is officially here, although so still is the snow, and the sub zero
temperatures. Yet somehow the urge to spring clean did get the better of
me last week so off to the cellar I went. A few hours later I clambered
up the stairs, having several bottles tucked under arm, all of which I
thought best be drunk soon. Most of the geriatric wine troop was
composed of treats I knew would survive the test of time, but one bottle
in particular had me perplexed. Would a
Groth Napa Cabernet have held up, would it be on its last legs,
or had it gone to meet its maker years before?
Wine of the Month
590216 CLOS DU VAL ZINFANDEL 1999 $19.95, California
This is an endearing little wine, but I think it may just be past its prime. It has some stewed plum, nutmeg, cooked raspberry, burnt sugar and sweet spice on the nose. The palate is mostly cooked fruit and the acid levels are certainly discernable. It is by no means dead, but it is not a wine to put away.
589945 WOLF BLASS 'GOLD LABEL' CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002 $29.95, Coonwarra, South Australia
A fruit driven, rather clumsy wine that offers aromas of ripe blackcurrant along with a pleasing touch of earthy moss to offset its jammy character. The acids are in balance and there is a tasty layer of vanilla to compliment the fruit on the finish.
974816 D'ARENBERG 'THE IRONSTONE PRESSINGS' GRENACHE/SHIRAZ/MOURVEDRE 2002 $47.95, McLaren Vale, Australia
Oh my golly, here is a wine to lay down and forget about for a long, long time. It currently has a hard texture on its dense and tightly wound palate. It teases by suggesting plum skin, damson jam, black raspberry, cedar and violet. Due to its intense level of tannin, it is showing so little right now. The structure is all there; one just has to be patient.
650887 WAYNE THOMAS PETIT VERDOT 2003 $35.95, McLaren Vale, South Australia
I liked this wine until I got home and discovered the price. The nose tenders white pepper, sweet maraschino cherry, some lavender and plum. The palate is well rounded and the finish shows some mineral and slate. As I said, I like it, but not that much to pay the asking price.
731620 E&E BLACK PEPPER SHIRAZ 2001 $99.95, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Barossa Valley Estate
A creamy fruit based aroma oozes from my glass, featuring blackberry, plum, black pepper, thyme, dark chocolate and floral notes. It is a big wine; yet again it comes with a big price tag. I imagine this will be a nice wine a few years down the road. The fruit is there and so is the structure and balance. I am just not sure it is worth a C note.
963751 CHÂTEAU POTENSAC 2001 $35.95, Médoc
This is showing some nice fruit; it is medium bodied, clean and simple. However, I am not overly impressed.
680736 LES GONDATS DE MARQUIS-DE-TERME 2000 $39.95, Margaux, Second Wine of Château Marquis-de-Terme
This is hard to describe, as it seems to have shutdown quite substantially. There are notes of earthy mineral, a wet leather aroma and lots of dried fruit. I would say it is quite full bodied, the fruit is there, but I just can't get to it.
654574 CHATEAU MERVILLE 2001, CORBIERES. $15.95
At last a wine I can call a bargain. It explodes with aromas of bramble, thyme, black fruit coulis, pond water, toffee and black candy. The palate does match the price, meaning it is a little light, but its well balanced and quite refined. The finish is dusty with a touch of pepper and a small degree of heat.
597138 CUSUMANO 'BENUARA' 2002, $22.95, Nero d'Avola, Syrah, Sicily
Here is a lovely concoction of dark chocolate, tea, liquorish, redcurrant and blackberry. It has a huge degree of extraction that runs black fruit all across my tongue. The finish is long exhibiting fruit, pepper, clove and more fruit. Good stuff indeed.
590380 D'ARENBERG 'THE BONSAI VINE', GRENACHE/SHRAZ/MOURVEDRE, 2001, $25.95, McLaren Vale, Australia
This particular d'Arenberg, unlike its brawny big brother, delivers instant gratification. It is showing dark jammy fruit, damson, dark cherry, some floral notes and a little cedar to pull it all together. The palate is sweet, but not overly so, just enough to render it lip smacking. The finish has lots of that aforementioned fruit and a layer of milk chocolate tannin that does throw a touch of astringency into the mix. The latter will soften, I am sure, with very short term cellaring or a little aeration.
594903 SEPPELT 'CHALAMBAR' SHIRAZ 2000 $24.95, Victoria, Australia
The bottle is adorned with stickers boasting of its triumphs in down under competitions. I can see why it performed so well; it is a pleasurable wine that has a thick, slightly sweet and silky palate. It has notes of dark chocolate, spearmint, vanilla and blackberry. A nice bottle!
593657 'MOCULTA' CABERNET MERLOT 2001 $19.95, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Barossa Valley Estate
A nice funky little nose of Portobello mushroom, dried leaves, blackcurrant and black fruit jam. The mid palate is quite bracing, the acids are that of red currant, but the finish does not stick around as long as I would like it to. It is nice enough though to warrant trying again.
651521 GLEN CARLOU 'GRAND CLASSIQUE' 2001 $21.95, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, Paarl, Walter and David Finlayson, South Africa
On the palate this is warm and silky. The alluring nose offers up some potato skin, leather, tar, mint chocolate candy, shoe polish and a whack of tasty blackcurrant. The finish is full of black fruit, both currant and berry along with a rich crŠme brulee texture. Great stuff.
933317 FONTODI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2002 $31.95
Lots of red fruit, tangerine peel, juniper berry and tar on the nose. The mid palate is balanced. Raspberry and milk chocolate flavours arrive on the finish.
982298 'TINTO ARROYO' CRIANZA 1998, $17.95, Ribera del Duero,
Bodega S. Arroyo
Save the best for last they say. Well this intriguing wine is full of herbaceous notes of sage, lavender and thyme. There are also earthy/sewer notes, a touch of sandalwood/coconut aroma, but the gorgeous wave of blueberry, strawberry, plum and black currant take the principal role on the palate. It has chocolaty tannin and plenty of gusto to take some further aging. Given the price this has to be the QPR wine of the release.