Preamble Tasting January 2003 
A Worldwide Tour of Wines
David Whelehan, O'Brien's

1. Blanquette de Limoux
Golden with an orange tint.  Biscuity, very pleasant nose.  Taste not as good as the nose, but pleasant nonetheless.

2. Chanson Chablis 2001
Light, gold-green.  Slightly floral, unusual nose.  Some chalk on the palate, mineral, fruit, quite acidic.  The makers are said to offer great hospitality.

3. Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc, 2002
Very light silvery green.  Citrus, grapefruit, cats pee and very pronounced (but it took a while to identify - passion fruit.  A big buzz on the palate, refreshing acid drops.  A lovely long finish of passion fruit with a saltiness at the end.  13%  Excellent, intense.

4. Jasnieres Cuvee St. Narcisse, 2000
Honey coloured; intense nose of wet wool and rubber.  Very concentrated, intense, honey.  Weighty and elegant, feels like it has more than 12% alc.  A beautifully rounded, elegant, weighty but balanced wine with intense flavours.  one of the best I've tasted in a long time.

5. St. Aubin Premier Cru, 1999
Light, golden green.  Huge but odd nose, hints of toffee, honey, pear, vanilla.  A heavy feel, smooth, balanced vanilla and fruit with butterscotch.  This is from near Chassagne nad Puligny Montrachet.  Surrounded by thick walls and at a low temperature
it is slow fermentation wine that is still very young; should be a stunner.

6. Montrachet 1997
Served blind.  Yellow brown.  Huge toasty oak on the nose; on the palate more oak, fruit, the lowish acidity of 1997 implies that it must be a grand cru because it is still young and with lots of toffee.

7. Chanson Fleurie 2000
 Very light, nose not so synthetic as many, hint of violets.  Good balanced feel; some soft leather tannins, elegant notes and fruit.  Will go ten years or more, they say.  This was very nice; quite an admission from someone who generally dislikes Gamay and maceration carbonique.  I'd love to try it when it is ready.

8. Pasetti Montepulciano 2000
Dark and clear with purply shades.  Said to be typically Italian but not to me.  Lots of big, robust fruit on the nose.  Some mouth-coating tannins, loads of fruit, some astringency - and has the guts to take it.  A very fine, big wine for the price.  Leave it a few years.

9. Vitiano, Falesco, Umbria 2001
Deep, sparkling red.  A little closed - something very unusual on the nose.  Very restrained fruit pastilles with a good, leathery feel.  Some burn, refreshing acid, long hollow tannin feeling with comforting warmth; big.

10. Abadia Retuerta Rivola, Sardon de Duero, 2000
Slightly lighter, still dark, clear.  Quite closed, some strawberry jam.  On the palate a wash of strawberries and raspberries, good burn, little (or well-hidden) vanilla. Another fine wine, and very good at the price.


11. Whitehaven Pinot Noir 2001
Very 'red'; light with an orange rim.  Nose a very esy strawberry.  Tastes of strawberries, good acid, lots of fruit.  A bit hololow - not my cup of tea but a very well-made wine.


12. Chateau Beau Rivage, AC Bordeaux, 1998
Another dark red, this time less clear.  Lovely fruitcake nose.  70% Merlot, with Cab Franc and Petit Verdot. About 2 km from Margaux.  Very sharp, sour milk.  Major disappointment after so many excellent wines. Pity.


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