red with good oak and ripe fruits. The Nipozzano is one I was introduced to by a friend in Italy and what an absolute gem, Chianti as it should be with depth, complexity brilliant mouthfeel and a palate that goes on for a good long time, perfect for food or just on its own. Finally the grape Argentina has made its own and a belter of a wine Tapiz deliver here with a big fruit driven start buit developing the oak, tannin, depth and length, where was my Argentinean Steak!
As usual we held the charity raffle and raised £114.50 for the RNLI bringing the total up to £271.50 so far this tasting season thanks to the generous people who came.
Enjoyed by all who came so I am told, enough to look like there will be a rematch next year.
Thanks again to Jo and Andy

February 2011 - a mixed case

Torre Dei Vescovi Prosecco
Discovery Beach White Zinfandel
Paul Mas Viognier
Meerlust Red
Lapostolle Carmenere
Berton Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Paololeo Negroamaro

A bit of fizz to start the night and a lovely creamy rich glass of bubbles we were treated to. Good prosseco is a treat and this is a good one. Next a promise to fulfil to Gemma who is the baby of the wine bunch and a pretty Pink girl. Not sure she thanked me for this though as it had a horrible nose but if you could get past this it was a fun bit of strawberry sun needing a hot day rather than cold February. Viognier looked like it might be the next Chardonnay and get mass produced and ruined but thankfully it has not happened yet and this Paul Mas one is an absolute treat, slightly off dry, massive rich fruits, honey, long and crying out for a huge plate of seafood. I have found that reds from South Africa can be a little over cooked for my taste but this has massive spice on the nose and rich red fruit complementing these in the palate. The carmenere is a fruit driven wine with vanilla hints and finishing with soft tannins. Australia Cab Sauv = alcoholic fruit juice, box ticked and loads more, a big wine needing the steak to calm it down. Finally the Negroamaro from Puglia and the star of the night for me. So powerful, heavy, thick with dark fruits, expresso and rich oak and tannis finishing in spices, buit soft. The iron fist in the velvet glove.
As usual we had the raffle and thanks to the generous bunch we raised £47 for the RNLI, the tasting season total now stands at £644.
Until next time, cheers

September 2010 - France

Touraine Sauvignon Blanc
Ch. Lacarelle Beaujolais
Faiveley Mercury
Ch. Les Inferets Corbieres
Ch. Vieux Riviere Lalande Pomerol
Ch. Tour Haut Vignoble St. Estephe
Mourchon Seguret

France this time and after a slight mishap with ordering 6 reds rather than the usual 5. The Touraine is not a good advert for the Loire valley as it has the gooseberry nose but no reall rich fruit and on the palate I am afraid it is tart and too acidic. It may work with food better but to drink alone, leave it. Beaujolais has a bad reputation due to the desire to ship paint stripper to us as soon as it comes out of tank but given some time and it can produce good wine. The Lacarelle is a nice light lunchtime wine with nice hints of fruit and easy drinking. The Faiveley should have been the other white but the red was shipped, how I regretted not rectifying the mistake a very poor harsh pinot noir and no example of the joys that can come from Burgundy. The Corbieres heralded the heavier reds coming in and plenty of fruit with hints of tannin made this enjoyable but lacks some complexity for me which is what I want from the French stuff. The Lalande Pomerol had the complexity and depth of flavour but too much tannin due to being a 2007. This is one to buy now and drink in 5 to 10 years time, as I have a bottle left I might just do that as it has all the hallmarks of growing to a great wine. The St Estephe has another 4 years under its belt and by gum does it show the tannins have softened out and the softness and velvet texture strikes you before rich spice and ripe berries flood your mouth a little stunner. Finally the Rhone gets in on the act and the Mourchon is a big ballsy fruit driven Rhone powerhouse perfect for the cheese and pate and looking for a steak as well.
All in all a little mixed evening from France where once again they frustrate and delight me in equal measure but you can never call then one dimensional or boring.
The raffle raised £64 for the RNLI with Crystal winning the Louis Roederer Carte Blanche Champagne. Thanks to all for their generosity.
Until next time, bottoms up

February 2010 - Italy

Durello Prosecco
Torre Vescovi pinot grigio
Gavi Pio Cesare
Riff rosso merlot
La Borgata Primitivo
Villalta Valpolicella DOC Ripasso
Chianti classico reserva Villa Carffagio

