Monday, June 26, 2017

Quinta Do Vesuvio

Some facts are hard to comprehend. The Symington family owns 27 wineries in the Douro Valley. The focus is Port, of course, with its famous Graham's and Dow's brands. But there is also a serious table wine effort under way. The leading winery for it is Quinta do Vesuvio, and the leading red carries the same name.

The 2015 Quinta do Vesuvio, from a great vintage, is a multi variety wine, with Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca being the main contributors. The colour of the wine is deep purple. Blackberry aroma jumps from the glass.

Concentrated blackberry and bramble flavours hit the palate. This is a pretty full-on, full-bodied wine, yet the wine is quite elegant: a modern version of the Douro red. Acidity gives the wine freshness, despite the fruit weight. The wine is balanced, with firm tannins, and needs time to mellow.  For me, it is a bit too much of everything. I suggest drinking from 2020.

Score: 93/+

Monday, June 19, 2017

Conceito Bastardo Red

I am pursuing more intriguing wines and varieties from Portugal. The Bastardo (not a great name?) grape variety is known in the Jura of France as Trousseau. Apparently there is some in the Barossa Valley, named Cabernet Gros (another bad name), but I have never come across it.

The 2014 Conceito Bastardo has a pale pink colour. It comes from a high altitude vineyard in the Douro Superior and therefore a slightly cooler plot in this hot area. The grapes are picked early. The flavour profile is a bit like Pinot Noir, with red berry fruit, but more towards raspberry than strawberry or cherry. There is also some spice, and a lot of acidity. The alcohol level is 13%. This wine did not see any oak. I find this a fresh and attractive, though slightly unbalanced wine for the hot Portuguese inland summer climate.

Score: 91/+

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Passagem Reserva

The 2013 Passagem Reserva from the Douro Valley  superior region in Portugal has a dark purple, inky colour. It is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinto Cao. It is a full-bodied wine. Blackberry and cassis are joined by mocca flavours on the mid-palate. The wine is not overripe, but quite dense, and the tannins are a little coarse.

Score: 89/-

Monday, June 12, 2017

Marcel Lapierre Morgon

I am currently in Burgundy, researching and wine tasting for an upcoming artice in Gourmet Traveller Wine. Therefore, I cannot share my tasting results on this blog right now. However last night, I tasted a wine outside of this effort. It was the 2015 Marcel Lapierre Morgon.

Beaujolais has come a long way since it created the marketing success of Beaujolais Nouveau. This is now fading somewhat, but serious wines from the Gamay grape are emerging right now. There are ten crus in Beaujolais: Brouilly, Regnie, Chirubles, Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie, Saint-Amour, Chenas, Julienas, Morgon and Moulin a Vent. The last two have the best fruit weight and tannin structure.

This wine from Marcel Lapierre is from Morgon. It has a medium deep crimson colour and a beautiful sour kirsch/redcurrant bouquet. This is a medium bodied wine, coming in at a solid 14% alcohol. It tastes of redcurrant and cranberry, and fills the mouth nicely, with an emphasis on the mid-palate. This is a serious wine, quite savoury, with a strong acidic structure. Tannins are not so noticeable. This Gamay wine is about filling the mouth nicely and in a round way, while Pinot Noir is all about line and length.

Score: 91/++

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Pio Cesare Il Nebbio

For a long time, Piedmont producers made a Dolcetto, a Barbera, and one or more Barolo or Barbaresco wines. Only the latter are made from the Nebbiolo grape and cost four times or more than the Barbera wines. Therefore, tasting wines from Nebbiolo was only possible for a lucky few. Yet, it is an exciting and very unique grape. In the last few years, increasingly, wine producers have also made Nebbiolo wines, which do not follow the strict requirements of Barolo production.

One excellent example is the 2015 Pio Cesare Il Nebbio. The grapes were picked early. This wine does not see any oak, has a short maceration and maturation period. The wine has a beautiful nose, with lifted cherry aromas jumping out of the glass. It is fresh and vibrant, with red cherry flavours, some green leaf and peppers. The freshness and fruit upfront determines the character of the wine, but down the palate savoury flavours and light dry powdery tannins take over. Overall, the mouthfeel is a bit shallow, but very harmonious. And the price is less than the Barbera.

Score: 92/+++

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico

The Peppoli wine brand is high volume, yet a cut above industrially made wines.

The 2014 Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico tastes of red cherry and warm spices. The wine is well balanced, and the acidity creates a line through the palate. The wine is medium in concentration and mouthfeel. It is quite elegant, with firm, but not coarse tannins, as it comes to a harmonious finish.

Score: 91/++

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Frescobaldi Pomino Pinot Noir

This is the first of a few posts on Italian wines. Italy produces red wines of all kinds and with high quality, but it is not known for Pinot Noir. I was curious to experience what a Pinot Noir from Tuscany would be like.

The 2013 Frescobaldi Pomino has a medium intensity crimson colour. The aroma is fruity and lifted.  This is a light-bodied wine with red cherry flavours on the palate. There are savoury notes as well. There is not much depth in this wine, nor complexity. The mouthfeel is pretty, but a little weak. The finish falls short.

Score: 86/0

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tolpuddle Pinot Noir

When Shaw & Smith purchased the Tolpuddle vineyard in Tasmania, it was one of the biggest wine news to come from there in the last 10 years. Expectations were high. With the 2015 vintage, they are starting to be met.

The 2015 Tolpuddle Pinot Noir shows a dark crimson colour. This wine is complex on the palate. The black cherry fruit is concentrated. You can taste the stalks and cedar of this moreish wine. There is some fruit sweetness at the core before it turns savoury on the back palate. The tannins are firm and the finish is long. My only gripe: what is gained by intensity is somewhat lost in definition. The wine is a little broad for perfect varietal expression, but not too much.

Score: 94/++