Archive for August 2008

Descendientes de J. Palacios Petalos Mencia 2006

August 31, 2008

It has been a very quite month with a meagre three posts, far too low for my own ambitions. Time and mind consuming business as the organisation of a trade day, the addition of Gilberts, Gibson and Loose End wines to The Grocer’s portfolio and the writing of a new website, www.thegrocer.com.au, have kept me from posting any reviews. Better news is that I’ve been drinking my way through a reasonable amount of good to very good wines lately, so there’s plenty of tasting notes to look out for while upcoming trips to Melbourne and Piedmonte guarantee new inspirational fuel.

I thought a bit of adventure couldn’t do any harm to end this month, so a Spanish wine from the emerging DO of Bierzo, crafted from bio-dynamically grown Mencia grapes by one of Spain’s most reputable  producers is not a bad choice regarding my own preference and drinking profile. All I can say is the wine didn’t offer an easy ride as any quality conventional wine from Priorat, Rioja or Ribera would have done. Being regularly exposed to challenging red Italian varieties as for example Lagrein and Refosco, I’ve gradually grown used to fragrantly aromatic wines with highly acidic, linear and mineral driven structures, a category in which Mencia perfectly fits. Deep purple in colour this wine shows exuberant aromas of little berry fruit, violets, spice and pepper with a leafy, sappy undertone that recurs on a palate with full, juicy and soft fruit, brisk acidity and some almond bitterness at the finish. Clean, well balanced and bustling with personality it’s a wine screaming out for food and understanding before you can fully appreciate it. 89 points

Source: Spanish Acquisiton/Liquid library  Price: $50  Drink: Now-2015

Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côtes du Ventoux 2005 ‘Les Traverses’

August 6, 2008

The anonymous appellation of Côtes du Ventoux is named after the famous mountain that forms the scene for some of the most heroic stages of the Tour de France. Unfortunately the wines of this region often resemble this limestone peak in their bare simplicity, but when the winemaking is accurate they can offer relatively good wines for little money. Take this blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Shiraz, a lovely uncomplicated, medium-bodied and fruit-driven wine that offers about anything you’d like to see in an everyday drinking red Rhône: a nose with lush red berries, plums, liquorice and a hint of herbes de Provence that follow through to a palate where sweet fruit is wrapped in firm but polished tannins. Simple but good, especially at this price. Buy a case and enjoy! 87 points

Source: Fine Wine Wholesalers  Price: $17.99  Drink: Now-2012

Web: www.jaboulet.com

Domaine des Sénéchaux Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2000

August 4, 2008

I had no intention to write about joint ventures again but with the ever globalising dynamics of modern wine business it’s hard not to do so. Take for example this iconic Châteauneuf du Pape producer. Acquired in 2006 by Jean-Michel Cazes, it adds to a prestigious portfolio including Château Lynch-Bages, Ormez de Pez, L’Ostal Cazes and Tapanappa, the latter a joint venture with our own icon Brian Croser. Time will tell what direction the wines will take stylistically,  this one is made under auspices of previous owner Pascal Roux. Deep ruby in colour the nose still shows remarkable fresh primary fruits as blackberry, raspberry and plum while notes of spice, earth, garrigue and leather add an intriguing complexity. Time has smoothed the tannins, lending the wine an appealing elegance only found in Châteauneuf with sufficient bottle-age, without loosing its finely woven structure that guides the core of sweet fruit towards a long and satisfying finish. Maybe a bit old fashioned but certainly well-made. Bravo! 92 points.

Source: Swanbourne Cellars  Price: $60  Drink: Now-2010