The combination of Chicago blues, booze
Ridge bash in California got the better of me last month and
consequently I missed the tasting for June. Well this month I am back but
unfortunately I am sad to report there is little to get excited about in
July’s release. As usual I was pushed for time to taste all that was
sent to London but thanks to the crew assembled, I was able to steer clear
of most of the nasty stuff and maneuver my glass to the better picks of
the bunch. There were several nice reds from Chile, good summer sippers
from Southern France, Spain and Portugal and one or two stunners from
California. I chose to bypass the fruit wines, as I am not fan, and ran
out of time to hit most of the whites. In case you are unaware, Vintages
now splits the release in half making them available on two separate
July 6 release.
349746 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1997 $ 19.95, Barrel Select, North Coast,
Quite a lot of upfront blackcurrant jammy aromas. Hints of forest floor
and walnut shell are just below the aromas of the fruit. Oak was on the
sweet side. Not a bad wine for the price but the fruit seemed to fade
quickly leaving a touch of astringency on the slightly tannic finish.
732503 ZINFANDEL 1999 $ 28.40, Amador County, Ravenswood.
Deep ruby/garnet colour, lovely sweet aromas of ripe plum, caramel, red
currant and raspberry coulis. Sweet spice and red fruits were the
principal flavours. Excellent balance, full bodied and a pleasure to
729715 SYRAH 2000 $ 24.70, 'Shooting Star', Lake County, Steele
This was possibly one of my favourite wines of the day. Lovely rich deep
purple/inky colour, aromas of black toffee candies, layers of licorice,
fennel seed and plum. All of these aromas echoed on the palate along with
a dollop of ripe rich blackberry fruit. The long finish was rich and full
of dusty tannins, pepper and pure fruit. Just the perfect wine to
accompany a couple of lambs on the Barbeque.
975177 MERLOT 1999 $ 17.95, Limestone Coast, Heathfield Ridge, Oz.
There was a debate as to whether or not this wine was corked. I sided with
those that thought it was not but nonetheless; there was something
unpleasant about it. Initially, there was a noticeable touch of mustiness
to the nose but an overblown mint character soon overshadowed that. Some
pleasing flavours of cherry and redcurrant but the bitter finish
overpowered them. Possibly a flawed bottle
598128 SHIRAZ 2000 $ 16.95, South Australia, Barossa Valley Estate.
A wine of the month that I enjoyed! Pinky purple colour, quite viscous on
the palate exuding flavours of black raspberry, red currant and mint. Good
length and refreshing acids.
746651 MERLOT RESERVE 2000 $ 16.75, Casablanca Valley, Viña Casa
del Bosque, Chile.
Dark and dense in the glass. The sweet aromas of blackberry and raspberry
gave way to some pleasing milk chocolate and mineral tones. Quite full on
the palate, little tarry, clean acidity with a touch of bell pepper on the
finish. Good stuff. Maybe needs a little time for the fruit to really
950154 PRIVATE RESERVE 1999 $ 18.65, 'Last Edition', Maipo Valley,
Viña Tarapacá, Chile.
Another really dark thick wine throwing out aromas of prune, leather,
chocolate, plum and a faint touch of cracked black pepper. Quite rich,
plush and chewy in the mouth. Layers of blackcurrant and blackberry were
forward but there were hints of mushroom and game that carried well into
the finish. I tried this twice and my only negative point was the finish
dropped of sooner than I expected. However, a good wine indeed.
981118 CHÂTEAU CRUSCADES HORTALA 1998 $ 10.95, Corbières, France.
An affordable wine, best bought in large quantities to be opened
whenever need arises. There were tons of blackberry, blueberry and
redcurrant flavours all packed into this very drinkable wine.
983643 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 1999 $ 32.80, Domaine Lucien Barrot et
Med to full bodied, juicy and ripe. A lovely mélange of plum, pepper,
lavender and red berries. Quite tannic in its current state but judging
from the long and chewy finish, it should be lovely in a year or more.
991976 DOMAINE DE LA CAMARETTE 1998 $ 15.95, Côtes du Ventoux,
Christiane & Pierre Gontier.
