Alan’s January 21, 2006 Vintages Release Tasting Notes


Hello, here a few quick notes on some of the wines being released on the 21st. Assuming that is you have money left in your wine budget after the super deals from the South American release earlier this month.

263418 COLUMBIA CREST 'GRAND ESTATES' MERLOT 2001, Columbia Valley, Washington, $19.95
Here is a wine that seems to have maintained a constant price for a number of years. There is a degree of stemmy underbrush on the nose, but lurking below I find enticing layers of dark fruit, coffee, cherry and milk chocolate. It's toasty, quite full and the finish has length.  Find this wine

Tasting this, and the Lytton Springs side by side, my money would back this wine to show best after time in the cellar. Although they are both quite nice right now, this could be a sleeper. It has more structure and elegance than its neighbour. There are earthy leafy notes along with cough drops, bramble, blackberry and raspberry/red coulis. There are pleasant herbaceous aspects, along with dried mint and Thai basil that complement the depth of fruit on the palate. The oak is subtle and creamy, the fruit is forward and the tannins do grip! Find this wine

595512 RIDGE 'HOME RANCH' 2002, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Petit Verdot, Santa Cruz Mountains $84.95
A mind blowing mix of expressive fruit, a floral quality, hard steely mineral, flint, and coal dust. It has excellent structure, delivering layer after layer of rich, but not overly ripe, currant, blueberry and silky dark chocolate flavours. The palate echoes the nose adding some cedar and eucalyptus notes. It is expensive, but it has the character and qualities of Ridge's flagship wine, the Monte Bello, that makes it really tempting. Find this wine

982413 RIDGE 'LYTTON SPRINGS' CALIFORNIA 2003, Dry Creek Valley, $44.95
This too has excellent structure and balance, but the power and expression of the Geyserville is not quite in the same league. The fruit is lovely, showing raspberry soda, maraschino cherry, blueberry and dark black cherry. The finish too is fruit laden with a touch of lavender and sweet milk chocolate. It is a lighter style, and as the catalogue states, quite claret like. Find this wine

954156 CHATEAU VILLEMAURINE 2001, St-Émilion Grand Cru, $69.95
A dusty cedar driven nose that has some tart red fruit, a whiff of dried sage and little else. Rather disappointing especially given the price. Find this wine

661835 GRAHAM BECK SHIRAZ/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2003, Western Cape, South Africa, $12.95
This has a tight nose at first that shows a little rubber, dark fruit, mineral and prune. The palate is showing sweet black and red fruit. Its finish is dusty and hollow, but it might show better after a few months in the cellar. Find this wine

710998 BANFI 'COLVECCHIO' SYRAH 2001, Sant'Antimo, Tuscany, Italy, $39.95
A rather tasty combination of creamy nutty vanilla, dark stewed fruit, coffee and leather. It is full, tasty and although quite tannic, it is drinking nicely now. Give it some time though and it should be really spiffy. Find this wine



998682 JOAO PORTUGAL RAMOS SYRAH 2004, Alentejano, Portugal, $20.95
Another ripe and creamy nose of black jam, white pepper, wet stone, dried Shitake mushroom and Asian tea. Lots of toasty sweet fruit on the tongue, clean acidity and a good finish. Needs some time. Find this wine

673707 JEAN LEON 'TERRASOLA' SYRAH/GARNACHA 2003, Catalunya, Spain, $16.95
A wonderfully balanced wine full of tar, bacon fat, blackberry, cassis and plum. The palate is solid. The finish is long and shows surprising concentration for the price. Gotta get me some of this. Find this wine

This is a lighter style of Chateauneuf that offers up gentle doses of juniper, strawberry, black cherry, violet and hay. The palate has more intensity and the finish leaves a pleasing layer of red fruit and anise. Find this wine


I find the nose is light showing only hints of pepper and blackberry. The palate follows that lighter style, but it is balanced. Not really too much more I can say about this, to be honest. Find this wine



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