The Grand Christmas Tasting
Tony Fahy and Mark
This is the traditional 'Tasting we
can't afford'; as such, we are often drinking very expensive or
unobtainable stuff and it is very difficult to give star ratings; I've
tried to be less price conscious than usual this time.
1. Soave Classico, DOC,
Quite floral; lemon and
almond. fresh and unusual with a hint of butterscotch and a nice
zing. 90% Garganega and 10% Trebbiano di Soave, this is not your
usual dull Soave. 12%.
On the Grapevine, €16.99
2. Rully Premier Cru Gresigny,
JM Boillot, 2002
Huge, smoky oak nose. Very
lemony. Needs more time for the oak to tone down. Very nice, though,
with a long finish
Terroirs €30 approx
3. Riesling, Leeuwin Estate
Art Series, Margaret River, WA, 2002
A teeny hint of kerosene;
beautifully petrol-y, full, good acidity, citrus, hint of pineapple,
clean, long finish. Excellent. Even my Riesling-phobic beloved
liked it. 12.5%
Chateau des Erles, Fitou AC, Lourton
Dark, clear red.
Unusual nose; maybe a hint 'synthetic'? Deep liquorice, black
pepper, good acid, oak sweetness, blackberry. They say it will
develop for seven years. All old vines; Grenache 40%, Syrah 35%,
Carignan 20% and Merlot 5%. Carignan apparently 'sterilises' in hot
climates! 14% alcohol. A very fine wine. Shame about the
5. Merlot, Falesco,
Umbria IGT, 2001
Another dark wine. A
bit dumb, some dark fruitcake. Quite stern, leather; silk with a bit
of rasp. I wasn't all that impressed; the others were, though. 12.5% alcohol.
Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2000
Served blind; a Bordeaux
look-alike. Absolutely lovely, will improve for years (up to 15,
according to the blurb). Won best Bordeaux blend \t the London Wine
Show. 14.5% alcohol.
7. Chateau Gloria, St Julien,
Served blind. Quite
stern. Didn't appear to have the cedar and other goodies I associate
with it, anf that I found last month. Bottle difference?
8. Chianti Classico, Il
Molino de Grace, Italy, 2001
Looks lovely. Quite
dumb but explodes in the mouth. Lovely cherry-stone finish.
Better in a couple of years. 13% alcohol. Very nice.
Santenay, Jean Claud Belland, Cote
d'Or, Burgundy, 1999
Smoky nose, lots of fruit;
strawberry, raspberry, more smoke. Very nice, fresh.
Alcohol 13%. The most southerly part of the Cote d'Or. I
like this, and not a bad price for decent Burgundy either.
10. Vina Ijalba, Rioja
Whopping nose, beautifully
fruity, chutney! Silky, fruity, great backbone, silky tannins.
Some greenness still. Beautiful. I think it would go another
few years but the blurb says 10 years from vintage. Only 15,000
bottles made; Tempranillo 50%, Graciano 50%. The high acidity of the
Graciano grape makes it a good candidate for blending with low-acid
varieties like Tempranillo, although its sparse yield is prompting many
Spanish growers to replace it with more productive vines. A similar
situation exists in France's Languedoc-Roussillon, where Graciano (known
there as Morrastel) is also being replaced. Superb!
11. Alberto, Vino Rosso
de Veneto, Zenato, 1998
Wonderful, warm, fruity,
well-balanced, complex, wonderful. Cab Sauvignon 70%, Merlot 15%, Corvina
15% (dried). Alberto is the son of Sergio and this was, apparently,
made for his 30th birthday. What a wine!
12. Petit Verdot,
Craneford, John Zilm, Barossa, SA, 2002
Dark mpurple, violet nose.
Jammy, silky, fresh. Gets better in the glass (was too cold).
Still sopme coating tannins. Quite spicy. Said will last 15
years. Alcohol 13.5%
13. Ramos Tinto, Tawny
Port, 10 years old
Really light, still red!
Nutty nose. Lovely, light, quite burning, not well integrated;sweet
but quite fresh. Quinta system. Not up to expectations.
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