Preamble Tasting May 2004 
The wines of Portugal and South West France
Ben Mason and Michael Anderson, The Wicklow Wine Co.

1. Quinta de Cabriz Branco, Dão 2003
Slightly sweet, smooth, bit of tartar, some acid.  Quite refreshing, pleasant.  A blend; the second grape is Encruzado.  12%

2. Redoma Branco, Niepoort, Duoro DOC, 2002
Bit of oak on the nose.  Quite burnt.  Good fruit meets wood with excellent fresh acidity.  Fresh oaky palate; a food wine.  Good, but worth the price?  The grapes are Rabigato (Cat’s tail), Codega and Viosinho.  12.5%

3. Caso do Lago Reserva Tinta Roriz & Tinta Barocca, VR Ribatejo, 2000
Dark and clear.  Leathery nose.  Quite concentrated but ‘rustic’ and not too unctuous.  Decidedly ‘hot country’, but with enough acidity to keep it in check and too hide the alcohol – 14.5%.  Quite port-like and woody.  A very well-made wine from a good year.

4. Quinta da Cabriz Touriga Nacional, Dão 2000
'Light violet nose, restrained; more violets in the mouth, light but lots of depth.  Slightly meaty.  Said to be like Burgundy and the top wine of Portugal, but they can’t trace the Touriga Nacional grape.  Very nice but expensive.


5. Vertente Tinto, Niepoort, Duoro DOC, 2001
'Dark black cherry colour, Mineral nose with hint of violets. Good grip, some burn and plenty of violets in the mouth, cooled by a fresh acidity. Well-balanced. Very good. Made from port grapes; Touriga Nacional, TF and TR.

6. Mirage du Joncal, Bergerac 2000 
Nice, dark colour, a bit dumb.  New oak, vanilla, but not filtered, fined and no additional yeast; all natural.  A lot of fruit behind it, very well integrated for a 2000 wine (2000 was a good year in France too).  Will keep another 6 or 7 years. 70% Merlot, 30% Cab Sauvignon.  13% alcohol.  About 6,000 bottles made.

7. Les Chemins d’Orient, Cuvee Ariane, Pécharment, 2000
Wood on the nose, not too stern, berries.  Intense.  Lovely but preferred the previous. Will improve too.  Some sour milk from the Cab Sauvignon noticeable at the finish.  Cab Franc 25%, Cab Sauvignon 25%, 50% Merlot.  19 months in oak.  Pécharment is in NE Bergerac.

8. Le Carignan, Domaine d’Aupilhac, vdp de Mont Baudile, 2000
Dark, murky.  Spicy, smoky, warm, farm.  Bi burn, loads of fruit pastilles, fresh, refreshing, lovely.  Old wood only; all natural, no additives, yeasts etc.  Maker of this and next two is Sylvain Fadat.

9. Montpetroux, Domaine d’Aupilhac, Coteaux de Languedoc, 2000
Much more complex. Maybe slightly oxidised? Quite fresh with good grip. Very interesting but not my thing. Carignan 18%, Mourvedre 38%, Syrah 30%, Grenache 10%, Cinsault 4%

10. Le Clos, Domaine d’Aupilhac, Coteaux de Languedoc, 2000
Big, dark, broody, intense, fruit pastilles nose.Silky, oaky (new wood for 22 months).  Superb, fresh, intense, complex, balanced.  Shame about teh price, but gorgeous.  40% Mourvedre, 40% Carignan, 20% Syrah.  500 cases made; no 2003 (too ripe).

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