Italy was the theme so on with the light fizzy Presecco, one I must admit I had put in for the ladies and was not looking forward to it. How wrong I was, a smashing fruity slightly fizzy mouthful of fun, summer days crying out for this one. Italian Pinot can be light and inoffensive, not this one, masses of oil in the middle made it offensive to me, really disliked the mouth-feel and taste. Gavi like this should be seeling by the case, excellent green apples, lovely structure and length making it a white to savour. The Riff was the first red so people we begging for it but if you had blind fold me I would have said it was a white, thin with only hints of fruit, summer lunch it may work but not for me on the night. Borgata make wines in a more New World style than traditional Italian and you get a fruit driven mouthful that is far too easy to drink, an any time red. When the Italians use the Rippasso method it adds that extra depth to a wine and this had good depth, length and bags of flavour, great to accompany antipasti of cured meats. Finally the Carffagio Reserva and the most expensive at £20.50 and standing head and shoulders above the others for me (as it should at that price), enormous depth, huge oaks and vanilla, masses of fruit and going on and on, venison steak needs this.

As usual we did the raffle in aid of the RNLI and thanks to the generosity of our Customers (again) they raised £72 bringing the running total for this tasting season to £523, thank you all.
I enjoyed our little trip to Italy with the best of the night being the Presecco for me delivering on all fronts, price, flavour and fun. September is some time off, (sorry the other job is getting in the way) but it does give us time to come up with something else, do we go to France or do a mixed case? Let us know if you have any preference.
Thanks A&C.

November 2009 - A mixed Case

St Clair Sauvignon Blanc
Piesporter GoldTropfchen Riesling Kabinett
Morgon Cote Du Py
Clos Mont Blanc Xipella Red
Paul Mas Cabernet Merlot
The Black Shiraz
Kopke 2005 LBV

The St Clair is a fine example of New Zealand sauv blanc with gooseberry and peach nose, furry fruits mouth feel and a solid hit of acidity and good structure. However the acidity did overpower a little for some. Riesling has a bad reputation, this one should not, a really interesting little wine with bags of honey yet tongue rattling acidity at the end, complex and good to have with a pud. The Morgon shows some pedigree with good tannin and soft fruits finishing with vanilla oak. For me it probably needs a couple more years in bottle to reach the level but enjoyable all the same, one to buy now and drink later. The Xipella is the opposite, drink it now. This is not old world Spain this is New World made in Spain with huge fruits on the nose and in the mouth, glugging juice. Paul Mas is a smashing producer from the Languedoc and this is a fine example of what should be produced in the region rather than vin du pay. big nose, great length, oak and spice. The Black Shiraz was renamed Black Tongue as everyone ended up with one when this was served. This is high alcohol (15%) Oz fruit juice but the alcohol only comes through on the nose, there is no harshness in the palate, fine example to warm you on the cold winter nights. Finally the oldest foreign owned port house late bottled vintage and a little smasher this was without any harsh edges just excellent smooth rich port with a real depth of flavour, enough here to make you fall back in love with port if you have not had one for a while.
The usual charity raffle was held but because of the low numbers (17 people) and even though they dug deep we only managed £15 this time bringing the running total to £218 for the tasting year so thanks again because everything helps the great organisation the RNLI is.
In summary and interesting night for me as it provided the mix of styles across borders with the Xipella and Black Shiraz been really fun, Morgon showing potential and the Mas showing what should be done in that region, the Kopke warming me and the Riesling soothing me with honey. Great night again and hope all who attended enjoyed it and hope to see all you again and more for February 2010 if not for us, for the RNLI. Cheers and have a fine and enjoyable Christmas. Andy and Christine x.

September 2009 - The Americas

Tapiz Sauvignon Blanc
Toasted Head Viogner
Vistamar Sepia Pinot Noir
Tapiz Merlot
Lapostelle Cuvee Alexandre Merlot
Tapiz Malbec
Night Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon
Echeverria Cabernet Sauvignon

