This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2005








UK Wine Forum - South and Central America
Notes from participants in the UK Forum are added in chronological order.

Brazil - Chile - Argentina - Uruguay - Mexico

Brazil

04/03 2000 Boscato, Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva
The best Brasilian wine of my visit (in fact the only one worth talking about) comes from the Rio Grande do Sul. This is about as far south as you can get in Brasil, close to Uruguay and the northern border of Argentina. The climate here is obviously a bit more forgiving than the hot and steamy Brasil of the north. The colour is deep if not quite saturated with a purple rim. The cabernet nose is a nice mix of black fruits tending towards blackberry. The (12.7%) smooth palate shows good acidity, fine concentration and medium smooth tannins. A wine that is lovely to enjoy already, I'm not sure if there would be any benefit to wait. Very good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

Chile

02/04 1995 Casa Lapostolle Merlot Cuvee Alexandre
If you have any of these left, drink them straight away. Whilst still the light tannins & fruit in there, they are definitely on the fast-train to nowhere. (Chris East, UK)

02/04 Vinedos Organicos Emiliana Coyam 2001
For starters this wine comes in the best weapon for going into hand to hand combat that I can think of. (I used one to batter some cocky Millwall fans who took the Michael after Telford United's brave defeat last Wednesday.) Shame then that the wine isn't such a heavy weight. Its a mish mash of varieties - like Millwall's support - some mourvedre a bit of merlot... da-dee-da. No nose to report. Maybe a faint whiff of mint. The palate is medium going on light bodied. Again a bit of minty ripeness, but nowhere near as intense as I'd expect from a Chilean. All in all a bit of a disappointment. 14% abv. The Wine Society £8.95 (Daron Fincham, UK)

11/03 1996 Montes Alpha
100% Cabernet, medium to full bodied and showed black fruit gums pastilles, quite cedary but simple and characterless, especially next to some good clarets. ok. Had concentration, but lacked a midpalate, quite long in the mouth but little complexity. Short termer left too long. (nick wise, UK>

08/03 1998 Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley 14%
Blackcurrant Cordial! The same intense fruit sweetness, and fat, glycerin-loaded promise of your standard fruit concentrate. Somehow managing to get past the smell, one finds sweet, jammy confected fruit with tannin making a late arrival on the palate. This wine isn't young, it's positively foetal! Potentially Very Good, but for me, almost undrinkable at the moment. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

05/03 Torres Maquehua Chardonnay, Barrel-Fermented, Curico 2000
Layers and layers of lovely, buttery fruit. Reminded me a lot of a limited edition Toques & Clocher Chardonnay I had earlier on this year, but either way it is a great, great chardonnay. Perfectly in balance, with lots of bready, fruit, this is the best Chilean white I've ever tried and a wine that would hold its own with 20 GBP+ wines from more famous lands. According to the Wine Searcher, its available for around 8 GBP, which makes it an absolute steal. And to think I almost ordered a 98 1998 Coche-Dury Puligny Montrachet Les Enseigneres instead ..... (Cameron Clark, Holland)

03/03 Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc Reserve 2000
A hugely enjoyable and surprising wine. Deep red, almost black in colour. On the nose, my wife and I would have said it was Zinfandel: brambly, very sweet raspberry fruit. In the mouth, lively and rich, with svelte tannins, more recognisably Cabernet Franc and very ripe. Decent finish. Very good/very interesting. (£6.99 down from £8.99 at Tesco). (Matthew Mellor, UK)

01/03 Concha y Toro Winemakers Lot Vic 3 Syrah 2001
Deep bluey/bloody purple. Nose of blueberries, warm dough, and surprisingly after time, a bit of cooked banana too. Very deep fruit, enough acidity, creamy/velvetty texture, restrained but slightly woody oak. Some N Rhone-style "meatiness" coming through with air. Impressive stuff. G/VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/02 Cono Sur Reserve Pinot Noir, 1999
Needed some wine for the oxtail I was cooking. Never had a nice Chilean Pinot, but this was actually quite good. Very oaky though, and seemed to be dominated by structure rather than fruit. Surprising wine. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

