Preamble Tasting June 1998
1. Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, 1996
Light green yellow, nose reminiscent of Pouilly Fume. Fruit, acid and even a little tannin giving it firmness. Grassy. grows on you.
2. Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc,South Africa, 1996
Maybe even lighter in colour than the first, with less nose. Much zingier, though, and with a more organic taste. Long lingering finish. 13.5% alcohol not felt on the palate. No wood.
3. Etchart Chardonnay, Argentina, 1997
Even lighter still. Light, austere nose. Oaked Chardonnay, very French. Will improve; good Chardonnay for the price. 13%
4. Ninth Island Chardonnay, Pipers Brook, Tasmania
A rich golden green. Beautiful, restrained nose: Perfumed, rich but not blowsy. Full of fruit and acid, very dry, toasty. Will improve. Superb. (Pipers Brook Chardonnay is £5 dearer).
5. Gallo Sonoma Stefani Vineyard Chardonnay,1995
Delicate primrose yellow.Rich nose; fat, rich, fruity, well-balanced. 13.5%. Quite Meurseult-like. Lovely.
6. Etchart Cafayate Torrontes, Argentina, 1997
Almost colourless. Very perfumed, almost sweet nose, without the China tea of Gewurtztraminer. Full of fruit.
7. Piper's Brook Pellion, Pinot Noir, Tasmania, 1996
Light red, some lightening at the edges already. Quite a farmyard nose but fruit coming through. Quite sharp/bitter on the palate, some tannin. Aged in French oak for 12 months.
8. Castillo di Brolio, Casalferero, Vino da Tavola di Toscana, 1994
Deep red with slight pink tinge. Long "legs" on the glass. Not very pronounced but Tuscan nose. Not yet integrated but oodles of fruit. Tannin still sticking out. Two years in oak. Lovely but a bit pricey.
9. Palacio de la Vega, Crianza, Navarra, 1994
Beautiful rich red. Sophisticated Spanish nose. Fruit and acid. Tastes quite young but is already good and will be excellent. Cab Sauvignon (20%) and Tempranillo (80%). Owned by Pernod Ricard. (Crianza apparently means 'nursing' - wine is held in the vineyard.)
10. Arnaldo B. Etchart, Malbec Cab Sauvignon
Big, deep red. Nose of velvet-smooth fruit. Huge; fruit, acid and tannin. Cab Sauvignon comes through but also some ink and the spice of a Rhone wine. 18 months in French oak. 13.7%
11. Jacob's Creek Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasted blind. Lightish red. Nose and palate light and unimpressive. Thought might even contain favourite hates (Zinfandel or Gamay). You can guess that I didn't like this much!
12. Palacio de la Vega Cabernet Sauvignon, Navarra, 1993
Deep rich red. Gorgeous nose, sweet traditional, fruity. On th epalate packed with fruit, but with loads of soft tannins. Blackcurrant without being Ribena. A big mouthful. Very good but not as good as their Crianza (9 above). 12%
13. Stellenzicht Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch, S.A., 1994
Red velvet. Big, stern, fruity tobacco nose. Fruit and tannins still to integrate but lovely. Very French. Elegant. 13%
14. G. Rizzardi Amarone del Valpolicella Classico
Light, clear. Amazing nose; light but very rich; a slight "catch". Burstst onto the palate. Oddlesof raisins but something lighter and synthetic tasting at the back of the palate. 14.5%. Good but no cigar!
15. Semington's Quinta do Vesuvio, Vintage Port, 1989
Deep, deep red. Heavy sediment. Wondefully rich.
"One of the most generous tastings that this club has ever had." Chairman