Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday afternoon selection

Raft of wines to get through this afternoon, some good, some not

Cavit Alta Italia Pinot Grigio 2008, Valdadige, Italy
The label’s rather drab, but this actually smells of something beyond the bland, a good start for any PG. Gentle, peachy style, with a waxy, nutty core, it’s not earth-shattering, but at least you know you’re drinking wine.

San Pedro 35 South Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Central Valley, Chile
‘Fair enough’ wine. It’s a bit confected, but there’s an edge of pithy citrus fruit, and a reasonably fresh finish.

Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Marlborough, New Zealand
A bit too much like Jeyes fluid, this is descending into an aromatic caricature of Kiwi Savvy. Blobby and sweet, full of flavour, just not a particularly pleasant flavour.

Penny Lane Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Marlborough, New Zealand
Crispier, drier, tangier, this is quite classy stuff, rich where it should be but then reined in, with gooseberry flesh, a stony/minerally edge and grassy note to the finish. Nicely packaged too.

Penny Lane Pure Chardonnay 2007, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Pure here means unoaked. Not sure why that makes it pure. I imagine the vines will be sprayed with something, yeast will be added, and the wine will be fined and filtered. But no matter, the wine is actually rather tasty, with gentle cashew, pear and peach, and a rich but lively finish. It says , ‘Drink me.’

Gran Lurton Corte Friulano 2008, Mendoza, Argentina
Big smoky style, an oaked blend of Sauvignon Vert, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Torrontes, very like the wines from NE Italy it’s supposed to ape. But like them, you wonder whether someone’s trying just too hard to impress. I think I’d prefer simpler versions of each of the varieties. And a bubblegummy finish. Would it have been better with longer in older oak? Will come back to this later to see if it improves

Kumala Chenin Blanc/Viognier 2008, Western Cape, South Africa
Rather simple, bland, bubblegummy style, has some froot** but very little personality beyond robotic winemaking.

Lurton Humo Blanco Pinot Noir 2007, Central Valley, Chile
Vanills and Chilean blackcurrant pastilles tinged with mint. There’s a slightly lean core to this that not all that appealing – OK fruit flavours, but a bit too stingy.

Penny Lane Merlot/Cabernet 2006, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Gentle, leafy, slightly herbal style, OK balance, but lacks real sex. Thin but a bit yawn-y.

Yali Winemaker’s Selection Cabernet/Carmenère 2007, Colchagua, Chile
Blue Riband biscuits! Or perhaps Taxi. That chocolate wafer but not Kit-Kat feel, although the coffee-bean-like Carmenère does come through eventually. Slightly overdone, over-processed – I want more fruit and I also want more life beyond fruit, not just clever winemaking.

Tesco Finest Touriga Nacional 2006, Estremadura, Portugal
I’m not alone in having been a little critical of the style of wines made by Jose Neiva. In the past, they used to stand out for their minty vanilla toothpaste character, but from some more impressive recent wines, I thought he’d moved on from that style. Sadly, this wine shows he hasn’t. This is not a good advert for either Portugal or Touriga Nacional.

Point West Touriga Nacional 2005, Estremadura, Portugal
Is this essentially the same wine as the Tesco Finest bit a year older? Not sure what the difference is (they both have the DFJ name on the cork), but this is far more successful, still with some of the vanilla and mint, but with the dark smoky fruit and fresh tobacco notes coming far more to the fore. Nice drink.

Sanguinhal Touriga Nacional 2003, Estremadura, Portugal
Smoky, rich, rounded and ripe, lovely fleshy, supple tobacco and intense, lush, like raisins soaked in brandy, a bit of the 2003 bake, but still tasty.

Finca Las Moras ‘Mora Negra’ 2005, Tulum Valley, Argentina
Big, chunky, solid wine, rather over-done though, with baked berry fruit, and a rather charmless, hunky finish. Where’s the finesse? It’s like drinking Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler...

** "froot" is the term I use for wines that have the sort of vaguely fruity flavour that speaks more of a lab than a bush, a plant or a vine. Remember those sweets called Fruit Salad - they still exist, and they are froot all the way.

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