10/02 Montes (Chile) Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
From the Santa Cruz area, Apalta Vineyard blah, blah, blah ... These days spending a tenner on a bottle constitutes "pushing the boat out", so I was glad that this was so pleasing. Lush nose of vanilla and blackcurrant; soft creamy palate of black fruit but enough tannin to give it a reasonably refreshing finish for a Chilean. Good gear. 14% abv. £9.99 Majestic. (Daron Fincham, UK)

09/02 Valdaveiso Caballo Loco Number One
The colour is still impressively youthful looking with a deep ruby. The nose seems to have taken on some cedary secondary nuances but remains fresh - a little high toned perhaps in a New-Worldy way. Overall the oak has integrated and the overall impression is smoke tinged mulberry fruit. Doesn't come across as cabernet dominent, but more towards the malbec spectrum. On the palate though I'm finding it now a bit more disappointing - I don't know on reflection if it's always been the case, but the fruit seems a bit towards lean, that is a bit too in check with the acids; there's no obtrusive tannin but the finish doesn't impress. I guess I was looking for a more fulfilling and generous mouthfeel. I see no danger of this wine falling away rapidly, but I don't think the fruit is outlasting the structure. Not a bad, elegantly styled food wine though, has to be said. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/02 1998 Veramonte, Primus
A blend of Carmenère and Cabernet Sauvignon. Almost opaque with purple to highlight the ruby colour. Nose is deep black & blueberry with subtle pipe tobacco. The lush and very full palate has mouth watering acidty and hefty tanins, balance comes through really ripe fruit. This is a big wine and currently quite unsubtle. But that doesn't mean it's not fun! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 Chardonnay Reserva, Mont Gras 2002
One blast from the nose and this wine revealed itself for what it was. A little artificial, highly commercially styled wine: yes it had some appley fruit, but it was toffee rich without a sufficiently pleasant acid balance. High alcohol and thick-textured, which cloyed a little on the finish. Bizarre, because it's a wine that needs food, but you can't imagine what kind of food! At 2.99 this is decent, at 5.99, a different matter. OK. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

08/02 Casa Lapostolle (Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon 1995
So there I am in the Carlton Colville branch of "Rainbow" (as the Co-Op is known in Suffolk) and what do I find? Chilean wine of some antiquity. I remember a Tim Atkins (sic) article in the Observer some years ago saying in effect that 1995 changed his mind about Chilean red. And here was some to put to the test. Now i know I've rubbished this producer before and am quite happy to take on all comers, Abalonebaseter included, in my belief that the Cuvee Alexandre is well-overpriced - but this wine was really good. A beautifully curranty bouquet with some silky vanilla oak and a restrained 13% alcohol by volume - yum! Well worth the ludicrous £5.99 (Daron Fincham, UK)

07/02 La Mira Chardonnay 2001
Palish gold with some depths. Big fresh nose - rather complex. Quite fragrant and grassy, lemony and a hint of vanilla. Very full & rounded. Big and rich, with the (14%) alcohol clearly showing through. Clean, very rich and full. Very mouthfilling. Not too oaky. Massive length. Very good. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

06/02 Jacques et François Lurton Araucano Merlot Colchagua Valley 2000
Dark but transparent purple. Nose shows minor barnyard and petrol, more Australian than Chilean in style, with good acidity on the palate. Long and elegant, slightly cooked / kitcheny on the finish. Interesting and not too expensive at L7. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Vina Casa Rivas Maipó Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
Light, evasive, slightly glassy nose, with notes of salami and bell-pepper on the palate. Neither too concentrated nor juicy, a bit vague in mouth, has some Cabernet character but all in all rather anonymous. L5.25. (Nerval, UK)

04/02 Montes Alpha Cabernet 1995
Lovely clear red. Lots of cherries and violets and is fantastic to drink. Would be impossible to keep any longer as its so difficult to put down now. Ok with a curry as well (Cameron Clark, Holland)

