The Tasting We Cannot Afford
Mark Downes and Tony Fahy

Very hard to apply the usual star ratings - partly because we didn't have prices for everything and partly because it was an extravaganza ....

1. Chablis Premier Cru, Foret,  Domaine Raveneau, 2002

2. RuIly ler Cru, La Pucelle, Jean Marc Boillot, Cote Challonaise 2004
Beautifuil nose, hint of wood.  Not overly fat; beautifully balanced, fruit, mineral, acid with a long finish. 13.5% Yum!
Terroirs c. €39

3. Riesling, Alsace Grand Cm Rosacker,
Sipp Mack, Hunawir, 2003

Deeper than usual greeny-yellow. Big petrol nose, hint of honey. Clean. Lovely finish. 12.5% From 1.3 ha on the hill of Rosacker.
Mitchell's €

4. St. Nicolas de Bourgueil, AC L’envol, Gerald Vallée,  Domaine de la Cotelleraie, Loire Valley, 2004
Deep, dark red. Bit dumb, but hits you with a big zesty mouth-feel, good leathery grip, decent acidity, elegant.  Bit of bitterness at the end.   Very pleasant. 100% Cabernet Franc from 60 year old vines, aged in oak for one year. 12.5%.
Terroirs €

5. Alter Ego de Palmer, Margaux AC, 3eme Cru, 2001
Garnet, crystal clear. Lovely fruit and a burst of animal.  Elegant, deep, big extract, fruit and acidity, good grip, long fruity finish . Way too young but absolutely gorgeous; not a step wrong  Lovely but pricey, and maybe even worth it.
McHugh's €65

6. Barolo, Roggeri Ciabot Berton, Oberto Marco
Lighter, brow-red, long legs. Nose a bit understated.  Quite fiery, very fresh, hugely fruity - fruit gums! Ends with fresh fruit. Matured for four years in Slovenian oak and two years in bottle before release.  Not here yet. Gorgeous. 100% Nebbiolo. 14% alc.
Gleesons c. €42

7. Brunello de Montalcino DOGC, Pieri Agostina, 1999
Mid-red, brown rim but not looking its age. Long legs. Very Italian nose, slightly medicinal. Fruit, tannin, spice. Huge extract. Green fruit gums; fresh, even cool, despite 14.5%. Great fruit, long finish.  Will last 25-30 years in a good vintage.
Gleesons (Restaurant trade only) prob €90 on a wine list.

8. Muga Selección Especial, Rioja Reserva, Bodegas Muga, 2001
Deep and murky. Heavy nose. Fresh, fruity, big extract, hint of farmyard, silky soft, a little vanilla. Tempranillo 70%, Garnacha 20%, Mazuelo y Graciano 10%. 13% Six months in American and French oak. Gorgeous.
Comans/EuroSpar €23.99

9. Tim Adams, The Fergus, Clare Valley, South Australia, 2004
Nice mid-red.  Piercing nose, spicy - spiced beef! Sweet from the alcohol, spicy, fruity, in your face - Eucalyptus.  Big fruit, not too burny given the alcohol (15%) Grenache 55%, Syrah 23%, Cabernet Franc 22%.
Tesco €16.99

10. Maglieri Shiraz, Steve Maglieri , McLaren Vale, S. Australia, 1997
Deep dark red; quite a clean nose for an Oz Shiraz. Really dark berry fruit, tar.  Said to have chocolate but I didn't get it. 18 months in American oak. 14% alc. Fantastic; nearest I've got to awarding three stars.
Originally bought at £40 by a very generous colleague.

11. I Castei, Amarone della Valpollcella Classico, Campo Casalin, Michele Castellani
Big dark red, nose of plums and prunes; tastes of dried prunes mixed with apricots, with a deep, dark, well-masked bitterness/liquorice.  Smooth and gorgeous. 15% alc.
Gleesons €45

12. Malmsey 15 Years Old Madeira, Hoririques& Henriques
Red-brown, clear.  Burnt. Good burn but still fresh, zingy.  Marmalade and toffee. 20% alc.  Yummy!  Will accept as Christmas present :)
Searsons €2
8.50 for 50cl

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