Preamble Tasting December 1996
The Tasting We Can't Afford
Mark Downes

1. Sancerre Cuvee Prestige, 1994, Domaine de Columbier
Light, crisp. Delicate, slightly smokey nose. Very dry. Long finish. Well balanced acid and fruit. An elegant wine. From the terre blanc, very heavy soil. 12.5% alcohol.

2. Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru 'Le Cailleret' 1994, Jean Marc Boillot
Not a very pronounced nose. Incredibly rich, syrupy, with a hint of tannin. Very long aftertaste, even a hint of meat. Veru elegant and smooth, well-integrated wood.

3. Grand Cru Brand 1992 Zind-Humbrecht, Riesling Alsace
Greeny. Smoky nose. Zingy, rich fruit - fruitcake. Quite sweet after the Puligny, but smooth. 11.5% alc. Nice but not 16.
c. 16.

4. Edmundo Navarro Carreras, 1992, Russel Maipu Vineyard
(Tasted Blind). Light red, odd watery rim. Seemed to be Syrah, maybe Cinsaut or Grenache. Quite peppery. Turns out to be Argentinian Malbec. Nothing like the Malbec of Cahors. Unimpressed.
c. 11.

5. Chateau Fourcas-Hosten, 1985, Listrac
Deep, almost black, cherry red. Long legs. Slightly orange rim. Amazing nose. Soft and heavy, still tannic, but with matching fruit and a good 'zing'. 12.5%.

6. Chateau Langoa Barton, 1985, St. Julien
A deep red. Slightly orange rim, not very noticeable. Rich, rubber, chocolate nose. Some mint initially on the palate. Good acid and fruit. Very rich and generous. Like Christmas cake. Superb. A very good year. Grapes are Cab. sauv. 70%, Merlot 15%, Cab. franc 7%, Petit verdot 8%. 12.5% alcohol.

7. Piano del Cipresso VDT Tuscany 1990, Terra blanca
Deep cherry colour. Nose like Salice Salentino. Very fresh, tons of fruit, nut not old enough - a big wine which needs time. Goes down very easily, though. Didn't seem to be as complex as the Salice, although others disagreed strongly. It's 100% Sangiovese, grown on a white limey soil, and runs to 13% alcohol.
c. 15

8. Chambertin Grand Cru, 1985, Edward Delaunay
We had the misfortune to have the bad bottle, so no comment, sadly.
c. 45-50

9. Tinto Pesquera, 1989, Alejandro Fernandez, Gran Reserva
Very deep red, with leather on the nose. Quite a lot of fruit, and stern but smooth. Damsons and plums; weird. 100% Tempranillo, 13% alc. Mark reckons this to be the finest Spanish wine there is.
c. 38

10. Murrietas Well Vendemia, 1992, Livermore Valley, California
Dark blak-red, but light. Nose raspberry. Smooth, fruity, acid zing. Very approachable now, but a bit sweet with food. A bit expensive as a party wine. 62% Cab sauv, 17% Cab franc, 17% Merlot, 4% Zinfandel.

11. Tokaji Aszu No 4 Puttonyos, 1992, Disznoko Estate, Hungary
Golden Yellow,. Rounded nose. Heavy, sweet and unctuous, spicy. Like a good Sauternes. Main grape is Furmint, about 70%; with Hazleveliu(?) 25%, Muscatel 5%. This is botrytised. Aszu means shrivelled up grapes, and a puttonyo is 20 litres (of 140 litres). This being 4 puttonyos has therefore 80 litres of botrytised grapes and 40 litres of normal ones. Siz puttonyos is the max, and Parker reckons it to be decadent.

12. Calem 1970 Vintage Port
Lovely light red-brown. SPicy, curranty nose. Spicy and lovely on the palette.

Perhaps it's as well that we don't have nights like these very often!
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