Recent New World wines 24/11/2002 (TNB)
- Shiraz 1999 (Galah) I bought a few bottles of this (first Ozzy wine for a few years) recently and then a bottle seemed very woody drunk from a restaurant list. I thought it was a corked bottle but others disagreed. I am sure now that I was right - this bottle has a good nose of baked fruit and coffee with herbal notes and a long, concentrated palate which is quite dry, savoury and long. Succulent quality tannins. A very top Ozzy as one might expect since this is made with Wendouree fruit. Sticking my neck out a bit on future evolution it probably just about merits
- Museum Release Old Sweet Wine (Yalumba) Thick old fortified job - burnt flavours like a Madeira but a bit flabby. Intruiging but a single glass job. just
- Lytton Springs 1997 (Ridge) This is 80 per cent Zinfandel and has the characteristic richly fruity blackberry nose - with an intense, essence of fruit effect almost in this case. There are some pleasantly ripe tannins and reasonable acidity too, but the overall effect is just a touch to sweet to be ideal for me right now. With luck the balance will improve a bit in another year or two when it might well merit an extra star.
- Les Cotes Sauvage 1996 (Edmund St John) At first I thought buying a bottle or two of this had been a mistake: it is quite challenging on the palate - astringent even. But with a while in the glass it seemed more like an interesting terroir asserting itself and this is an interesting, more or less mature wine. I note that the Californian winemaker does not even tell us what grape vairieties are represented in his "red table wine": this is making a statement I think, but not one I disagree with. Still just makes
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1986 (Moss Wood) Leafy, cigar-boxy old Cabernet - recognizably New World but decent for its age. A sulpherous stink becomes (oddly) more noticable the longer its open. Scrapes
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 24/11/2002 Return to top
Italian Islands from Valvona and Crolla 19/11/2002 (TNB)
- Grecanico 2001 (Mandrarossa) Clean and fragrant nose. Pleasant fruit, lowish acidity (fine for the style), decent length. Top
- Regaleali Bianco 2001 (Tasca D'Alemerita) Slightly anonymous on the nose but an intriguing palate - wet stones, hints of Northern Rhone to me - a nice luxurious texture. Good length too.
- Vermentino Villa Solais 2001 (Santadi) A floral touch but again an unforthcoming wine reveals a nice rounded palate. Top
- La Segreta Bianco 2001 (Planeta) A big whack of mixed fruits on the nose (reflecting the mix of Greciano, Sauvignon and Viognier, I guess). Reasonable palate too. Fine if it lasts with some sort of balance for a year or two but it is a bit showy.
- Chardonnay 2001 (Mandrarossa) Very decent modern Chardonnay at a very reasonable price. I'd sooner have the Greciano myself, for variety.
- Carignanodel Sulcis Tre Torri 2001 (Santadi) A bit toffeed - a problem with Rose sometimes and unattractive to my palate. Not keen.
- Monica Antigua 2001 (Santadi) Lightish colour, fragrant cherry fruit, moderate weight on the palate. Not overambitious and so pretty drinkable. Scrapes
- Regaleali Rosso 2000 (Tasca D'Almerita) Plumskin nose, nicely textured sweet fruit and a touch of tannins. Good.
- Carignano Grotta Rosa 2000 (Santadi) Fruitcake nose - gluggable, nice fruit quality but lacks the character of the previous wine. Top
- Merlot 2001 (Mandrarossa) Pretty varietal, I guess but a bit dull. Bare
- La Segreta Rosso 2001 (Planeta) Plenty on the nose, but a bit too much warm-climate softness for me.
- Nero d'Avola 2001 (Mandrarossa) Pretty gluggable - very typical of a wine made to emphasise varietal character (a bad idea perhaps - discuss). At least it's a different variety and a good drink at a low price.
- Syrah 2001 (Mandrarossa) Well yes - raspberry and leather I suppose but it exposes the fact that grape variety of itself doesn't generate much interest at least for me.