The first of three wines from Tapiz and a classy sauv blanc with the peach skins nose hints of crisp ripe apple and gooseberry palate with good acidity, good start. At 14.5% I think this viogner could toast your head, massive oak and buttery notes with heavy vanilla and quite dense oils coming through, too big for me. The pinot needed less alcohol and more time on the skins to bring more flavour though, the alcohol overpowered the delacate wine. Tapiz number 2 and a great Merlot to boot, loads of the ripe red fruit, blackcurrants and hints of oak bringing in a cherry finish, marvelous. The big gun then, Lapostolle Merlot, £15 per bottle and 15% by vol. This was enourmous, not for the faint hearted at all but loads of stand out blackcurrent, like undiluted ribena, chewy and long lasting not shy or gentle but great with the Big Juicy steak it cried out for I'm sure, definately one for food. Tapiz number 3 and again a stunning little wine, not as heavy as the reserva we've done in the past but still full flavour vanilla, ripe big red fruit and a spicey finish. Night Harvest Cab Sauv and a good pepper, black fruit and spice cupboard nose coming up the same on the palate. I think this would be great with pate. Finally the Echeverria Cab Sauv and a good solid example of Chilean cab sauv great with a stew on a winters night.
We then had a treat courtesy of Diane Dibley (Diane Dibley Consulting on Mike Leach, a chocolate wine, fortified red wine blended with chocolate, sounded grim to me initially but very palatable, definitely one for the ladies or gent with a very sweet tooth or chocolate craving but very nice all the same.
As usual the charity raffle in aid of the RNLI and as usual our Customers dug deep and raised £103 to start this years fund rolling in fine style thanks to their generosity.
The Americas produced some interesting wine but for me Tapiz is the winner, this winery has produced some great reasonably priced wines, I just worry someone will work this out and the prices will rise.

May 2009 - Spain

Garcia Viadero Albillo
Clos Mont Blanc Xipella
Malumbres Tinto Reserva
Puerto Vieja Tinto Reserva
Vallemayor Reserva
Monte Real Tinto Reserva
Vina Albina Gran Reserva

The Albillo offer grapefruit and citrus in abundance on the nose with firm acidity, all it needed was some garlic Gambas. The Xipella uses grapes variety normally found in Cava and had chardonnay comparisons for me with slight buttery hints, Sue loved this and she knows her white so I will bow to her knowledge on this one, it was good. The first red was a beefy 14% from Malumbres and loads of fruit up front and nice big flavours. Then the first of 4 Riojas, Puerto Vieja was a good starter Rioja, not too complex but with good tannin and depth and the oak hints. The Vallemayor is great, we did the Gran Reserva last time we did Spain and this was still a great advert even thought it was just the reserva. best seller on the night and really a classic Rioja. The Monte Real was very interesting but really needed food, an example of wine being too much on its own, chewy and woody, with a steak or chirizo stew would be great. Finally the Gran Reserva and it did not disappoint. VFM wise at £22 it fell down a little but you are paying for age (1998) and the time laid down in barrels and bottle. Very complex, fruit, oak, vanilla and spices running for a long time on the palate.
As usual the charity raffle in aid of the RNLI and as usual our Customers dug deep and raised £72, thank you to their continued generosity. Running total is £725 with one more tasting to go this season.
All in all I enjoyed Spain again and the Vallemayor was my top one of the night but the Malumbres was a nice change too.

February 2009 - Australia

Wakefield Promised Land unwooded Chardonnay
Head Over Heels Forgotten Riesling
Pirie Pinot Noir
Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot
Brown Brothers Heathcote Shiraz
Hope Shiraz Malbec
Turkey Flats Butchers Block GMS

The unwooded chardonnay is such a nice change from the over oaked stuff that often comes out of Oz. The classic buttery notes are full on with this one and some nice citrus and green apples in the finish. Petrol on the nose and the first mouthful nearly had me pour this away but persevering with it got great rewards of floral and herbal notes with crisp acidity and a subtle little hint of sweetness at the end. The Pinot could have been from Alsace rather than Oz, delicate bouquet, light fruit and a hint of oak and vanilla to finish. The Cape Mentelle was just shy of being my favourite for the night, big cab flavours mellowed by the merlot to a lush and complex wine. Loads of pepper, spices and wood from the Heathcote. Thinner on the mouthfeel than the 14% should have given but a wine crying out for a steak if there ever was one. Then on to my favourite of the night. I had loved this when nosing and decanting it before the tasting and it did not disappoint, big berry flavours coming again and again, massive wine that will work with food or sipping on a dark night with someone you like. Finally the GMS and it was typical Oz, big brutal and full of fight. At 15% probably a little too big for me but loved by those who came and bought it as this was the top seller of the night.
As usual we held the charity raffle and raised £49 for the RNLI bringing the total up to £462 so far this tasting season thanks to the ever generous people who come.