04/02 Montes "Alpha" Syrah 2000
Smokey, minty, drinkable, but dear for what it is. (Supposedly grown on slopes of their premium vineyard.) 14% abv. £11.99 Morrisons. (Daron Fincham, UK)

02/02 Santa Rita 120 Chardonnay 2001
Cheap chardonnay that has the advantage of little or no oaking. Brought by someone who couldn't find the Catena, this is a better wine, but not great. Fine for the summer with a nice feta salad (Cameron Clark, Holland)

02/02 Undurraga 1998 Reserve Cabernet
Perfect wine, very much in the class of Kunoonga hill. Lovely combination of cabernet fruit and oak. Reasonable alcohol and concentration, the finish is long and spicy. This is as good as it gets for GBP 5. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

01/02 1999 Clos Apalta
A blend of Carmenère, Merlot, Cab. Sauvignon & Malbec. Massively, deeply coloured, fades to purple at the edge. Nose starts muted, then tons of cassis, violets, almonds, just perceptible vanilla, and a hint of volatility burning the nostrils. This wine has very sweet fruit, just as well, it's doing battle with very hefty, mouth coating, furry tannins and a strong lick of acidity. This wine is less 'together' than say '97 Sena but certainly more interesting today than Almaviva or Don Maximano founders reserve, potentially this wine is the grand-daddy of them all. Very, very good if you can find a bottle. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

10/01 Errazuriz Don Maximiano Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
Hyper-ripe. smooth and juicy wine could be your Valandraud (apart from the fact there is no merlot in it). 14% abv. Tesco £8.99. (Daron Fincham, UK)

10/01 Valdievieso Single Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Franc 1998
Beautiful blackcurrant nose, deep red colour and a soft sweet palate with just enough of a drying finish. Georgeous easy drinking wine. Part of a dozen from the recent 20% off promotion. 13% abv. Tesco £8.99 (Daron Fincham, UK)

08/01 Errazuriz Reserva Chardonnay 1997
Deep golden colour, buttery vanilla nose, some fruit in the palate but dominated by the buttery oak. Really hard work to get through. (Mark Pearce, UK)

06/01 Vistamar "Vistasur" Sauvignon Blanc 2000
Clean , zippy, slightly peachy. Quite good/good and good value at £4-odd from Majestic. (Paul Armstrong,UK)

03/01 CABALLA LOCO #1, VALDIVIESO
Deep colour, quite leggy with a nose of soft vanilla fruit with a hint of cedar and capsicum.Solid in the mouth, jammy, spicy, slightly medicinal, quite complex, well balanced. Finish is long and lasting, should go a few more years. Very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

02/01 Montes Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley 1999
Says on the label this is Montes first bottling of a pinot and a first class effort it is. Lovely perfumed nose and a really silky mouthfeel. 12.5% abv. (I really hope in the future they don't go above this.) £6.99, Majestic (Daron Fincham, UK)

01/01 Montes "Alpha" Merlot, Curico Valley 1998
Same year, but considered a "problem" in Chile as opposed to NZ. This is certainly lighter bodied than previous vintages. Clearer with less residuals. But so smooth and sweet and easy going. Not complex but nice to drink. 13.5% abv. £8.99 (Daron Fincham, UK)

11/00 Vina Santa Rita "Reserva Familia" Cabernet Sauvignon 1997
I'd read that '97 Maipo Valley cabernet was supposed to be good and its true. Better than the '96 bottling, this wine has none of the stewed nature of that vintage. A pleasant nose layered over pure black fruit flavours. A smooth, medium bodied wine. Probably only a "vinum" on the Riedel scale but well worth the £9.49 asked in Morrisons. 13.5% abv (or so the winemaker guesses.) (Daron Fincham, UK)

10/00 Errazuriz Chardonnay 1999
Light yellow. Full out honey, tropical fruit, butter and vanilla sweetness with a hint of plastic varnish. Mouthfilling, pleasant fruit with unintegrated acid and alcohol, nice heft, a bit harsh, quite a hazelnutty, fruity finish. Plastic varnish once again shows up. Shortish. (Yixin Ong, UK)

