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Diary index

Recent Italian and Spanish wines 29/01/2003 (TNB)

Some wines from a tasting at Veritas Wines, Cambridge 27/01/2003 (RJB)

A late reported pre-Christmas dinner 20/01/2003 (RJB)

Wine Group at E.McC. 19/01/2003 (TNB)

Reds from V ∓ C 12/01/2003 (TNB)

Wine Group at E.O'N 05/01/2003 (TNB)

The Diary - January 2003

Recent Italian and Spanish wines 29/01/2003 (TNB)

  • Soave Calvarino 2001 (Pieropan) This has an admirable stony mineral purity, but as sometimes with this producer the wine is a bit understated even for my tastes. Classy though, and a touch of honeysuckle when it opens ud suggests it might merit another star in time. For now a conservative **
  • Soave Classic Superiore Monte Alto 2000 (Ca Rugate) Honeysuckle nose, pineapple fruit, bone-dry, a touch of stonyness with good concentration and a long finish. I wonder if there is a touch of oak on this - if so it is well-handled. Top stuff - this estate is clearly trying to challenge the top estates in Soave. This might even improve for a year or two. Without making much allowance for style I think it just about merits ***
  • Bucciato 2000 (Ca Rugate) Deep golden honey colour. Intense nose of peach stones and honeysuckle followed by a big palate. The limits are being pushed here but I think it carries it off. This is 100 per cent Garganega apparently but the word Soave doesn't appear on the label - I don't know why. Intriguing. ***
  • Recioto della Valpolicella Classico 1997 (Allegrini) Intense blackberry fruit, a touch of mushrooms and nuts - terribly suave as Allegrini's wines usually are. For sipping. ***
  • Palazzo Della Torre 1999 (Allegrini) This is really Valpolicella but sold as IGT because of some minor violation of the rules - not enough Thompsons Seedless in the blend, or some such. Pretty smooth with delightful cherry flavours as it opens up in the glass. Suave - almost a shade too suave perhaps but very pleasant drinking. **
  • Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1997 (Brigaldara) I bought a couple of these after a tasting. Lots of baked plum fruit, good tannins and a long finish. The fruit is quite silky, the style fairly modern - it will be interesting to see how it ages. It lacks real terroir distinction perhaps and I suspect it will age faily well without meriting an extra star. Good wine. ***
  • Rioja Gran Reserva 1994 (Solar de Amezola) Lovey scented fruit - quite fresh but mellowed by traditional cask aging. How nice to drink something unforced. ***
  • Torro, Oro 1999 Light strawberry fruit, slides down the hatch pleasantly enough but has no real length or complexity. Decent BBQ wine. It's honest so I will give it the benefit of the doubt: *
  • Ribera del Duero Reserva 1995 (Briego) The nose is herby with overtones of game. The fruit is silky raspberries, Burgundian almost. Very good. ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/01/2003   Return to top

Some wines from a tasting at Veritas Wines, Cambridge 27/01/2003 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 27/01/2003   Return to top

A late reported pre-Christmas dinner 20/01/2003 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 20/01/2003   Return to top

Wine Group at E.McC. 19/01/2003 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/01/2003   Return to top

Reds from V ∓ C 12/01/2003 (TNB)

