Preamble Tasting October 2003 
Return Ticket - Austria and Back, via Italy
Frank Searson and Brian Smullen

1. Huai Winery Pukenga Winery, Marlborough Riesling, New Zealand, 2002
A bit closed.  No hint of petrol.  Good fruit and acidity, appley, hint of Alsatian Riesling character at the finish. Natural yeasts.

2.Weissenkircher Achleiten Riesling Smaragd, Freie Weingartner, Wachau, Austria
More definitive nose.  Some honey added to the petrol. Good acid, minerally, a little residual sugar, very long, lemony finish. 13%.  A good wine. Reading the label:  Weissenkircher is the village; Achleiten the vineyard;  Riesling grape; Smaragd (Emerald) is the highest level of quality, producer is Freie Weingartner, Wachau is the area (on the Danube).

3. Josephshofer Riesling Spatlese, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, Mosel, Germany, 1999
A big, upfront nose. Incredibly rich, quite sweet and with a good blast of petrol coming behind. Not so minerally, lovely honey.  Josephshofer is a monopole: This great and historic vineyard is sandwiched between two of the Mosel’s most revered sites: the Graacher Domprobst and the Wehlener Sonnenuhr.  The co-owner and winemaker is Annegret Reh-Gartner; all her vineyards are 100% Riesling.

4. Primitivo Salento, San Giorgio, Italy, 2001
Nice light colour.  Quite restrained nose.  Quite minerally, good fruit and tannin. Perhaps too bitter without the body/structure to support it.  13.5%

5. Il Labirinto, Rosso di Toscana, Fattoria Poggerino, 2000
Light, clean red.  Light, almost feminine wine, cherry fruit and supple oak with herb overtones.  Better in the mouth than the nose suggests. 100% Sangiovese. Very nice.

6. Barbera d'Alba, Ansisa, Cantine Terre da Vino, 2001
Rounded, smooth, brambly fruit.  For drinking now. Pleasant.

7. Palistorti, Colline Lucchesi, Tenuta di Valgiano, 1999
Deep red.  Loads of fruit and crunchy tannins in a very well-balanced, very together wine.  Long finish.  Lovely.  70% Sangiovese, 20% Syrah, 10% Merlot.

8. Valpolicella Superiore, Ripassa, Zenaot, 2000
Dark.  Long legs.  Rich, fruity, great bitter kick.  Some residual sugar. Will last 4-5 years.  Mostly Corvina (60%) with Rondinella and Molinara.  Lovely.

9. Ripasso di Valpolicella Superiore, Corte Sant' Alda, 1999
Somewhat lighter.  More serious nose; fresher, more mineral, much more bitterness; smoky, leathery, leaner, more structured.  Needs time.  Not sure I'd drink a lot of it.

10. Alberto, Vino Rosso del Veneto, Zenato, San Benedetto di Lugana, 1998
Dark but clean.  Big bitter almond nose.  rich, herbaceous, big extract.  Meaty, dense; a little sweetness at the end complements the silky tannins.  Beautifully balanced. 40% Cab Sauv, 30% Merlot, 30% Corvina. Very small production from Sergio's son.  Superb but a bit pricey.

11. Exceptional Reserve Riesling, Freie Weingartner, Wachau, Austria, 2000
Deep yellow green. A more refined petrol on the nose.  on the palate semi-dry, honeyed, good blast of fresh acidity, orange peel.  Extremely clean.  Harvested as late as 9th November and fermentation stropped at 13%.  residual 15g/l.  Gorgeous. Shame about the price.

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