10/00 Valdievieso Single Vineyard Merlot 1998
Black. Plummy nose. Simple palate. Nice. Three stars? Or just a binary system? (Achieved the accolade of "Decanter Award" recently.) £8.99 13.5% abv. (Daron Fincham, UK)

08/00 Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
Appearance: thick purple
Bouquet: on opening, incredibly fresh blackcurrent juice
Palate: good cassis fruit but very acidic and finishes with harsh tannins. Actually quite hard to drink now. It will either improve or get worse. Will try again in 2 years. (Charles, UK)

07/00 Antiyal (Maipo) 1998
Antiyal is a Chilean red made by the winemaker from Vina Carmen from his own biodynamically farmed grapes. (CS, Merlot and Syrah) The bottle has an artisan look about it with the top dipped in wax (rather than a capsule) and the bottles individually numbered by hand. Deep crimson appearance and a captivating, exotic, sweet (ripe) bouquet. Reminds me a bit of Musar. There is a gamey character in there with red fruits and blackcurrant and spice (violets and cardomom) and quite a hot feel. The first thing that strikes me is the beautiful texture from the very fine tannins. Complex palate with cherries, blackcurrants and a hint of vanilla. The gamey edge is there and also sometimes a herbaceousness. A powerful wine with layers of flavour and a long finish. Still a young wine. Harmonious and balanced it is in the style of a top Languedoc red. Very good. £14.95 from Adnams (Will Hamilton, UK)

06/00 Caballo Loco Three - Valdevieso
The first thing that strikes you is the thick oak makeover that's been applied to this wine. On the nose it's still quite pleasant but with of sweet French oak (doesn't seem aggressive or spicy enough to be American oak) and mulberry fruit. However, on the palate the oak takes on a syrupy edge and dominates the fruit leaving a oaky finish with slightly drying tannin. It comes with a deep ruby red with a burgundy tinged rim. After two hours though (and why I opened it in the afternoon it has to be said !), the oak does finally subside. Only then do you get sweet pinot fruit coming through although it reminds me of New World (esp. a good one from New Zealand) pinot in that it's got that sweet jammy red fruit meshed with generous but complexing oak. I'd say the mulberry fruit is likely to be malbec/merlot and is that a touch of cabernet blackcurrant with the tannins on the finish ? This is not a long term wine but might well improve over the next couple of years. Overall a good wine that does drink very nicely after a good dose of air. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

06/00 Caballo Loco Two - Valdevieso
A similar youthful, dense colour to No. Three. An altogether superior nose on two fronts; firstly the oak wasn't overboard with creamy vanilla rather more attractive toasted oak or 'pain grille' and secondly; an un-mistakably Bordeaux like similarity too - lead pencil, smokey oak and rich blackcurrant fruit - could easily pass for a Classed Growth. The palate though was very tannic on opening but is softening now by the minute. Needs either air (I hope) or time in the bottle to round out and soften the tannins but this wine seems like it has ample black fruits and reasonable finish to age well in the medium term. Overall this must be a merlot and or malbec/cabernet blend. No sign of dominant pinot that seems to be the style of No. Three. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

06/00 Caballo Loco Number One - Valdevieso
I was originally thinking of opening all three together, although within a week is pretty close. A dark ruby colour - no signs of age other than less burgundy than the younger wines. A perfectly integrated fruit and oak nose on opening - earthy, almost meaty black and red fruits with spicy (or is that the malbec ?), cedary oak. Palate seems a little more reserved than the later wines but I think that's because the oak is subsiding leaving the elegant, yet fully ripe and rich fruit to the fore. The oak again has meshed nicely into the fruit offering a fine, balanced palate of rich, spicy fruit and fine, oak tinged finish. I'm not convinced this is far off it's best with almost fully softened tannins (unlike No.2) and fully integrated oak (unlike No. 3) - I'd say drink over the next 3 years although it should see out at least 5. Takes on notes of coffee and mocha with air and cedar becomes more pronounced on the palate. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

