Archive for December 2008

Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage 2006

December 22, 2008

img_50932The story of Domaine Yann Chave is similar to that of many wineries in this appellation: an ambitious young son joins his father in the family business, stops selling grapes to the local cooperation in Tain while improving viticultural practices by using organic standards and drastically cutting back yields. The new approach has clearly paid off, resulting in impressive wines from both Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage and making this domaine one of the northern Rhône’s fastest rising stars. Chave’s standard Crozes-Hermitage is all about maximum expression of fruit with basically no oak  used. Fragrant and intense aromes of violets, blackberries and spices follow through to a medium-bodied palate with a round and supple mouthfeel, grainy tannins, bags of ripe fruit and very well balanced acidity. The peppery finish gives this wine plenty of regional personality. 89 points

Source: The Prince/Swanbourne Cellars  Price: $60  Drink: Now-2011

Palacio de Fefinanes Albarino 2007

December 15, 2008

img_5102Since the foundation of the Galician DO of Rías Baixas in 1988, the demand for Albariño has skyrocketed. In fact, it has risen so much that two more sub-zones have been added to the original three. However, the Val do Salnés in the northern end of the appellation is still the most important one with ideal cool – but wet – growing conditions. This Albariño is from Palacio de Fefiñanes, based in the centre of this area and the oldest winery in the DO. It has gained a steady following since its introduction in Australia by Xavier Grau about 5 years ago, a classic that nowadays can be found in any good restaurant or shop. Not bad for a variety that was struggling to survive three decades ago! Straw yellow in the glass, it has an intense, classic perfume of flowers backed by notes of citrus peel, grapefruit, apple and apricot, leading onto a layered, succulent palate that shows taut acidity and ample peach flavours towards the long finish. This is exactly the wine you’d wish to drink with good seafood on a warm summer day. 90 points

Source: Toro Wines  Price: $45  Drink: Now-2011

Web: www.fefinanes.com

Capcanes Lasendal 2005

December 13, 2008

img_5109Although the history of Celler de Capçanes goes back to its foundation in 1933, the real success story started when Flor de Primavera – a Kosher wine made on request by the Jewish community of Barcelona – was scored 95 points by Spanish critic Jose Peñin after its release in 1995. Rated as Spain’s third best wine, it placed this cooperation firmly on the map as a producer of high quality wines. The combination of huge old vine resources, modernisation of the cellar and the rise of Montsant as one of Spain’s fashionable DO’s, has further consolidated its reputation. The s0lid range is mainly based on the local stars Garnacha and Cariñena, in most wines supplemented by smaller amounts of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The 2005 Lasendal is a perfect example with Garnacha (85%) and Syrah (15%) featuring in this exciting wine, both allowed to shine by sensible use of oak. Deep purple in colour, its nose shows fragrant aromas of blackberry, raspberry, redcurrant, pepper and herbs, following through to a palate driven by juicy fruit and velvety tannins, with vibrant acidity adding intensity, balance and nerve. This delicious wine amply demonstrates Capçanes is a producer to watch, even more so now wines from this emerging region are still reasonably priced. 88 points

Source: The Spanish Acquisition  Price: $40  Drink: Now-2011

Web: www.cellercapcanes.com

M2 de Matallana 2005

December 10, 2008

The M2 de Matallana is Telmo Rodriguez’s second Ribero del Duero wine. From a region where sheer physical weight seems to have become the final goal for many winemakers, M2 de Matallana offers a welcome variation. Although this deep purple coloured wine has still seen 50% new French barriques for 14 months, it effortless combines power with elegance. The nose offers intense aromas of cherry, raspberry, blackcurrant, spice, leather, tobacco and smoky minerality, following through to a medium to full-bodied palate with subtle fruit, smooth tannins and ample acidity. This wine shows refinement, balance and complexity, and regarding its quality and friendly price I would put some aside to drink over the next 7-8 years or so. 92 points

Source: The Spanish Acquisition  Price: $75  Drink: Now-2015+

Cillar de Silos Torresilo 2005

December 9, 2008

The popularity of Spanish wines is unstoppable with an ever growing number on offer in both retail and restaurants. Rediscovered varieties from exciting terroirs such as in Priorato, Montsant and Bierzo are currently leading the way, seemingly undergoing the same revolution as Ribero del Duero with new projects mushrooming everywhere. The latter is nearing Rioja’s reputation as the country’s leading Tempranillo producer, its wines marked by incredible concentration, firm tannins and mineral acidity. The rule that these characteristics are magnified in the most prestigious wines can be safely applied as far as Ribero concerns, and Torresilo is no exception. This wine has a near impenetrable deep purple colour and shows a complex nose on which aromas reminiscent of fragrant redcurrant and black cherry are amalgamated with spice, tobacco, licorice and earth. The palate is nothing but big and bold with sweet and concentrated fruit, powerful tannins and fresh acidity nicely balanced. The purity of the fruit in this blockbuster is instantly appealing and seductive, and although this wine is apparently build to age, I would only give it a couple of years to further flesh out and drink it within the next six years or so. 93 points

Source: The Spanish Acquisition  Price: $125  Drink: Now-2015

Other vintages: 2000

Web: www.cillardesilos.es

Roda Reserva 2004

December 8, 2008

Spain, finally. I’ve had some good  Spanish wines lately and this was one of them. I reckon Bodegas Roda doesn’t need any introduction, however, if you’d like to read a bit more I refer to the excellent tinto y blanco for a detailed profile of this already iconic Rioja producer. Regarding the Roda Reserva 2004, the usual viticultural and wine making principles apply with the final blend for this vintage consisting of  81% Tempranillo, 14% Graciano and 5% Garnacha. The relatively high proportion of Graciano in this deep purple red coloured wine adds a lovely fragrance to a nose displaying aromas of fresh berry fruit, cherry, plum, violet, lavender, vanilla, chocolate, spice and a handful of earth. The full-bodied, dense and tightly knit palate reveals a similar bright fruit profile with more profound oak characters, balanced acidity and velvety tannins that seem to grow forever on the long finish. You can drink this wine now to enjoy its gorgeous primary fruit or cellar it for some years to let the inner Rioja speak. 92 points

Source: The Spanish Aquisition  Price: $85  Drink: Now-2012+

Web: www.roda.es

Alphonse Mellot Sancerre La Moussiere 2007

December 3, 2008

img_5110The first time I tasted this wine was at Bibbendum’s trade show last September in Melbourne. At tastings like this you get to see a fairly big number of wines, so the ones I remember best are those that have clearly marked characters like La Moussière. I was surprised to find it at my local Vintage Cellars and was keen to have a look at it again. Things are done with great attention for detail at this domaine, both in vineyard and cellar. All grapes, including the ones from the closely planted, low yielding and biodynamically farmed single-vineyard La Moussière, are picked and sorted by hand before gentle pressing and settling of the juice occurs. Fermentation takes place in both vat and new casks in which the wine spends a further 7 to 8 months on its lees before bottling. The resulting wine has a light golden colour with all aspects of terroir, fruit and winemaking fabulously balanced. Intense aromas of flowers, grapefruit, mineral and lime peel follow through to a soft, dense and textural palate that fills your mouth but never dominates the complex blend of fresh, vibrant fruit, precise minerality and a touch of spice towards the middle and back. This wine is a clear step up from most other regular available Sancerre, an absolute steal regarding pedigree and quality. 92 points

Source: Bibbendum  Price: $49  Drink: Now-2010

Web: www.mellot.com