  • La Strada Pinot Noir 1999 (Fromm) Authentic beetroot and red fruits, a bit on the jammy side but controlled. Gluggable if simple. A very good *
  • Lagrein Scuro 2000 (Franz Haas) Intense blackberry fruit - forward and fairly modern in style perhaps but very drinkable. **
  • Chiant Classico 2000 (Castello Della Paneretta) Juicy and high-toned. A nice example without being very special. I don't think this would quite keep up with the pace among the very best estates, but I may be wrong. A top *
  • Condado de Haza 1998 (Fernandez) A Temranillo from the Pesquera man, I think. One bottle marked by sulphur and another rather rustic. Different bottles open at the end seemedto vary too! The best might almost merit two stars, the worst really not good. I have my doubts about this. *
  • Merlot Riserva 1999 (De Gras) Quite cherryish - soft, pleasant. This Chilean offering is a bit dull. *
  • Burdese 1999 (Planeta) This has a raw astringant streak through some fairly classy fruit. Is that careless oak handling? This is the second time I have tasted this recently and I am not very enthusiastic - it is rather forced. **
  • Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Le Coste 1998 (Barone Cornacchia) Touch of forrest about this which adds a bit of class - and it is fine if you like your reds big. This is an honest mouthful of fruit. **
  • Rosso Conero Cumaro 1998 (Umani Ronchi) A rather more delicate take on those woodland morning flavours. Nice, balanced wine. This is a bit more to my taste. A rather good **
  • Palazzo della Torre 1999 (Allegrini) Nicely, rounded, silky - terribly attractive and drinkable. This estate does a good job generally. Pure fruit. If one is going to criticise, the overall effect can be a bit soulless ***
  • Barbera d'Alba Croere 1999 (Terre da Vino) This has a rather arresting nose - blackberries and spice. I guess this and the rich palate owes a lot to new oak but it is all nicely integrated. A bargain. ***
  • Brunello Poggio Alle Mura 2000 (Banfi) This is very young to be drinking Brunello. Structured, decent length. There's a decent core of fruit too. This is at least pretty good: **(*)
  • Barbaresco Pora 1997 (Produttori del Barbaesco) Tar and roses - pretty authentic - but guite forward. Pretty much drinking and as good as a lot of Nebbiolo at the price. Disappointing if one is thinking in terms of 97 Barbaresco, but it is not wildly expensive. **
  • Crozes Hermitage 2000 (Dumaine) Pretty much Crozes certainly. Dry raspberry fruit. Possibly a bit bland but pretty enjoyable. **
  • Nine Popes 1999 (Charles Melton) Lots of spicy cherry - the Barossa is quite good at this sort of Southern Rhone blend (better than it is at straight Shiraz, in my opinion). There's a touch of astringancy here that holds me back from 3 stars. Possibly not this estate's best vintage. Top **
  • Old Vine Zinfandel 1999 (Seghesio) Well, very Zin - a nose so deep you could dive in. Silky, long, and I think it has an old vine depth. ***
  • Amarone Il Bosco 1997 (Cesari) Old-fashioned - a faint touch of sherry and possibly even volatility. Very meaty, cooked fruits. I spent a while tasting this idiosynchratic thing and I think I rather like it. ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 12/01/2003   Return to top

Wine Group at E.O'N 05/01/2003 (TNB)

  • Bellavista Cuvee Brut NV (Franciacorta) Soft nutty, light, unassertive. Attractive and elegant - I would be interested to taste one of the top bottlings of what has the reputation of being one of Italy's topp fizzes. A good **
  • Pelorus 1998 More substantial but a bit duller. A bit rustic and lacking finesse. Prematurely aged too. I am not terribly impressed. *
  • Chardonnay Proprietor Grown 1996 (Beringer) A bit flabby perhaps - rich, mouthfilling, flavoury - it's a big style but reasonably controlled. **
  • Chardonnay Proprietor Grown 1997 (Beringer) Leaner - nice thick texture - attractive vegetal components. Has the edge on the 96 without quite making an extra star, I think. (I wonder if I am being just a touch mean about these two?) **
  • Chateau Capet-Guillier 1997 Leafy blackcurrant, interesting at first but maybe old-fashioned but not necessarily fine. (One of those odd St Emilion properties that one keeps discovering.) *(*)
  • Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere 1997 Warmer raspberry nose. A bit raspy on the palate - but opens up in the glass. Serious. **(*)
  • Chateau Batailly 1997 Nice blackcurrant fruit. Charming. Forward. **
  • Chateau Pichon Baron 1997 Corked. Not Rated
  • Chateau Latour 1997 Lovely sweet fruit. Stylish and pretty concentrated - round and meaty. Needs some time to be at its best. ***(*) (just)
  • Chateau Pichon - Lalande 1997 Sweet ripe fruit. A bit more forward than Latour and while pretty good it won't ever catch up, I feel. **(*)
  • Chateau Coutet 1958 Apricot. Quite dry now. Savoury. Not a lot of length perhaps but very charming. What a pleasant surprise from an unregarded vintage. Top ***
  • Chateau Sigalas Rabaud 1989 Amber and green. Sweet and nutty. Richer - tending towards flab a bit. ***
  • Bual 54 (Henriques and Henriques) Burnt tobacco. Very savoury - I guess one might hope for a touch more mellowness in 10 years. Luxurious mouthwatering length. Delicious (and seems a tad better than my own bottles of this wine). ***(*)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/01/2003   Return to top