- Carignano Riserva Rocca Rubia 1999 (Santadi) A touch of bacon or something. The first ambitiously made wine and a bit older too. Good winemaking - nice balance. Good
- Burdese 1999 (Planeta) Well, it's cabernet but a bit simple. You wonder if the winemaker thinks the variety (and a whack of oak) is enough. I prefer the previous, much cheaper wine. Bare
- Rosso del Conte 1998 (Conte Tasca) Ineresting nose and Burgundian raspberry fruit - good quality, but it is a 20 pound wine and that is the least one can expect.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/11/2002 Return to top
Ridge Geyserville - a vertical 12/11/2002 (RJB)
- Geyserville 1974 (Ridge Vineyards) I thought this a good mature wine, but it did perhaps have more tannin over fruit than one might expect. It decayed in the glass a bit too. plus
- Geyserville 1994 (Ridge Vineyards) Feels fairly mature - to my mind not far off the 1974 (certainly doesn?t seem like only 20 years difference). Gentle mushroomy flavours coming through.
- Geyserville 1996 (Ridge Vineyards) Feels youthful still, and is a good quality, well made wine. Some of that Geyserville zinginess - a top
- Geyserville 1991 (Ridge Vineyards) The top wine of the tasting to my mind. At peak with mature flavours balanced with fruity acidity. plus
- Geyserville 1999 (Ridge Vineyards) The epitome of Geyserville. A lovely zing to the fruit, but also the complexity and softness one doesn?t often get with straight Zinfandel. I would guess this will be at least very close to being as good as the 1991.
- Geyserville 1997 (Ridge Vineyards) Feels a bit simple for a Geyserville. Good fresh zingy fruit, but not that bit extra.
- Geyserville 1992 (Ridge Vineyards) Some age with a very light touch of VA. Gorgeous fruit, but the wine finishes a bit short. plus
- Geyserville 1995 (Ridge Vineyards) A beefy, meaty nose - and a touch dilute. Doesn?t seem the best Geyserville, but it may just at an odd phase.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 12/11/2002 Return to top
Wine Group at D.L.'s 11/11/2002 (TNB)
- Champagne extra dry NV (celebrating J∓B's aniversary in 1999) A little faded I think - I remember rather a good but well-priced fizz and while this is nice enough it's not what it was.
- Riesling St Catherine 1997 (Weinbach) Mineral, ripe, some pleasing nervosity (somebody else's word, but correct I think), stylish. Time in hand, certainly.
- Riesling Cuvee Theo 1997 (Weinbach) A touch of honey too on this one - similar to the St Catherine but less substance. A low
- Riesling Frederic Emile 1990 (Trimbach) Big nose - apples and other things but an unattractive spritz. Good under it - I won't rate this bottle which is at least slightly faulty.
- Riesling SDGN 1983 (Trimbach) Big, sweetish petroly, gunpowder - there's enough acidity but I would like a touch more myself. Very elegant but given the elevated classification you could argue that it doesn't absolutely stand out. Very Trimbach, what it lacks in drama it makes up in elegance. A very good wine -
- Ceparello 1990 (Isole e Olena) Austere - touch of VA perhaps. Blackberry. Meaty. Chocolate. Severe tannins. This is really old-fashioned gear and I like it!
- Sul Bric 1990 (Martinetti) Riper and rounder - a bit more modern than the Ceparello (which is not saying much). Lots of acidity. This Cabernet/Barbera is very good but lack the fineness of the Tuscan. I
- Pontet Canet 1970 (Not Chateau Bottled) Scented, elegant, fine. A nice old claret and a pleasant surprise when the label was revealed.
- Grand Puy Lacoste 1970 A shade more bite, but possibly through age showing a bit less obvious fruit than the Pontet Canet. Less fruit. Fine - bit austere - drying a shade perhaps.
- Cos d'Estournel 1970 Again, attractive scented old-Bordeaux nose of roses. Very fine, herby, complex.
- Branaire Ducru 1970 More developed - austere finish. Awkward. A bare
- Chateau Lagrange (St Julien) 1970 Dry and berryish. Refined old wine but like the Branaire less generous. Scrapes
- Ducru Beaucaillou 1970 High-toned acidity. Long and fine - close between this and the Cos for the top of the flight.
- Bonnezeaux 1989 (de Fesles) Almost dry - pleasantly oily - lovely fruit. Top
- Bonnezeaux 1983 (de Fesles) Toffee - odd an slightly hollow. Could be an off bottle,but if not only
- Vin de Constance (Klein Constantia) 1997 Burnt sugar. Concentrated. Interesting but not so drinkable. This probably deserves more attention than my palate has left to give tonight!
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 11/11/2002 Return to top
Super Bowl at Glasgow 03/11/2002 (TNB)From the walk around tasting (most of the wines had previously travelled and wines of all sorts were tasted in no particular order, so notes are a bit vague).