Davalos Colome Cabernet/Malbec '97
Subtle smoky oak and very ripe plum and curranty nose. The palate packs a big alcoholic punch with seemingly strong acid intensity and is finishes well. With time the ripeness becomes a bit too much for me, becoming hotter and less focused on the palate. Remained an impressive wine though - but I'd struggle to share a bottle between two! (Nick Alabster - UK)

04/00 Casa Lapostolle Merlot Cuvée Alexandre 1996
A striking wine. On the nose there is a rich blast of sweet blackcurrant fruit, with a pastille-like quality. On the palate it is concentrated and lush, with ripe fruit seamlessly integrated with spicy oak. Unashamedly 'new world', this is a satisfying and deep wine that is drinking very well at present. Very good. (Current release is 1998, widely available at around £12) (Jamie Goode - UK)

03/00 Casa Lapostalle Merlot Cuvée Alexandre 1996
Little beauty 'tis this. A bit chunky and oaky when relased nearly two years ago, now it seems £10 very well spent indeed. A sheen of toasty French chocolaty oak and wild creamy berry fruit. Richly fruity with good tannic underbelly with good overall balance, depth and length. I know there's some good wine to be had from Chile (esp. now if you're willing to pay between £20-35 which I've not tried). The '97 was pretty good too although was it a touch over-ripe? An 18/20 wine for me which at £10 makes it my QPR wine to beat so far this year. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

02/00 MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1997
Appearance: nice red-purple colour. Not an intense/deep hue. Nose: intense blackcurrant fruit, with pencil-shavings, minty notes and vanillan oak adding a touch of elegance. Palate: Soft but detectable tannins and acidity. Black fruit. Medium body. Smooth slightly spicy finish. Pleasant length (surprising). (Chris Kissack - UK)

Argentina

09/03 Cabernet Sauvignon Cantina Alta, Nicholas Catena 1997
Fine wine. Deep red. Minty, fresh nose, good blackcurrant. Nice balance in the mouth; ripe fruit, sweet and firm. Good length on the finish. Pricey, but - Very good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

05/03 Masi Tupungato Passo Doble 1999
Malbec/Corvina/Merlot blend: Very dark. A rich, fruity nose with cherries and blackcurrants. Quite alcoholic. Palate is pretty extracted, with hints of bitterness. Good fruit, though, and some length. Clearly the best Argentinean wine I have tried. (David Strange, UK)

11/02 Cavas de Weinert, Bodega Weinert (Argentina) 1994
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. Deep tawny colour. But the wine itself is soupy and reductive, with a pretty basic blackcurrant nose. There's a little whiff of something fruitcakey and interesting underneath, but struggling. Also the tannins are big, chewy and harsh. This is difficult stuff, and was better on release. Tates like nothing so much as a tough old claret. * only (Joel Hopwood, UK)

10/02 Norton Torrontes 1998
Pale yellow/hint of green with big whiff of acacia and elderberries on the nose. THis folows throught quite nicely to the front of the mouth then dies and the wine has no lenth at all. OK drinking on a summers day in June..not for wet night in Nottingham. (David Bennett, UK)

10/02 Norton Privada 1995
(about £9.95 from Wine Soc) -A reliable, good value red (a mix of Malbec, Cab Sauv, Merlot) with big fruit and oak but nicely cut with dryness and acidity. 14.5/20 (Simon Wharton, UK)

09/02 Las Miras Reserve 2001 – Argentina – 14% - £9 (US$14)
A Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend from the Tulam Valley, San Juan. A trade sample, this wine was aged in a combination of French and US oak for 12 months/ A deep red colour invited the new oak and predominately Shiraz nose, some Cabernet fruit detected in the background. It tasted like sweet Shiraz, ripe tannins, dry finish, and simple wine. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/02 Libertad Chenin-Sauvignon Blanc 2000
Reduced from £4.11 to £1.58 a bottle. Naturally, at that price, expectations aren't exactly high, but it's safe to say they were well and truly exceeded. Mid straw. Excellent nose - fairly classic sauv blanc nose, tempered with a nutty warmth, presumably from the Chenin. Nice attack: fresh, with fairly foward fruit. Wills well, quite big and rich with good structure. Finishes very nicely and with great length. Very well balanced wine. Absolutely exceptional at the price! (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

