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Victoria Wine Cellars tasting

by Tom Cannavan, 10/98

Sparkling

Lindauer (New Zealand) Rosé Brut NV, £7.49
Vividly pink. Yeasty nose with strawberry and raspberry fruit. Nice, soft, peachy flavours. The palate is dry, but the ripeness of the fruit suggests sweetness. Good raspberry acidity and decent length. A very acceptable party fizz.

Sauvignon Blanc

Hidden Rock (Bulgaria) Sauvignon Blanc 1996, £3.99
Very pale, almost transparent. Piercing, pungent, lychee and grapefruit scents. Very thin on the palate and the fruit is rather weak and watery. Lacks length too. Shame: nice nose.

Stoneleigh (New Zealand) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 1997, £5.99
Very pale, golden/green. Attractive pear and acid-drop nose with bright citrus notes and a little green, herbaceous edge. Fresh on the palate with bags of mouth-watering citrus and ripe, pineapple flavours. Dry finish with vivid, lifted acidity. Good of its style and decent value too.

Domaine des Lion (France) Vin de Pays d'Oc 1997, £4.99
Fairly deep, straw colour. Delicate nose. New Worldy, with super-ripe grapefruit and pear aromas. Palate has bright citrus flavours, though it is very light-weight and finishes with tart acidity.

Sancerre AC, St-Louis (France) 1997, £6.99
Pale straw/gold. Restrained, grassy nose with hints of amonia. Herbaceous. Very savoury palate with lots of tart, raspberry fruit, pear and citrus. Nice length, though finish dominated by acidity.

Chardonnay

Concho y Toro (Chile) Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay 1996, £4.99
Light golden colour. Very oaky nose, deep and buttery with hints of baked apples and spice. Palate is dominated by toasty oak, with only hints of melon fruit. Tart acidity brings the finish up short. I was a bit surprised by this usually reliable, crowd-pleasing Chardonnay: I thought it was a bit over-oaked and disjointed.

Viñas del Vero (Spain) Chardonnay 1996, £5.99
Very pale, almost transparent green/gold. Subtle, new-oak and cinammon nose. Rather a raw, woody impression on the palate initially, seeming a little hollow and lacking fruit. Re-tasted later in the evening from a different bottle and there was more fruit, though still rather under-powered. Vivid acidity in the good, long finish.

Montagy AC (France) 1er Cru 1997, £6.99
Pale straw colour. Very restrained but interesting nose of hazelnuts and boiled-sweets, with an added depth of yeasty, oaky aromas. A fresh mouthful of lemony fruit, with melon and white fruit flavours too. Well integrated lemon and green apple acidity completes the picture of a harmonious wine. Long finish too. Rather good stuff.

Shiraz and Shiraz blends

Boland (South Africa) Shiraz/Merlot 1997, £4.99
Medium density ruby colour. Seductive nose of plums, blackcurrants and vanilla. Slightly charred quality. Very open-knit impression on the palate; creamy, with plenty of fruit and dark chocolate nuances. Easy-to-drink, uncomplicated and flavourful.

Domaine de la Grande Bellane (France) Côtes du Rhône Villages 1996, £5.99
An organic wine. Vibrant purple/red. Rather attractive, earthy and meaty nose. Dark, sun-baked aromas and raspberry fruit. Doesn't quite carry the promise of the nose on to the palate, which is rather dry and lacking fruit. Pity.

Salisbury Estate (Australia) Shiraz 1996, £4.99
Medium ruby colour. Classic raspberry and cream nose with hints of black peper. A warming and creamy palate of straightforward, ripe, juicy, fruit. Acid is rather angular and ungainly in an otherwise smooth finish.

Shirazamatazz (Australia) 1996, £5.99
Call me an old stick-in-the-mud, but I just don't like these marketing-department wine names! Anyway, this is a dark crimson colour. It has minty, high-toned, typically Australian shiraz fruit with aromas of cream, raspberry and blackberry. Soft and mouth-filling, the palate is mellow with blackcurrant and vanilla flavours. Totally commercial, easy drinking and quite enjoyable.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends

Rocky Valley (Bulgaria) Cabernet Sauvignon 1996, £3.75
First bottle badly oxidised. Second bottle colour is light ruby red. Pleasantly fruity nose and more on the palate with soft, red-fruits and medium body. Balanced, inoffensive, party wine.

Caliterra (Chile) Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 1996, £6.99
Dark ruby/purple/back. Spice-box nose with black cherry and blackcurrant aromas. A lovely, dense black fruit and liquorice palate with lemony acidity in the finish. Good length. A powerful, thick, positive wine that might just get a little tiring after a glass or two.

Lindemans (Australia) Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon 1996, £5.99
Deep crimson colour. Attractive, open and fruity nose of blackcurrant, nutmeg and vanilla. Good, very ripe fruit that's not at all jammy, with good depth, a creamy edge and a lingering, spicy finish. Good extraction but balanced. Nice stuff.

Domaine de Peyremorin (France) Haut Médoc 1993, £8.99
This claret has a pale red colour, turning orange. Classic cigar-box aromas pin-point Bordeaux. Soft on the palate, with mellow, mature, slightly gamey fruit of cherries and plums. Quite light-weight, but elegant with a harmonious, creamy-oak finish. Decent, mature wine. Would be nice with Christmas roast turkey.