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Lay & Wheeler spring tasting

by Tom Cannavan, 04/97

There were so many wines that I resorted to awarding points, purely as an aide memoir. This is an "absolute" score for how good I thought the wine was - not relative to QPR. Prices in Pounds Sterling.

Whites

Brampton (South Africa), Sauvignon Blanc 1996 - £6.74
Really fresh lemony, gooseberry nose with grassy component. Ultra fresh on palate too, crisp acidity but rather short and one dimensional. 82/100.

Rio Claro (Chile), Sauvignon Blanc 1996 - £5.24
Apparently Château Margaux has an interest in this brand new winery. Unimpressive. Restrained nose, prickly acidity, short, lacking charm. 75/100.

Moa Ridge (New Zealand), Sauvignon Blanc 1996 - £5.99
Lovely pear drop, citrus nose. Rounded personality with zingy acidity, minerals and citrus fruit on the palate. Very clean and well balanced, good length. 86/100.

Henschke (Australia), Green Hill Riesling 1995 - £10.20
Promising petrol, flowery, lemon nose. Medium bodied, crisp, good length and balance. Very good. 89/100.

Rio Claro (Chile), Chardonnay 1996 - £5.75
Very fresh style. Quite tart and blunt, but oak is evident and is overdone. 80/100.

Verget, Mâcon-Villages Blanc "Tete de cuvee" 1995 - £8.95
Gives very little on the nose, bone dry, lacking fruit, some raspy oak and an alcoholic finish. Not impressed. 75/100.

Colin-Deleger, Chassagne-Montrachet 1994 - £19.95
Restrained nose, but yeasty, buttery. Quite sharply acidic, but fruit too and lovely harmony. Classy stuff. Time needed - two years or so? 90/100.

Brampton (South Africa), Chardonnay 1996 - £6.99
Inviting nose of tropical fruit, butter and sweet oak. Good oak integration but rather light weight. Good. 84/100.

Pedroncelli (California), Chardonnay 1994 - £8.95
Good punchy nose of citrus and tropical fruits and vanilla. Dies rather on palate with an abrupt finish.. 79/100.

Trentham (Australia), Chardonnay 1996 - £7.60
Slightly subdued nose of flowery fresh lemon and buttery oak. Good vanilla and round, fruity flavour with sweet and harmonious finish. Very good. 88/100.

Meyer-Fonne (Alsace), Gewurztraminer Reserve Particulière 1995 - £9.85
Unusual nose. Sweet apples, pears and spice, but also green beans. Nice sharp acidity and balanced spicy fruit. Honey notes too, but dry. Good long, very together finish. 86/100.

Tretham (Australia), Noble Taminga 1995 - £6.45 (half bottle)
Didn't specify grape, but I guess it's riesling. Golden yellow colour, deep aromas of crepe suzette and honey. Orange really persists on palate, with good weight. Quite luscious. Orange flavour follows through to finish. Good. 89/100.

Reds

Castle Freres (Languedoc), Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 - £4.24
Vegetal nose but nice blackcurrant fruit on palate. Medium body, decent finish. Pretty good QPR. 79/100.

Domaine du Belvezet, Coteaux Ardeche 1995 - £4.99
Medium purple colour. Jammy, raspberry fruit on nose. No body, rather mean finish. 75/100.

Chateau Montfaucon, Côtes du Rhône 1995 - £6.99
Deep ruby. Some raspberry fruit, but rather stalky. Tannins obvious but pretty soft. Not much class. 79/100.

Hubert Lapierre, Moulin-à-Vent Vielles Vignes 1994 - £8.95
Medium ruby colour. Big whiff of strawberry fruit on nose. Warm, medium bodied, very juicy and a bit of tannic backbone too. Good. 84/100.

Domaine l'Arlot, Côte du Nuits Villages 1993 - £15.75
Big, stinky, burnt runbber, barnyard nose. Strangely reticent on palate: hollow and with a rough finish. Time needed? Disappointing on this showing. 80/100. £15.75.

Chateau Montaiguillon, Montagne-St-Emillion 1993 - £9.40
Bright ruby red. Herb and currant aromas, though subdued. Soft, mouth-filling tannin, but lacking finesse, fruit and charm. 75/100.

Rio Carlo (Chile), Merlot 1996 - £5.95
Nothing but tinned tomatoes on the nose. Charmless. 60/100.

Brampton (South Africa), Cabernet/Merlot 1994 - £6.99
Purple/ruby. Slighty barnyard nose, with good cherry fruit. Good fruit on palate but not terribly interesting. 81/100.

Uiterwyk (South Africa), Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 - £9.69
Dense ruby colour. High, truffley nose. Creamy on palate with slight damp earth quality, but good. Decent length and smooth finish. 87/100.

Rutherford Ranch (California), Zinfandel 1994 - £8.20
Vibrant purple colour (light). Violets, berries on nose, good crunchy berry fruit and chewy tannin. Cream showing through in pretty good finish. Good. 87/100.

Hollick (Australia), Wilgha Shiraz/Cabernet/Malbec 1994 - £7.95
Good vivid colour, rather green aromas. Better on palate with a touch of spice, vanilla, cedar and a brambly finish. Quite firm. Finishes with some style. 87/100.

Uiterwyk (South Africa), Pinotage 1992 - £11.24
Very dense purple/black colour. Big peppery, burnt sugar nose. Hints of cabbage. Mouthful of pure fruit, haunting, summers-day blackberry flavours. Best Pinotage I've tasted. 89/100.