07/02 BA brut
V. moussy. Good, even v. fine bubbles. Medium gold. quite a warm nose - distinctly peachy and quite a scented note in background. Light & clean on attack. fills well. Very fruity. Lacks acidity. quite foamy in mouth. Very much off-dry, tending towards demi sec. V. clearly not champagne and doesn't even have the elegance of a top cremant. But clean and pleasant. Good finish. Something different with a bit of character. Bargain price. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

07/02 1999 Malbec, Sublimis, Vina Maipu
Colour deep cherry with a nose full of rich prunes and plums, rich fruit stays in the mouth, with with hints of minty chocolate and background leathery oak, nicely balanced, smooth structure, finishes a little short but V.Nice. (Dave Sansom , UK)

05/02 Wienert Malbec 1994 , Mendoza
Colour - solid brick red fading to rim, nose - sweet rich plums , black cherries and cedar . Palate - Sweet fine fruit,plummy and well balanced with still fine but firm tannins, toasty oak and cedar dry good finish. Drinking really well - I expected it to be a bit shot, but the grape and winemaking seem to have done well - VGood + (Stephen Pickles, UK)

04/02 Dolium Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
An "old fashioned" style, not quite my cup of tea. Overpriced. 13.5% abv. £8.99 Morrisons. (Daron Fincham, UK)

03/02 Ricardo Santos Malbec "La Madras Vineyard" 1999
Opaque young purple colour. Mild buttery/vanilla nose with slightly confected blackberry fruit. Palate has a thick velvetty low acid texture, with interesting "sweet & sour" contrast between the upfront sweet clean black fruits and the slightly sour earthy afterburn. Initial rating of G/VG downgraded to G after extended drinking, and also clashed horribly with a pizza supper which further highlighted its rather lowish acidity and flabbiness. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

02/02 Catena 1997 Chardonnay
The 2000 is the current vintage and as this was bought from a shop the same day I presume its been sitting suffering for a few years. Falling apart and really sweet - imagine adding sugar to a glass of water. Perhaps it was intended for our American cousins with there sweeter palate. Poured to second bottle down the sink (Cameron Clark, Holland)

01/02 Catena Malbec, 1999
Dark red wine with a purple rim. Open bouquet with lots of fruit and toasted oak, blueberries and coffee. Dark fruit, toasted oak, rounded tannins and quite long. If you like Bx wines that are 5-10 years old, you will love this one. 90p (tasted in November) (Roderick Hopkins, Sweden)

10/01 Argento Malbec, 1999
Dense black fruit flavours, nicely balanced with enough tannin and acidity to last a while. Previously I had dound this to lack fruit. Perhaps it is opening up? (Mark Pearce, UK)

10/01 Tesco "Monster Spicy Red" !
A lovely Shiraz. Intense Liquorice, Black Cherry, Blackcurrant and Mulberry on the nose, with a similar, complex and balanced palate. I could only fault it on the shortish finish. I remarked that if it cost under £5 I wanted a case (costs £3.99). (Simon Goldberg, UK)

07/01 Cava de Weinert Gran Vino 1996
CS, malbec and merlot. A claret - like nose, followed by a rich soft palate with a nice sweet finish. Simple and very enjoyable. Much better than the 1994. This has much more fruit to the fore and no stale woodiness. 13.5% abv. £9.99 Majestic. Recommended. (Daron Fincham, UK)

03/01 Weinert "Pedro del Castillo" Malbec 1998
I don't expect much discussion of this wine except from Weinert fans who like "old fashioned" styles of wine. This a new bottling to me with only one year in wood. Dark colour (the black wine of Cahors - reminds me of the "black dog of Suffolk"). Nose is distinctly woody. Fruit hard to identify. Flavour equally elusive as to what it is (oh dear, I'm not making much headway here) but it is a nice wine nevertheless. Smooth tannin and acid. Pleasant. 12.5% abv. £6.95 Nickolls and Perks. (Daron Fincham , UK)

