Preamble Tasting May 2003 
Treats from the cellar of Terroirs
Sean and Francoise Gilley

This was a special occasion with some amazing wines.  It was the last tasting before our esteemed chairman, Mark Downes, stepped down, having made a huge contribution to the society over some 14 years.  Live long and prosper!

The usual star ratings are inappropriate in many cases. I think I'll have to have a separate 'goodness' and 'value' rating.

1. Didier Dagueneau Pouilly Fume 'Silex' 2000
Light golden green, with gooseberry and grapefruit on the nose; not the piercing kind, described as more feminine.  Beautiful, mineral, rounded, good buzz (14.2%) and refreshing acid.  Made by the 'wild man' of the Loire, frows on a limestone terroir and is barrel ferments.  Should last ten years.  Beautiful.  went very well with crab claws.

2. Chateau Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Leognan, Grand Cru Classe de Graves, 1998
Deep green yellow with long legs.  Grapefruit and exotic fruits and a hint of toast.  Rounded, heavy and not at all flabby.  A big wine with good acid, hint of oak, good burn, grapefruit ending.  54% Semillon, 44% Sauvignon and 2% Muscatel. Oak fermented, new and old oak for 15 months, two years on lees.  Last another 10 years or so. 12.5%

3. Isabel Chardonnay, Marlborough, NZ, 2001
Presented blind.  Long legs.  Huge, oaky, fruity, fresh nose.  Could be a good Burgundy; possibility of Fume Blanc.  toasty, young, minerally.  One of the new cult domains with lime sub-soil, this is 100% Chardonnay, hand-picked, new and old oak barriques, capable of aging 2-3 years.  14%

4. Chateau de Targe, Saumur Champigny 'Cuvee Ferry', 1996
Light red with very light rim, again long legs.  Comes through as quite aweet on the nose; mint, lavender, violets, jam.  Quite stern, a bit astringent initially, unusually rounded for Cabernet Franc; a little nice, supple tannin.  100% Cabernet Franc grown on pure chalk, 12 months in oak, plus 18 months before release.  12.5%  Very nice, very unusual, recommended with lamb. 

5. Chateau Puech-Haut, Coteaux du Languedoc, 1999
Very deep, dark, murky.  Lovely, rich, spicy nose.  Full, fruity, young but very good extract.  Syrah, old Carignan, Grenache at 28 Hl/Ha.

6. Inama, Cabernet Sauvignon 'Bradisismo', Veneto, 1997
Beautiful, deep, clean red.  Very concentrated.  Smoky fruit, beautifully put together Softened tannins.  Will develop.  Young winemaker puts this together from Carmenere 30%, Cabernet 60% and Merlot 5%. This is the only DOC Cab Sauvignon in Veneto; grown on terra rossa soil, same as in Coonawarra.  Bradisismo is a slow earthquake from trapped gases, I'm told. Lovely but a bit pricey at ...


7. Delectus Merlot, Napa Valley, Ca, 1997
An unfiltered wine that is clean and crisp looking, big fruity nose   Quite restrained on the palate, but a good body.  takes a while to grow on you.  Gerhardt, the winemaker, went from Austria to California; was with Clos du Val.  He contracts with the best growers and makes it with 93% Merlot and 7% Cab Sauvignon.
c. 80

8. Chateau Palmer, Margaux, 1986
Clean, clear.  Big nose of really rich, dark fruitcake.  Lots of kick still. Complex.  Elegant.  Loads of fruit overcoming the tannins that give it some grip.  Merlot 40% Cab Sauvignon 55% and Petit Verdot 5%.  20-28 days maceration.  A truly wonderful wine.

9. Jean-Marc Boillot, Volnay 1er Cru 'Pitres', 1994
Light in colour and not a huge nose.  A wash of strawberries but without the acid to give it life.  I hate to say it but a sense of faded elegance that says that it's a little past its prime. Shame.
120 magnum

10. Coteaux du Layon, 1969
From Francoise's father's cellar - a 1969 from one of the Loire's most renowned appellations.  100% Chenin Blanc and still decadent after all these years.  Golden in colour, a huge, powerful nose. On the palate a hint of foie gras with which it was served (and went with rather well if I say so myself).  Francoise's father bottled it himself.  he can't remember who made it but it came from the village of Rochefort (I think).  A magnificent, graceful wine.  An experience.


A special word of thanks to the Gilleys for their generosity. Maybe Mark should retire a few times!

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