- Vega Sicilia Unico 1990 Great concentration apparent on the nose. Fantastic depth and balance. Easy plus
- Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Auslese 1990 (F.Haag) Sherberty, lovely, ripe sweetness and so long. Starting to drink well but with years ahead. May yet merit another star but for now
- Leoville Las Cases 1978 Tending to brown - cedary and complex but over-evolved compared to when I had this wine last year. Good, but I suspect less than ideal storage.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1975 (Robert Mondavi) Very evolved colour but sweet rounded fruit. Pleasant but it is tiring fast. (just)
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1991 (Jaboulet) Berryish - ripe - drinking very well. This confirms my view of this wine - I had heard people saying it was past it which this bottle certainly isn't. A very good at least.
- Volnay Carelle-sous-Chapelle 1995 (J.-M. Boillot) Lovely red fruits - structured but already excellent drinking. Easy
- Beaucastel 1990 Splendid, ripe, gamey fruit. Lovely - beginning to drink well.
- Champagne Grand Cru Mailly NV (Boulard) Nicely autolytic. Refreshing. A strong NV.
- Champagne Year of the Comet 1986 (Boulard) Pleasantly mature. Slightly pinotish farmyard character. Lean and dry. Generally 86 is not the best of Champagne vintages and this is a good wine. +
- Champagne Rose de Saignee Brut NV Attractive strawberry fruit. Nicely judged to be attractive but not vulgar.
- Eden Riesling 1990 (Henschke) Huge hit of kerosene. Fruit fading a bit.
- Urziger Wurzgarten Auslese 3-star 2001 (J.J Christoffel) Very appley and rich. Hard to judge the concentration with the mixed bag I have been tasting but I think it deserves the benefit of the doubt - in which case a very good wine.
- Zinfandel 1997 (Cartlidge Brown) Rather pale - blush perhaps. Not much weight and an odd fishy character. I'm not keen.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1975 (Cuvaison) Good mature Cabernet nose. Nice long fruit. This has held up well and is certainly better than the Mondavi wine from this vintage. Top
- Pinot Noir 1990 (Yarra Yering) Slightly dull gamey old thing. I'm not convinced this winery can do anything very interesting with this grape.
- Chateau du Tetre 1970 Sweet, graceful - no 70 harshness - pleasant drinking if tending a bit towards the over-evolved. A good
- Bandol Rouge 1988 (Domaine Terrebrune) Oddly rubbery but intruiging. I am dubious about this but I could be wrong.
- Maury, Selection Deveze 1998 (Vignerons de Maury) Nice baked fruit. Would be engaging and different after dinner. (Maury is something in the Banyuls direction - an off-dry or sweet post-prandial drink.) This is an interesting appelation. Easy
- Chambolle Musigny 1997 (Geantet-Pansiot) Very decent village wine - not forced. Good fruit.
- Corton Grancey 1996 (Latour) Very pale (not necessarily a worry in red Burgundy) but lovely sweetness. Maybe even
- Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 707, 1991 (Penfolds) Certainly holding well - very cabernet with some attractive cedaryness. A bit chunky perhaps but Penfolds can clearly make wines that develop pretty well.
- Grange 1992 (Penfolds) Big and toffeed. Maturing slowly but surely - this seems fairly typical. Right now a striking and interesting rather than a great drink.
- Terrasous Rivsaltes Hors d'Age 1974 Gentle apricot and a pleasant generalised old barrel-matured character. Anything that reaches this age in good condition is likely to provide interesting drinking and this is a different and engaging sipping aperetif.
- Hermitage Rouge 1983 (Chave) Ravishing nose, moderate weight of palate. Lovely wine (but I would say that as it was my contribution).
Super Bowl at Glasgow - the Riesling tasting 03/11/2002 (TNB)
- Riesling 2000 (Hollick) Stony character, but a bit thin and ultimately lacking much interest.
- Riesling 2001 (Plantagenet) Vaguely floral. Fairly dry.
- Gold Dust Riesling 2001 Dry with a touch of pineapple.
- Riesling 1999 (Logan) Limey and a riesling kerosene character. I thought this stood out from the other Australians in this lineup as having a bit of presence. A Clare Valley wine.
- Riesling Qualitatswein 2001 (Schloss Vollrads) Dryish basic Rhine. I feel even German riesling can be a bit dull at this level.
