Preamble Tasting December 2001 
The Tasting We Can't Afford
Mark Downes, Chairman

That time of the year has coime around again where the chairman raids the club funds and presents some very special wines.

1. Chateau Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Leognan, Grand Cru Classe de Graves, Kressmann, 1995
Deep brown-green.  Rich citrus nose.  Citrus and pineapple good balance between acid and fruit.  Quite dry.  Lovely!  Kressmann is the negotiant (and owner of the chateau, I think).  The wine is made by Michelle Roland and comes from a 6 ha. vineyard. The composition is 55% Semillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscatel.
Terroirs £26

2. Tete de Cuvee, Chateau Puec-Haut, Coteaux de Languedoc, Gerard Bru, 2000
Light gold.  Big nose of toasty oak.  Fresh and fruity, with the oak not overpowering.  Warming!  Gorgeous, unusual.  Rousanne 55% and MArsanne 45%.  Same maker (roland) as above.  Aged 8 months in new oak.  Bru is a wealthy supermarket owner who bought the house of the mayor of Montpelier and moved it stone by stone to the vineyard. 
Terroirs £29

3. Cuvee Theo Gewurtztraminer, Domaine Weinbach Alsace, Colette Faller et ses Filles, 1998
Deep green with an unexpectedly floral, buttery nose. Creamy, hint of buterscotch, bursting with fruit.  Long finish of tea.  13.5% alc.  Being picky, as I feel entitled to be at this price, it's got a bit too much cream of tartar for me.Having said that, it is quite lovely.  My beloved wants to buy lots of it :( 
Terroirs £23

4. 'Milenium' Vina Tarapaca, Maipo Valley, Chile, 1996
We had it last year and thought it too young then.  Mid red, hint of orange.  Big nose.  Syrah comes through on nose.  Stern but fresh, hit of rubber?  Quite nice but I wouldn't rush out to buy it (and others agreed). Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz.
Gleesons c.£30

5. Chateau Kirwan Grand Cru Classe, Margaux, 1997
Mid red.  Farmyard nose not very pronounced.  Quite tannic.  Rubber and silage and maybe not enough fruit.  Nice, but a bit light and stalky, and not going to improve.  Not doing it for me.

6. Gran Coronas 'Mas la Plana' Gran Reserva, Miguel Torres, Spain, 1985
Dark, quite murky.  Nose a bit quiet, some blackcurrant.  Spicy, fruity, not too full, quite stern.  Maturing nicely.  Single vineyard, now 100% Cab Sauvignon; it used to have Tempranillo as well.
McCabes £25

7. Delectus Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, 1996
Deep red, rich and smooth  Warm.  Cab Sauvignon on the nose.  Fruit, sternness, slight sharpness, crunchy tannin.  Very different, fresh, lovely, but pricey.  Prefer it to previous though.  Listed top 10 in US.  Hand crafted, reserve wines from Clos du Val and Duck Horn.  Alc. 13.5%
Terroirs >£50

8. Chianti Rufina Reserva, Selvapiana DOCG, Tuscany
Lovely clean deep red.  Classically Italian nose.  Some Madeira cake.  Spicy, well-knitted tannins.  Quite stern, astringent finish.  Very nice.  NE of Florence, 100% Sangiovese from the excellent Francesco Giuntini.  Alc. 14%

Terroirs  £22

9. Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 'Les Pruliers', Domaine Robert Chevillon, Cote d'Or, 1992
Light orangey.  Really farmyard.  Still fresh, strawberry and raspberry.  Quite (too?) light, really refreshing, elegant. Hold up to 7-8 years?

10. Vina Ardanza Reserva, La Rioja Alta, Rioja, Spain, 1995
Light red.  Farmyard nose, not very big.  On the palate rich, fresh, elegant, fruity.  Soft and complex.  Very good, standing up well to the very strong competition preceding it.  Has 5% Mazuelo (Carignan) and 5% Graciano (a rare, perfumed Rioja grape that is difficult to grow and may be the same as the equally rare Morrastel of the Languedoc).
Mitchells £20

11. Duas Quintas Reserva, Adria Ramos-Pinto, Duoro, Portugal, 1994
Dark, slightly murky.  Christmas cake (some got medicinal) nose.  Soft tanninsfruit, sl medicinal, smooth, gorgeous.  Still a few years in it too.  Touriga Nacional and Tinta Barroca.
Searsons £22.75

12. Steenberg 'Catharina', Constantia Valley, South Africa, 1998
Deep red.  Warm, rich, hint of acetone.  Big, but a bit less buttery over the range.  Good tannins (too much?)  Still young, quite elegant, peppery minty finish.  Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged in new oak.

13. Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Zenato, Veneto, Italy, 1997
Lovely deep colour.  Bit of atypical (for an Amarone) sweetness on the nose, and subsequently on the palate.  The amaro (bitterness) is there, but not as much as I like.  Very elegant, but the sweetness not balanced by ačnough amaro. Not typical.  I love the Zenato Ripassa, but this doesn't measure up to expectations. 14.7%

14. Traditional Late-bottled Vintage Port, Ramos-Pinto, Portugal, 1995
Gorgeously smooth.  Perhaps a hint sweet.  Elegant and still a bit of burn but nothing too crude.  Civilised and refreshing.  19.5%
 Searsons £17.99

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