November 2008 - Christmas

3 Stones Sauvignon Blanc - 2007 - New Zealand
Sud Viognier- 2007 - Languedoc
Santenay 1st Cru 2003- Dom. Capuano Ferreri - Burgundy
Chapoutier La Ciboise 2006 - Rhone
Clos Mont Blanc Masia la Comes 2001 - Spain
Neil Joubert Pinotage 2006 - South Africa
Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Australia
Delaforce Quinta da Courte 1987 - Portugal

Lovley nose on the 3 Stones, classic NZ sauvignon blanc of gooseberry and hints of peach, great acidity on the palate but lacking some fruit, promised more than it delivered. The Sud was a nice example of the viognier grape but seemed flat after the sauvignon, I've had it since and looks like I got the order of wines wrong. The Santenay was lovley and fruity, decanting earlier had removed the gamey nose, very dry and will work really well with food however light enough for Turkey. The Ciboise is a great entry level Chapoutier good depth and flavour. The Clos La Comes was very interesting, more structure and depth than the usual wines from here but still very new world in style, quite big fruits and lovely for sipping in the candle light keeping warm. The Pinotage is not subtle, big tannis, big fruit nose, big African wine as you'd expect - does exactly what is says on the tin (bottle). The Wakefield kept up to reputation and I still believe they make great wines with big everything but still easy drinking and enjoyable with the pepper spice and fruit you want from this - Big Berry fun. Finally the port, a single Quinta from 1987 (should have been declared a full vintage but wasn't)and this proves it, lovely depth of flavour, delicate colour showing its age wonderfully and lasting a long time, just what Christmas day was made for.
As usual we held the charity raffle and raised £76 for the RNLI bringing the total up to £208 so far thanks to the ever generous people who come.

Spetember 2008 - The Americas

Night Harvest white Zinfandel (blush)- 2007
Tapiz Torrontes 2007
Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Echeverria Merlot Maule 2007
Vista Sepia Carmanere 2007
Parducci Organic Zinfandel 2004
Tapiz Malbec Reserve 2004
Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Strawberry nose and palate, great fun and a good quality blush from California, slurping juice if there ever was. If you like Alsace white you'll love the Torrontes loads of floral notes, rich mouthfeel and herbaceous flavours. I really liked it but not popular on the night but that's the joy of wine everyone likes something different. The Laposolle sauvignon was too strong for me at 14.5% and the alcohol over powered the delicate fruit you would expect from this grape but again loved by someone who isn't normally a white lover. The Echeverria is a typical new world Merlot, big black/red fruits that explode in your mouth, not subtle and a quick finish but went down well with those who attended. The Vista Sepia was interesting with wood hints (despite it not being aged in wood)and some good fruit in the middle however it didn't stand up to the company it was it, another time it might have shone but there was too much quality, Championship rather than Premiership. Parducci is produced at a carbon neutral winery so we have the green credentials and a really good example of Zinfandel with plenty of complexity and length. Then came the real classic top dog of the night, Tapiz Malbec reserve, what a fantastic wine; great nose, full bodied, loads of length, fruit and a brilliant example of how good Argentina use this grape to make great wine. Top seller of the evening and one that if you see, buy, if you want some contact us and we'll get some for you do not miss out on this if you can help it. Finally the Lapostolle Cab Sauv and a monster at 15% that has all the hallmarks you'd expect of this Chilean offering - big beefy blackcurrants and spice stripping your tongue and turning you purple. I think Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate factor must have drunk this when she swelled up like a blueberry. Excellent choice to complement a heavy stew or rich hearty winter food. The Americas did us proud and I think I am safe in saying another good night was had by all.
We did the usual raffle in aid of the RNLI and raised �44 so thanks again to the generosity of all our Customers. The total for this season now stands at �132 and counting.

July 2008 - Italy

Gavi Antario - Tenuta la Marchesa 2007
Riff Pinot Grigio IGT Terra Alpina - 2007
Chianti Classico 'Villa Cafaggio' - 2005
Tedeschi San Rocco Valpolicella - Vino di Ripasso - 2005
La Borgata Montepulciano d'Abruzzo - 2006
Nivura Nero d'Avola, Santa Tresa - 2005
Arione Barolo Gigi Rosso - 2003

The Gavi had a clean crisp acidity and the Pinot had some fruit but I still struggle with Italian white unless there is a blazing sun and I want something very light. The Chianti was excellent, loads of fruit, hints of oak and vanilla and crying out for a rich meaty pasta dish. The Valpolicella was amazing bringing loads of flavour and complexity, the marc has added something here that I loved, but not to everyones taste. La Borgata was the top seller, fun fruity and easy to drink, no complaints on this one. The Nivura was massive and one to strip the enamel from your teeth with the tannins and big fruit, needs a rare steak. Finally the Barolo and it didn't disappoint, did exactly what you expected with huge flavours then after a while in the glass, opening up further and softening out, a class act.

