What a treat this tasting was. Not a duff wine, with every one exhibiting real character and taste. A real advert for Raeburn on the strength of this, and enough to persuade at least one Glaswegian to visit Edinburgh - no easy task. Highlights for me were the Le Soula and the Valli Vineyards .
2001 Le Soula (France) VdP Blanc des Coteaux des Fenouilledes
Pale, almost clear appearance with green hints. Medium intensity with a sulphurous wild initial smell, like cheese sticks. Time reveals some blue cheese aroma. Slatey, almost sweet fruit with strong fresh acidity. Lovely balance and length. Excellent.
2000 FX Pichler (Austria) Gruner Veltliner Durnsteiner Kellerberg Smaragd
Straw Yellow, pale. High intensity chemical, slightly honeyed nose with some citrus fruit edge. Complex, sweet, earthy, citrussy, fades quickly but retains a lingering intensity. VG/Excellent.
2001 Domaine Gourt de Mautens (France ) Rasteau Cotes du Rhone Villages
Deep red, opaque in colour. Stinky mercaptan nose of medium intensity. Spicy gripping taste, very fruit-driven. Good balanced tannin, quite herby mid-palate with spicy pepper and long length. Acid keeps it tight. I could drink lots of this. Excellent.
1996 Lorenzo Accomasso (Italy) Barolo “Rochette”
Dark red to rim. Dark bitter cherry and cocoa/chocolate aromas of medium intensity. Little evidence of oak. Fruitcake core, tight fresh acidity, evolved powerful mouthcoating tannin with velvety mouthfeel. Great structure. Excellent. Shame it’s named after a Rangers footballer….
2001 Valli Vineyards (New Zealand) Central Otago Pinot Noir, Bald Hills Vineyard
Plum throughout to rim. Huge nose with gorgeous evolved fruit scent with creamy oak overlay. Hint of cabbage. Big fruit with spice and grip at the back of the mouth. Warm finish in a fruity but not “jammy” style – certainly no confection that spoils so many NW Pinots. One of, if not the best, NW pinots I have had. Excellent.
1999 Joseph Swan Sonoma Zinfandel, Stellwagen Vineyard
Dank nose, sweet VA initially, with vanilla nuances. Big big spice, grip and fruit, but the volatility remains prominent. Big-bodied, long in length, with a lot of character. Very Good.