02/01 1997 Infinitus, Malbec-Syrah
Only bought this one because it had a nice label with a Canada Goose on it. Cherry red, slightly acidic red and black cherry nose with a just a hint of oak. Some sweet red fruits with slighly mouthwatering acidity and mild tannin. Given a purchase price equivalent to £5.50, excellent. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/00 Weinert Malbec 1994
Fairly fragrant nose with "Musar-ish" volatility. Caramel on the palate and sweet - but oh! the oak! I think I've gone off this wine. It wowed me at Tanners tasing last year and I bought some the year before that. (Well who wouldn't when the adverts had a Robert Parker quote saying "a malbec ... reminiscent of Cheval Blanc.") Nope. The oak doesn't seem to have integrated and leaves an unpleasant aftertaste in the mouth. I note there is a lot of this in my local Safeway at £8.99 (Daron Fincham, UK)

10/00 Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
Dark colour with a beautiful blackcurranty nose. Palate is relatively simple but pleasing with a stewed, verging on volatile quality that I so enjoy. Nice. Three or four stars. £8.99 14% abv. (Daron Fincham, UK)

06/00 Catena Agrelo Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 96
Lovely ripe soft welcoming cabernet, sweet but not confected. Long warm finish. Classy but easy going stuff. Just a hint of a charred edge to the flavours, but not unpleasantly so. Good stuff. (Paul Anderson - UK)

06/00 Alamos Ridge Malbec 97
Good malbec typicity with chewy fruit overlaying a firm core. Slightly sweeter and more friendly than some Argentinian malbecs, slips down well with just a hint of burnt/charred edge that marrs it very slightly. Overall, good. (Paul Anderson - UK)

04/00 Vina Alicia Petit Verdot 1998 (Lujan de Cuyo)
A remarkable wine! Made from the rare Bordeaux variety Petit Verdot, this is a thick, opaque, super-ripe concoction. Inky and dense, ripe, sweet fruit is joined by jammy, licqouricey elements with a dusty dry texture. The massive concentration and soft, sweet fruit together combine to make a memorable and interesting wine. Very good to excellent. With a bit more structure this would be sensational stuff. (Adnams) (Jamie Goode - UK)

Uruguay

07/02 1998 Tannat, Amat, Carrau Estate, Cerro Chapeu
Colour is deep crimson pale to edge, fruit not showing on nose particularly well but is immediate in the mouth - beautifully balanced fruit and oak, little bit of acidity, fairly tannic at first, grainy structure, damsons and raspberries, finish not as solid one might expect but fruit shows through dominating the oak, maybe needs food. Probably the best Tannat Ive tried. V.Nice. (Dave Sansom , UK)

06/02 Castel Pujol "Las Violettas" Tannat 1995
WOW! What a magic little bottle! The colour was beautiful, maybe a little orange, and gave us hope. But the nose was pure class. The Carrau family know how to make wine. Served blind to my nephew he thought it was a trick and that I'd opened a bottle of Musar. Another person also claimed a similarity. I couldn't see it myself, but the tannin in this wine was perfectly integrated with lovely fruit flavours. The balance was impeccable. An absolute joy that reaffirmed to me that you can always be surprised by the world of wine despite the best efforts of the homogenisers. 12.5% alcohol by volume. £4.85 (Daron Fincham, UK)

Mexico

07/02 Santo Tomas Barbera 1999
£3.53 (reduced from £5.97) Brght, even ruby that's lost any youthful purple it might have had. Big, fruity nose - warm, cedary spiced cheeries. Good attack. V mouthfilling - very full & lush 'mouth-feel', obviously helped by the hefty alcohol content. Lots of fruit. Powerful stuff - big and hefty. By no means a quaffing wine! Yet not dominated by the alcohol. Lots of fruit, yet also not all up-front fruit: has some character and interest. Soft tannins on finish. Impressive. Possibly not showing as much varietal character as an old world barbera might, but very good indeed at the price. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)