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The Christmas Extravaganza
Tony Fahy & Mark Downes

1. Verdelho Sandalford, Margaret River, W. Australia, 2004
Fairly dumb.  In the mouth a burst of lemon and lime and plenty of acidity. Some sweetness, possibly due to the 14% alcohol, but no noticeable burn. Lovely.
Gleasons, Superquinn, ~17

2. Rully 1er Cru, 'Gresigny', J.M. Boillot, Cote Chalonnaise, Burgundy
Slight hints of pear and oak on the nose. Rich and creamy with good acidity and long finish. Not very long lasting; drink within 3-4 years of the vintage. 13% Wouldn't pay this for it though.
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3. Verdiccio di Matelica DOC, La Monacesca, Marche, Italy, 2003
Big apricot nose.  very full, great fizzy acidity, rich, candied apricot, long, long finish and a bit of flint behind it all.  Very nice. 13.5%

Redmond's, McCabe's, 13.49

4. Steenberg Nebbiolo, Constantia, S. Africa, 2003
This was served blind; I thought it like the Langhe wines, hence it had to be Nebbiolo - unusually, I was right. Medium bodied, with hints of stewed prunes, spice, a bit medicinal and burnt: 15% Very interesting but way too young.
Vaughan Johnson, 18

5. Ch Tournefeuille, Lalande de Pomerol, 2000
Beautiful, dark red. Quite woody nose, soft, but still some tannins.  Good burn, quite restrained. Still a bit young. 90% Merlot, 10%; Cabernet Franc, 13% alc.

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6. Bandol, Chateau de Pibarnon, Comte de St. Victor, 2003
Lovely nose.  Soft tannins and loads of fruit, spicy, warm; I like it. This is one of the two main chateaux of Bandol (the other is Domaine Tempier). 19 monmths in large oak barriques, low yield. 90% Mourvedre, 10% Grenache. 14% alc.  Drink within c 5 years of vintage. (Monastrell, grown in Spain and thought to be identical, is now known to be no relation to Mourvedre, although Mataro, grown in California, is identical).

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7. Vergelegen 'Icon', Stellenbosch, S. Africa, 2001
Deep and dark, really nice nose. Bordeaux blend Beuaitfully fruity, ends with a hint of bitterness.  It's 60% Cab Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% of something else.  Given the bitterness, could be something Italian. 15% alc.
Gleason's, 
40

8. Vina Ardanza, La Rioja Alta, Reserva, Spain, 1998
Really light in colour. Elegant nose. Soft vanilla, loads of fruit, raspberry, fresh, gorgeous. Tempranillo with 20-25% Garnacha. Alc 13%.  Superb at the price.
Woodford Bourne, 27 - 30

9. Saint-Joseph, Vignes de l'Hospice, Domaine Guigal, 2000
Dark, much darker than expected. Dumb initially, opens as it warms.  Slightly smoky, mulberry.  peppery, fruity, silky, elegant. Another few years and it'll be even better. 100% Syrah. 13% alc. Wine of the night for many.
 
65~

10. Brunello de Montalcino DOCG, Pieri Agostina, Tuscany, Italy, 1999
Mid-red, very unusual nose - can't figure it out at all. Big, crunchy, fruity, powerful; this is 100% Brunello (a Sangiovese Grosso clone). Fresh acidity, cherries.  Long finish. 14.5% alc. Two years in Dalmatian oak.  Fantastic, shame about the price.
Gleason's 
44~

11. 'Old Vine' Grenache, Craneford, Barossa Valley, S Australia, 2002
Beautiful, spicy nose.  Pungent, spicy, fruity, aniseed. Fresh. Not for keeping; best in 5 years they say, but I'd keep it a couple of years.  50% of the vines are 97 years old, the rest 56 years or more. 15% alc. Bargain of the night.
Gleason's 
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8. Scheurebe Spatlese, Durkheiner Spielbergn Darting, Pfalz, Germany, 2003
Dark yellow.  Big nose of grapefruit - unique to Scheurebe.  Even pink grapefruit! Bitter sweet. Gorgeous. This is a Sylvaner cross with an unidentified wild grape variety (although the presenters said Riesling) made in 1916 by Dr. Scheu. 10% alc.
JKL Wines, 14

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