Preamble Tasting November 1996
Findlater (Wine Merchants) Ltd.
1. Muscate Sec 1995, Alasia, Italy
Wonderful nose, pineapple. Taste of grapes as expected but with luscious fruits and lychees. Unfortunately a bit of SO2 at the end. Good.
2. Pinot Blanc/Chenin Blanc 1996 Landskroon, South Africa
Some "off-veggie" smell on the nose, but with a pleasant fruity taste coming through. Slightly sour taste up front with a boiled sweets - clove drops - aftertaste (the chenin). Well made, very nice.
3. Coonawarra Riesling 1995, Wynns, Australia
Not a lot of petrol on the nose. Some oak. Sweet aftertaste; citrus. Good acid balance. I liked it a lot but opinions varied. A well-made wine from a terre rossa soil.
4. Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchere 1992, Jean Boillot, France
Wonderful nose. A taste of hazelnut paste, with a hint of raw potato. Too much oak. Probably too young yet. Changes dramatically as you drink. Wonderful long aftertaste with a suggestion of melon. 1992 was one of the best vintages in Burgundy. Keep this one for the millenium.
5. Chateau d'Arlay 1982
Tasted blind. Tasted like a not-so-great fino to me: It is a vin jaune from the Jura. Quite thin, and maybe a hint of white port. Made with the Savagnin grape racked into barrels and left for over six years in warm, dry cellars until a sherry-style flor develops. There is no topping up, so oxidation occurs. It is sold in a 62cl bottle (a clavelin) which is the amount left from a litre after six years. The EU has failed to ban the clavelin (thankfully). Besides, 75cl of vin jaune would be too much for most people. It was great to taste it, for the experience.
Nigel's private cellar £? (about £25 in UK)
6. Barbaglio Rosso del Salento 1993, Santa Barbara, Italy
Raisiny, slightly oxidised nose, with a hint of spice. Grapes are Negro amaro and Primitivo (which contributes to the nose), and is thought to be the origin of Zinfandel. Wonderfully round, rich taste bursting with fruit and spice. Bit of oxidation in the aftertaste. Wine of the Year at the Wine International Awards in London.
7. Marques Merlot 1993, Concha y Toro, Chile
A lovely red, quite light. Not terribly open on the nose. Very smooth. Slightly rubbery taste at the end. A fine wine and good value.
8. Savigny les Beaune 1er Cru "Champ Chevret" 1992, Tollot Beau, France
Meaty, elegant, a little burn on the palate. Still fruity, a classic Burgundy taste. A bit light. (The 1993 was highly recommended; lay down now).
9. Volnay 1er Cru "Les Caillerets" 1993, Jean Boillot, France
Incredibly spicy nose. Curry! Lovely, meaty. Still a way to go (3-4 to peak, then OK for 5-8 years). A good Burgundy but at the price...
10. Ch de Triguedina 1985, Cahors, France.
Tasted blind. Seemed young. Powerful, slightly closed nose. Liquorice. very tannic, astringent. Colm Brangan got wild cherry flavours which he says are typical of Cahors. Not my cup of tea.
11. Baron de Chirel 1988, Marques de Riscal, Rioja
Not very open yet. Some vanilla, quite astringent, some mint coming through. Tastes of oak, but very complex. Smooth, fruity, fresh. 54% Tempranillo and 40% "other" where other means Cabernet Sauvignon. 15-20 years to go. Very good, good price, but no stars from me - I must be grumpy tonight because everyone else raved and it even got a round of applause.
12. Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz 1993, Penfolds, Australia
Deep red, long legs. Most unusual nose - slightly dry? On the palate is the biggest, fruitiest thing! You don't get the pepper until long after. Good and heavy. Excellent at the price.
13. Domaine de Chevalier, Graves, 1982, France
Tasted blind. Very Burgundy nose. Amaro on the palate. But it's a claret! Wow!
What a night!