Preamble Tasting December
The Tasting We Can't Afford
Mark Downes, Chairman
That time of the year has coime around again where the chairman
raids the club funds and presents some very special wines.
1. Chateau Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Leognan, Grand Cru Classe de
Graves, Kressmann, 1995
Deep brown-green. Rich
citrus nose. Citrus and pineapple good balance between acid and
fruit. Quite dry. Lovely! Kressmann is the negotiant
(and owner of the chateau, I think). The wine is made by Michelle
Roland and comes from a 6 ha. vineyard. The composition is 55% Semillon,
40% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscatel.
2. Tete de Cuvee, Chateau Puec-Haut, Coteaux de Languedoc, Gerard
Light gold. Big nose of
toasty oak. Fresh and fruity, with the oak not overpowering.
Warming! Gorgeous, unusual. Rousanne 55% and MArsanne
45%. Same maker (roland) as above. Aged 8 months in new
oak. Bru is a wealthy supermarket owner who bought the house of the
mayor of Montpelier and moved it stone by stone to the vineyard.
3. Cuvee Theo Gewurtztraminer, Domaine Weinbach Alsace, Colette
Faller et ses Filles, 1998
Deep green with an
unexpectedly floral, buttery nose. Creamy, hint of buterscotch, bursting
with fruit. Long finish of tea. 13.5% alc. Being picky,
as I feel entitled to be at this price, it's got a bit too much cream of
tartar for me.Having said that, it is quite lovely. My beloved wants
to buy lots of it :(
4. 'Milenium' Vina Tarapaca, Maipo Valley, Chile,
We had it last year and
thought it too young then. Mid red, hint of orange. Big
nose. Syrah comes through on nose. Stern but fresh, hit of
rubber? Quite nice but I wouldn't rush out to buy it (and others
agreed). Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz.
5. Chateau Kirwan Grand Cru Classe, Margaux, 1997
Farmyard nose not very pronounced. Quite tannic. Rubber and
silage and maybe not enough fruit. Nice, but a bit light and stalky,
and not going to improve. Not doing it for me.
6. Gran Coronas 'Mas la Plana' Gran Reserva, Miguel Torres, Spain,
murky. Nose a bit quiet, some blackcurrant. Spicy, fruity, not
too full, quite stern. Maturing nicely. Single vineyard, now
100% Cab Sauvignon; it used to have Tempranillo as well.
7. Delectus Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, 1996
Deep red, rich and
smooth Warm. Cab Sauvignon on the nose. Fruit,
sternness, slight sharpness, crunchy tannin. Very different, fresh,
lovely, but pricey. Prefer it to previous though. Listed top
10 in US. Hand crafted, reserve wines from Clos du Val and Duck
Horn. Alc. 13.5%
8. Chianti Rufina Reserva, Selvapiana DOCG, Tuscany
Lovely clean deep
red. Classically Italian nose. Some Madeira cake. Spicy,
well-knitted tannins. Quite stern, astringent finish. Very
nice. NE of Florence, 100% Sangiovese from the excellent Francesco Giuntini. Alc. 14%
9. Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 'Les Pruliers', Domaine Robert
Chevillon, Cote d'Or, 1992
orangey. Really farmyard. Still fresh, strawberry and
raspberry. Quite (too?) light, really refreshing, elegant. Hold up
to 7-8 years?
10. Vina Ardanza Reserva, La Rioja Alta, Rioja, Spain, 1995
red. Farmyard nose, not very big. On the palate rich, fresh,
elegant, fruity. Soft and complex. Very good, standing up well
to the very strong competition preceding it. Has 5% Mazuelo
(Carignan) and 5% Graciano (a rare, perfumed Rioja grape that is difficult
to grow and may be the same as the equally rare Morrastel of the
11. Duas Quintas Reserva, Adria Ramos-Pinto, Duoro, Portugal, 1994
murky. Christmas cake (some got medicinal) nose. Soft
tanninsfruit, sl medicinal, smooth, gorgeous. Still a few years in
it too. Touriga Nacional and Tinta Barroca.
12. Steenberg 'Catharina', Constantia Valley, South Africa, 1998
Deep red. Warm,
rich, hint of acetone. Big, but a bit less buttery over the
range. Good tannins (too much?) Still young, quite elegant,
peppery minty finish. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged in new oak.
13. Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Zenato, Veneto, Italy, 1997
Lovely deep colour.
Bit of atypical (for an Amarone) sweetness on the nose, and subsequently
on the palate. The amaro (bitterness) is there, but not as much as I
like. Very elegant, but the sweetness not balanced by ačnough
amaro. Not typical. I love the Zenato Ripassa, but this doesn't
measure up to expectations. 14.7%
14. Traditional Late-bottled Vintage Port, Ramos-Pinto, Portugal,
Perhaps a hint sweet. Elegant and still a bit of burn but nothing
too crude. Civilised and refreshing. 19.5%
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