This wine should carry a warning label advising the purchaser not to
remove the contents from the bottle for years. All of my previous
encounters with wines from this appellation have been simple but good
value wines that I figured are best consumed in their youth. This was
certainly an exception. Almost black in the glass, packed with layers of
plum, cherry, blackberry, chocolate, morels and pepper. Oddly enough, it
shut down on the mid palate just before the massive concentration of
tannin exploded on the finish. If the fruit can outlive the tannin, this
will be a classic especially given the price tag.
728469 DOMAINE SAINT-DAMIEN 1999 $ 24.60, Gigondas, Povidis.
Dark garnet colour, some sweet cake candy aromas, pleasing cherry,
plum and damson flavours. Well rounded with a decent finish.
988477 LIRAC 1999 $ 17.85, Domaine Duseigneur.
Not sure about this one. A touch of must on the nose and a "nail
polish remover" edge as well. Flavours were mostly that of coffee,
rhubarb and sour cherry. Not my fav of the day for sure.
972695 CHIANTI CLASSICO 1997 $ 23.95, 'Panzano', Castelli del
Lots of dusty cloves, cinnamon spice and tobacco leaf on the nose.
Sweet red berry and blackberry flavours mixed well with the lively acids.
Still quite tannic, but very pleasant.
707208 'SASSELLA' RISERVA 1996 $ 21.80, Valtellina Superiore,
Cantine San Carlo.
The catalogue lists this as a "Vintages discovery" but I
have been buying this wine from them for years. This mostly Nebbiolo based
wine has always offered a solid wine than can age quite well. Complex
bouquet of red berries, blackcurrant, tar, cloves and mineral laden soil.
The fruit took over on the palate to show lovely blackberry, currant and
fresh raspberry notes. Earthy white peppercorns and blackberry on the
finish. Good Juice.
703561 QUINTA DOS ACIPRESTES 1999 $ 19.95, Douro, Companhia Velha,
Nice dark garnet colour, hints of plum, berries, sawdust and a tiny
touch of poo on the nose. Medium to full bodied, fruit became really
focused on the mid palate and carried well into the long finish. I really
was impressed with this wine.
29728 'CORONAS' 2000 $ 11.50, Tempranillo, Catalunya, Miguel Torres,
A bargain basement wine full of coffee, dusty chocolate, blackcurrant
and raspberries. Buy lots!
July 20 release.
557272 MERITAGE RESERVE 1998 $ 16.95, Niagara Peninsula, Inniskillin,
A solid wine at a reasonable price that exhibits the concentration and
depth of flavour that Niagara wines are capable of producing. Its nose was
full of smoke, game, tobacco, cocoa powder, cedar, lead pencil and black
fruits. The lovely mid palate opened up the blackcurrant and berry
components. I did detect a green tea element on the finish that did leave
a slight bitter taste but I was alone on that assessment. Well worth
putting a bottle or two away for a while to see what how they evolve.
732735 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2000 $ 21.65, McLaren Vale, Dowie Doole,
Full of charming and fully mature fruit flavours, perfect acidity and
a good long finish of blackberry, mint and blackcurrant.
746693 CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE 2000 $ 16.75, Casablanca Valley,
Viña Casas del Bosque, Chile.
Not a fan, overblown with essence of cassis and hints of minty
960542 CARMENÈRE RESERVA 2000 $ 14.90, Colchagua Valley, Viña
Deep red ruby colour, hints of barnyard/straw flowers and fruit. Sweet
blueberry and cherry on the palate with a touch of mint on the finish.
728097 'QUE SERA SIRAH' 1999 $ 11.60, Syrah, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Paul
Another decent quaffer that is well priced. It had that fuzzy texture
and it was full of cherry and sweet blueberry flavours. A Light clean
finish and drinking well.
738278 DOMAINE FORCA RÉAL 2000 $ 14.40, Côtes du Roussillon
Villages, J.P. Henriquès.
Deep ruby/purple glaze, quite thick and silky, hints of garrigue, and
Provencale herbs coupled with dense raspberry and plum aromas. Touch of
licorice mixes with the clean fresh fruit flavours. Nice stuff.
973008 CAIRANNE 2000 $ 15.80, 'Cuvée Léa Felsch', Côtes-du-Rhône