February 2008 - Spain

Xenius Cava
Malumbres - Rosada 2006
Clos Mont Blanc Syrah - 2003
Vallemayor Gran Reserva � 1995
Rincon de Navas Reserva - 1997
Valduero Crianza - 2003
Murrieta Tinto Reserva - 2002

Cava is cheap horrible stuff served at the reps welcome party in Benidorm! NOT this one, Xenius is dry, crisp with lovely balance and a hint of cream, this beats any Champers under £15 hands down and a great seller. The Rosada wasn't as well received but I think the cava eclipsed it a little, on going back to this the strawberry nose comes through on the palate, sunny summer afternoons for this one. The Syrah was the top seller loads of fruit, a new world style from the Old World and very enjoyable too. The Vallemayor was classic Gran Reserva Rioja, I could have sipped this all night and never have tired of it. Rincon was an enjoyable Rioja just needing some Tapas to make it great. The Valduero from Ribera del Duero was a great Rioja style wine from the next region along and I can see why this is hoping to pass Rioja as the best region in Spain, they really work hard to deliver a great wine here. The last of the evening was the Murrieta, their second wine after Y'gay but no second place in my view, a big powerful Rioja, loads of punch and an impressive 14.5%, not for the faint hearted, a bull in full flight - Bull 1 Matador 0 on this one.

November 2007 - New World

We went to Oz, New Zealand and South Africa for this one:
Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2005 - NZ
Tyrell�s Old Winery Semillon 2005 - Oz
Klein Constantia Chardonnay Reserve 2004 - SA
St Clair Merlot 2005 - NZ
Sylvan Vale Pinotage Reserve 2003 - SA
Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - Oz
Wakefield Estate Shiraz 2006 - Oz

Palliser is a classic NZ sauv. blanc loads of peach and softness kissing your tongue delicately. I still can't get on with Semillon as a grape even on this one which was a good example but if you like the grape you'll like this one. The Klein had all the new world Chardonnay characteristics one would expect, lacks subtlety but does exactly what you want if you like the new world oak approach. The Merlot was top draw, black cherries and a soft and gentle mouthfeel one bottle would never be enough, one you can drink and drink. Pinotage can be feisty, this one was and came back at you for some more, good strong flavours and wanting not just to complement your meal but eat it for you too! I've loved Vasse Felix since I first tried one about 8 or 9 years ago. This is still a great wine, expensive compared to a lot of the new world stuff but Western Oz makes great wines and this is a great example. Wakefield make classy wine (try the St Andrews if you get the chance and a few pounds in your pocket) and this is a lovely Shiraz with the pepper you want, loads of fruit, great length and flavours that assault your mouth, like the inhabitants nothing subtle but great fun.

June 2007 - France

Our first wine tasting and it had to be France because for me it is the home of wine and generally because we are Old World people at heart. France offers everything from the worst to the finest and all shades in between.
Apologies for the lack of dates but I lost the tasting notes and the review is based on my jaded old memory, but I remember the good ones.

Monmarthe Premier Cru - Champagne
Sancerre Rose - Ch. De Fontain Audon
Saint Veran, Drouhin
Gewurztraminer, Hugel
Ch. Haut Badon Gr. Cru St Emilion
Crozes-Hermitage les Meysonniers - Chapoutier
Domain Paul Mas Clos des Mures

The Champagne was average. The Sancerre lacked flavour and was such a disappointment. Drouhin makes good wine, if you like classic Chardonnay gently aged in oak with oak hints, subtlety and flavour this is for you (it was for me and Christine too - lovely). If you like Alsace whites, German grapes made into proper wine by those who know how to you'll enjoy this. A good introductory level Gewurzts. The St Emilion had a great nose and nice woody hints but the fruit you expect didn't come through, shame as Chris loves SE. Then a big boy came in beat us up, made us drink this Crozes-Hermitage and demanded we like it, this is a fantastic Crozes loads of fruit, alcohol, tannin and reminds us why we love French wine. Last but not least the region that provides so much for the EU wine lake with thin badly produced wines but not Paul Mas. Produced in an enclosed vineyard this is a thick, rich, hearty red made for winter evenings and rich venison stew (or a home made steak and kidney suet pudding). This wine was made to be drunk with roast beef and I have.

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