- Riesling Grand Cru Wiebelsberg 1998 (Marc Kreydenweiss) Chalky, mouthwatering, nice dry style. Maybe even
- Piesporter Domherr Spatlese Trocken 2001 (Kurt Hain) A slightly mean wine - this is why one shouldn't make trocken in my view. The class of the vineyard shows through but still only a bare
- Durnsteiner Kellerberg Riesling Smaragd 1998 (F.X. Pichler) A bit of bite - mineral with a core of almost tropical fruit running through. Real terroir wine but quite hard to get to grips with now. Probably plus
- Urziger Wurzgarten Auslese Fuder 30, 2001 (Monchof) Very young, and I find it hard to asssss - bags of fruit and excellent length certainly. (but very young Riesling like this is hard to assess)
Super Bowl at Glasgow - The Pinotage tasting 03/11/2002 (TNB)
- Pinotage 2000 (Delheim) Deep colour brambley fruit - mouthfilling, followed by a very, very bitter finish. Until the finish, decent - after that disgusting to me with the pervasise bitterness.
- Pinotage 2001 (Diemersfontein) Very brambley - ripe fruity but with a kick. Decent wine.
- Pinotage 2000 (Kanonkop) Slightly closed (too much sulphur). Good brambly fruit. Decent length if a bit sweet on finish. There's a bit of class about this.
- Pinotage 2000 (L'Avenir) A bit over-tamed, "offend nobody" warm-climate fruit. Just a single star for me though others may like it more.
- Pinotage Lord Neethling 1998 (Neetlingshof) Seems a bit anonymous - and has that bitter finish again.
- Pinotage 2000 (Moreson) This seems to be a solid citizen in the wine world - well made - a good
- Pinotage Private Cellar 2000 (Rijk) Blackberry high acidity and lots of structure. Very peppery. Attractive. A good
- Pinotage Redhill 1999 (Simonsig) Brambley again - stylish, much of the appeal of a Zinfandel. This and the Knonkop clearly lead the field here. .
- Pinotage 2000 (Tukulu) Raspberry jam (Nick A, sitting nearby hit the nail on the head with that comment) - otherwise a bit anonymous
- Pinotage Top of the Hill 2000 (Uiterwyk) A bit lighter than some and more stylish. Has possibilities.
Super Bowl at Glasgow - with dinner 03/11/2002 (TNB)And after all that, an enjoyable dinner with:
- Champagen Charles VII blanc de noirs NV (Canard-Duchene) Rich - almost heavy, certainly a bit clumsy. Also a touch green. A big step up from this house's rather poor basic NV but I am still not that keen.
- Riesling Abtsberg Fuder 88, 1983 (Maximin Grunhaus) Stunning riesling approaching maturity.
- St Aubin blanc 1997 (Jadot) Very sound attractive white Burgundy. It would be interesting to taste against non-French competitors at a similar price. plus
- Gevrey Chambertin Coeur de Roy 1997 (Dugat-Py) Lovely pure silky beetroot fruit. I can see from this village wine why this has become a sought-after producer! Easy
- Echezeaux 1991 (Rouget) Meaty, deep nose. Long spicy palate. Top stuff.
- Shiraz Mount Edelstone 1994 (Henschke) Going a bit soft and slightly vegetal - bags of character. Good acidity and the fruit is lively in a way. Touch of oxidation-goes rubbery in the glass. Needs the right food.
- "Top of the Hill" Pinotage 1997 (Uiterwyk) Interesting wine, except it has that bitter finish again - for me, it's flawed, I'm afraid.
- Campo dei Gigli Amarone 1996 (Tenuta Sant' Antonio) Very pleasant refined pruney amarone. Nice texture.
- Khamma moscato passito di Pantelleria 1997 (Salvatore Murana) Rather pleasant apricoty sweet dessert wine.
- Cote-Rotie 1994 (Rostaing) Quite elegant and silky. Not what I expected - good.
- Champagne Priv des Moins NV (Gobillard) Dry, savoury, austere, decent length. Good
- Champagne 1992 (Esterlin) Dry, clean, savoury. Not a crowd-pleaser but pretty decent.
- Riesling VT 1997 (Rolly-Gassmann) Very restrained - seems insubstantial now but it is young and it is the end of a long evening. I suspect I am under-rating this owing to palate shock. At least