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Assorted fine wines

by Tom Cannavan, 08/99

A tasting of assorted interesting white and red wines. One or two of these notes are slightly less comprehensive than usual as it was also the farewell to Ken Inglis, Manager of the Fine Wine store who has done a wonderful job in organising these tastings over the years.

Veuve-Clicquot, Vintage Rosé Champagne 1990 - £37.99
Amazing burnished gold/peachy colour. Very steady stream of pin-prick bubbles rises evenly across the glass. Nose of caramel, butterscotch and baked red fruits. Very attractive. Quite lush and rich on the palate, chewy with firm lemony acidity and some tannins. It seems a little blunt in the finish. A vintage Champagne that doesn't quite deliver the promise of the nose, but good.

Gagliardo (Italy) Favorita 1998 - £8.99
Pale green. Estery, boiled-sweet nose. Fragrant with distinct herbal notes. Very dry lemony fruit that is taught and crisp. There is a certain creaminess that develops and there are buttery nuances, but it finishes dry, balanced and steely. Good.

Heggies (Australia) Viognier 1997 - £12.99
Deep gold tinged green. Seriously oaky nose. Aromas of bacon fat and deep scents of quince, fig, butter and wax. Some peachiness. Serious and chewy palate too, flooded with citrus flavours (orange and grapefruit) as well as peach and apricot. Long and very pungent, this is an explosive mix of alcohol, fruit and acidity. Impressive, but you'd need to like the style.
I didn't spot this as viognier, but then I often don't spot viognier: I always seem to be fooled by the high alcohol.

Château de Puligny-Montrachet (Burgundy) Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres 1997 - £18.49
Glowing golden colour, tinged green. Big, charry, high-toast French oak nose. Loaded with coffee-bean, burnt toast and liquorice. There is a buttery richness and beneath the oak, fine pear and peach fruit. On the palate quite tight and surprisingly restrained by keen apple and lemon acidity. The texture is full-bodied and creamy, there is a weight of buttery fruit and notes of nuts and spice, but all checked by the acidity. Well balanced, quite long. Decent Meursault. Very good.

Cosme Palacio (Spain) Rioja Crianza 1991 - £9.99
Palish, earthy red colour with ochre on rim. Some age. Lots of sweet old oak on the nose. Chocolaty and rich with really sweet cherry fruit and danker, earthier flavours of undergrowth and tobacco. Palate is leathery and soft, filled with tobacco, sweet oak and red fruit. Bags of old cedary wood. Quite rich though, and finishes with decent balance and highish acidity that suggests it needs drinking-up. Ribera del Duero?

Glen Carlou (South Africa) "Grand Classique" 1997 - £9.49
Solid, dark ruby/purple. Bitter coffee aromas from new oak. Some charcoal, black pepper and chocolate over blackcurrant fruit. Young, with very grippy tannins and lots of oak on the palate too. There is quite pure cassis fruit, but it is swamped at present. Young Claret?
Not too far off - this is a classic Claret blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and maybe some Malbec. I'd hope it might improve over 5 years.

Lazaridi (Greece) Amethystos Cava 1995 - £14.99
Vivid, youthful crimson. Charcoal and blackcurrant nose with modest oak and some notes of lighter, red berry fruit. Palate has lots of big ripe tannins. Oak comes across as a little raw. The fruit is very firm-edged and pure however: sweet cassis and cherry and a long, savoury finish. Quite a serious and well-balanced wine. Not sure what it is.
Still not sure what it is! St-George might well be the grape, with some Cabernet? Interesting and really quite good.

Château Léoville-Poyferré (Bordeaux) St-Julien 2nd growth 1996 - £28.99
Dark, dark purple/crimson. Quite opaque. Big, vegetal, herbaceous nose. Deep scents of charred, coffee-bean new oak but there is a mass of black fruit lurking in there and a little whiff of pencil-shavings. Fruit is firm and cool, blackcurranty and restrained. Rather difficult at present. A young Claret that needs time.

Thomas Moillard (Burgundy) Vosne-Romanée Malconsorts 1997 - £29.99
Medium density but vivid crimson/purple. Very closed indeed. Loads of acidity and tannin and submerged fruit, but really rather disjointed. Can't make much of this.
Ken said this had been much more perfumed and open several hours before the tasting when the bottles were opened for checking. From a producer I don't know, but I wouldn't like to write it off based only on this tasting.

Glorioso (Spain) Rioja Gran Reserva 1978 - £27.99
Old, sherry-brown, ochre colour. Pale with a deeper red core. Slightly sherried nose too, with very sweet and jammy mature fruit. Palate too has that slightly cloying sweetness and big, soft, mouth-coating tannins. There is an earthy density that adds much-needed complexity and there is good length with sufficient acidity. An old Burgundy?

Quinta do Crasto Vintage Port 1995 - £39.99 (magnum)
Intense deep, black/purple. Port nose with a quality of sweet black fruits, violets and other flowery nuances. Some blueberry and dusty elderberry notes. Palate has a brown sugar richness. Already quite mellow for an obviously young wine, with loads of sweet fruit, chocolate, cassis and toffee. Long, sweet and enjoyable, this is also fairly simple and a bit clunky. A pleasant Port (or maybe Australian version?) that is drinking well now.