Preamble Tasting February 1997
Seán & Francoise Gilley

1. Sergio Traverso, Chardonnay 1995, Rapel region, Chile
This had an oaky nose, and on the palate was creamy/tartaric, with a good touch of oak - but apparently not a sliver of oak was let near it. (I wasn't the only one fooled, either!). This is a very pleasant wine with a good aftertaste, and very good value at the price.

2. Alois Lageder, Löwengang Chardonnay 1993, Südtiroler, Italy
Löwengang is a single vineyard Chardonnay. Not too much oak on the nose, but very rich and butttery. Much more oak noticeable on the palate, especially afterwards. Very buttery, oily, rich. Aged in barriques of Vosges style oak. Will improve for another two years or so. Absolutely lovely but not worth the price to my mind.

3. Mark Kreydenweiss, Lercehenberg, Toaky Pinot Gris 1995, Andlau, Alsace
Not a big nose. Honey on front of tongue with quite a stern taste behind. Not well assimilated. Oak, and a very long aftertaste.13%. Beautiful label.

4. Chateau Planères, Cuvée Chantail Rouge 1995, Côtes du Roussillon
Light, almost Gamay, young look. That typical Gamay nose, from the maceration carbonique; jammy. Tastes like a sort of Gamay, with maybe Zinfandel - needless to say, given my anti-Gamay bias, I don't like it. Some pepper. Actually consists of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsaut and Carignan.

5. Chateau de Pimpéan, Anjou Rouge 1995, Western Loire
Very light, with a pinkish tinge. Quite a stern but rich nose, very cold when tasted which didn't help. Quite tannic and acid, with berry fruit, apple and grass. 100% Cabernet franc.

6. Tim Gramp 1994 Grenache, McLaren Vale
Tasted blind. Jammy nose. Initially Italian feel, hint of Pinot noir, jamminess of good Malbec. Fruity. Turns out to be 100% Grenache. Nice.

7. Austria
Dark enough to be Malbec. Jammy. Fruit pastilles and a hint of grass. Saint Laurent, related to Pinot.

8. Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir 1993, Los Carneros, Napa Valley, California
Light and clear. Beautifully jammy nose, smelling of strawberries. Wonderfully fruity taste, jammy, bit still stern. Quite a lot of strawberry (though Seán doesn't think so). Some oak came through eventually as it warmed up, but it doesn't interfere too much. Classy.

9. Jacky Confiron Cotetidot, Gevrey- Chambertin 1994, Côtes de Nuits, Bourgogne
Light, clear, lighter rim. Fruity with a hint of austerity. Leather on the nose. Very smooth, very austere, leather and fruit on the palate. Cold fermentation. Not one of the greatest years - rain. Recommended to leave for 6-8 years.

10. Bodegas Martinez, Conde de Valdemar, Gran Reserva 1985, Rioja, Spain
Rich colour, brown rim. Hugely elegant nose, maybe slightly oxidised. Pipe tobacco and chocolate taste, could mistake it for old Pinot Noir. A certain sweetness coming through. 100% Tempranillo. Beautiful, but Burgundy type rather than Bordeaux.

11. Chateau d'Agessac, Grand Bourgeois Exceptionnel, 1985, Haut Médoc
A lovely deep red. Slightly closed nose, but atypical "rich" Bordeaux smell; wet and woody but not oaky. Some plum. On the palate some oak, not enough fruit and sharp tannins. Is it too old? Equal parts Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc. Good but no star - not for keeping.

12. Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon, 1993, Napa Valley, California
Black! Really deep and velvety. Definitely Cabernet, but not a huge nose. Nor is it too "over the top". Very blackcurrant on the palate, some fruit pastilles taste. A bit unidimensional. The vineyard was bought in 1972 by Mr. & Mrs. Novak. It was replanted in 1982 with mainly Cab. Sauvignon. This is almost 100% Cab. Sauv., with perhaps a little Merlot. General opinion was more positive than mine, it must be said.

A stunning night’s tasting, with lots of out of the ordinary wines.
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