Preamble Tasting August 1997
Rodney Shaw

1. Houghton, Gold Reserve, Verdelho 1994
This 13.5% wine is made from verdelho, which makes the second driest Madeira after Sercial. Lemon yellow colour. Jancis Robinson says its lemony, we got a fine apply nose as well. Quite oaky. Somewhat rubbery aftertaste, quite pleasant. Said to be the ideal accompaniment to smoked salmon.

2. Chateau Tahblik, Marsanne, 1996
Light, watery green colour. Toluene on the nose, with a bit of lime. Fruity citrus and something slightly chemical on the palate. A long aftertaste, quite complex. This is the stuff that makes Hermitage, and it should last 8-10 years.
8.39 from Redmond's and Super Valu

3. Cervaro della Sala, Antinori, VDT, Umbria, Italy 1993
Decidedly green. Incredibly "acid drops" nose, with plenty of oak. Got aniseed too (after prompting). On the palate fruity, with lovely soft tannins; rich, woody, acid. Probably not going to last. 13% alcohol. Mostly Chardonnay, with 10-20% Greschetto, a grape of Greek origin.
13.99 Terroirs, also Superquinn. Much dearer elsewhere.

4. Casa Madero, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, Parras Valley, Mexico 1994
A light red colour. Nose a bit closed. it watery, and a metallic aftertaste. Slight hint of blackcurrant when agitated. A b12.5%. Made by Australian winemaker, near Mexico city - nearly 5000 feet. Many others liked it more than I. Certainly good value for quaffing at barbeques at this price.
3.99 Marks & Spencer

5. L A Cetto, Petite Syrah, Baja California, Mexico 1994
Lovely dark velvety red. Rich but somewhat closed nose. Definitely hot country stuff. Fruity, jammy, oak. Some pepper, quite smooth. Petite Syrah is said to be "less noble than and possibly not related to the true Syrah". Nice but pricey.
8.79 Redmond's

6. Clos du Val, Merlot, Stag's Leap District, California 1993
This was intended to be Meerlust. The Clos du Val is a deep velvety red, almost black. If it was clearer you would think it was Malbec. Nose full of pastilles, bit of that "washing powder" sometimes found in good Californians. Big, oaky, soft tannins, fruity. 13% This is from Napa, and is one of the new AVA designations.
18.00 Terroirs

7. Carneros, Napa, Pinot Noir 1994
First of two 1994 Pinots tasted blind. We knew one was the famous Martinborough, the other something to give it a run for its money. This had a more austere nose than the next, with some vegetable flavours. Piles of fruit, good acid balance. Smooth and nice, and I preferred it to the following one.
13.99 Terroirs

8. Martinborough Pinot Noir, N. Island, New Zealand 1994
A brown rim, looks a bit older than the previous. Lots of farmyard nose. A little metallic. Berry fruit and oak on the palate. 13%. Very nice. Said to peak after five years, so drink in 1999. About 2:1 preference for this expressed on the night.

9. Allesverloren, Tinta Barocca, Swartland, South Africa 1993
Deep, almost murky red. The Tinta Barocca is a Portuguese grape, used in Port. This had a decidedly Port-like nose. Tough and tannic yet, but a lot of fruit; Christmas cake flavours with enough acid to keep it fresh.
9.90 Various suppliers

10. Cape Mentelle, Zinfandel, Margaret River, Australia 1994
Usual warning - I don't like Zinfandel. Big red, young looking. Nose a bit closed, but like a much lighter Clos du Val. Good fruit and tannin with acid balanced, dry. Palate fades rapidly leaving a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste. Rather dominated by the 14% alcohol. Too young; reckoned to age 10 years. Many liked it a lot.
12.99 Redmonds

11. Penfolds Bin 407, Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia 1992
Another deep velvety red. Young looking. A big nose with that "good acid" buzz, but without that typical Cab. Sauvignon blackcurrant. Wonderful balance of fruit and acid, with green leaves. Very fresh, with serious undertones. 13.5%. Inspired by Bin 707, said to be the ultimate Cabernet Sauvignon.
12.99 Redmonds

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