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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:48 pm 
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Astrolabe Province Pinot Gris 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand
96% Pinot Gris and 4% Gewürztraminer selected from specific vineyards in Awatere and Wairau Valleys and Kekerengu Coast in Marlborough Province. Soil is a mixture of mainly free-draining sandy/stony shallow silt loams and one site with deeper loams with fragmented limestone. Grapes were harvested in April 2012, half by hand (first pressing only) half by machine (free run juice only) so minimal skin contact. Fruit was destemmed then cool fermented for 15 days in stainless steel tanks. The wine was filtered pre-bottling in Sept 2012 but not fined. Winemaker Simon Waghorn. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Alc 13.5%, TA 6.4g/l, pH 3.28, RS 4.4g/l.
Really creamy, rich aroma. Smells like a dessert wine. Bright and exciting acidity. Bone dry and fabulous.


Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand
100% Riesling from vineyards scattered through Awatere and Wairau Valley, Marlborough. Timely canopy management such as shoot thinning, leaf plucking and wire lifting provided balanced yields and exposed fruit. The grapes were harvested in the cool of the morning, gently pressed and naturally settled. A cool fermentation took place with neutral yeasts, which was stopped with cooling to leave some residual sugar. Winemaker Alastair Maling MW. Alc 12.0%, TA 8.7g/l, pH 2.99, RS 7.75g/l. Special Offer: Save 20%, £9.99 - £7.99 from 02/09 to 08/10.
Very light on the nose. Off dry, light and intensely acidic. Really mouth-watering and juicy.

Cowrie Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand
86% Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (with the balance made up of Gisborne Chardonnay to balance acidity and add texture). 2013 was a welcome vintage after 2 difficult years. Long dry spells and an elongated summer resulted in fabulous fruit, although bunch weights were down as a result of the smaller berries produced this year. 39% of the Sauvignon Blanc fruit for this wine was sourced from the cooler Awatere Valley. Grapes were machine-harvested in April and the juice was cold-settled prior to a controlled cool-fermentation in stainless steel tanks using cultured yeasts, with no oak influence. Bulk-shipped and UK bottled. Winemaker Mike Just. Alc 12.2%, TA 7.8g/l, pH 3.15, RS 3.8g/l.
Catty, with fresh asparagus and perhaps a whiff of curry spices. Touch of fizz and a bright and tangy, grapefruity finish. Good.

Ara Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand
100% Sauvignon Blanc grown on the ancient soils of Ara’s single sustainably-managed estate in the coolest reaches of Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. Vines are close-planted and low-yielding. The grape harvest took place with a combination of machine and hand-picking, extending from the middle of March into the latter half of April. Early and later picks of the blend components contributed to the contrast of herbaceous ripeness. The different parcels were fermented separately with long slow, cool ferments. The wine was aged on yeast lees prior to racking, blending and fining. Winemaker Jeff Clarke. Suitable for vegetarians. Alc 13%, TA 7.2g/l, pH 3.1, RS 3.4g/l. DWWA 2012 and IWC 2012 Silver Medals. Special Offer: Save 1/3, £9.99 - £6.66 from 02/09 to 08/10.
Sweet and fruity nose. Fruity palate with tart aci+A294dity. Nice.

Waitrose Sauvignon Blanc, Villa Maria 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Precision canopy management such as shoot thinning and leaf plucking optimised the opportunity for powerful vineyard flavours and clean, crisp fruit at harvest. Fruit was harvested in the cool of the early morning. Each parcel received varying amounts of skin contact in the winery and was cool fermented with an aroma releasing strain of yeast. Post-ferment, the wines remained on yeast lees for up to 4 weeks to build mouth-feel. Winemaker Alastair Maling MW. Alc 13%, TA 6.7g/l, pH 3.29, RS 3.9g/l.
Quite a green,vegetal nose. Not sweet and fruity. Dry, savoury, salty and tangy. Not terribly appealing. Maybe with food.

Wither Hills Chardonnay 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
100% Chardonnay from sites strategically sited throughout the Wairau Valley, Marlborough. Includes some fruit from Wither Hills’ St. Leonard’s Vineyard, which, planted in 1993, is their oldest estate-owned vineyard and home to some of their oldest Mendoza Chardonnay vines. Grapes were gently pressed, ambiently settled overnight, then racked to 225l French barriques (25% new) where they were inoculated with selected and wild yeast strains for fermentation. Matured in barrel for 10 months with regular lees stirring. First bottling March 2012. Winemaker Ben Glover. Alc 14.0%, TA 6.3g/l, pH 3.39, RS 2.0g/l. DWWA 2013 Silver and IWC 2013 Bronze Medals. Special Offer: Save 20%, £10.15 - £7.99 from 11/09 to 08/10.
Rich and oaky nose. Really ripe. A smell I love. Big, rich and oaky Chardonnay. If you like this sort of wine then this is a good example.

Saint Clair Premium Chardonnay 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand
100% Chardonnay fruit drawn from 10 different vineyards planted on the alluvial soils found throughout Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. Vine age varies from 8 to 18 years old, with a mix of clones - predominantly Clone 15 and 95 but also 2 sites planted in clone 6. Some blocks hand-picked and others machine-harvested with an average yield of just 36hl/ha due to poor flowering. 2/3rds of the parcels making up this wine were fermented in stainless steel tanks, the remaining 1/3rd a mix of French and American oak. Primary ferment lasted 65 days on average then matured in oak for 9 months with 50% of the blend put through malo. Winemakers Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark. Alc 13.0%, TA 6.1g/l, pH 3.49, RS 2.5g/l.
Tropical, ripe, gorgeous nose. Very savoury palate. The oak is in the background, texturally, until the finish. Like it. Very long. Can I suggest Burgundy lovers on a budget have a go?


First Press Chardonnay 2010 Napa Valley, California
98% Chardonnay and 2% other white varieties primarily from Yountville, Napa Valley. A smaller % came from warmer Rutherford giving tropical fruit complexity. Grapes underwent a partial stainless steel fermentation to foster a crisp, modern style and partial oak fermentation to add depth. 50% of the final blend was put through malo. Matured for 6 months in a combination of French and American oak on fine lees with bi-monthly stirring for added texture. Winemaker James Ewart. Alc 14.5%, TA 5.0g/l, pH 3.29, RS 2.0g/l. IWSC 2012 Silver Medal. Special Offer: Save 20%, £16.99 - £13.59 from 11/09 to 08/10.
Very rich, fat and sweet aroma. Sweet and hot. Not my sort of thing.

Waitrose Reserva Chilean Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Aconcagua Valley, Chile
100% Sauvignon Blanc from selected vineyards in the Casablanca and Leyda Valleys. The cooling maritime effect provides the ideal conditions for accentuating the potential of this variety, in fruit, acidity and structure. Bunches were destemmed, not crushed, and pressed immediately. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks, and the temperature was carefully controlled. After the alcoholic fermentation, there was no malolactic, though the wine was left on light fermentation lees, which were stirred once a week. Winemaker Brett Jackson. Suitable for vegetarians. Alc 12.0%, TA 7.0g/l, pH 3.32, RS 1.0g/l.
Fragrant. Very light on the palate. Watery, even. Sorry.

Errazuriz The Blend 2011 Aconcagua Valley, Chile
55% Roussanne, 30% Marsanne and 15% Viognier from Errazuriz’s Ocoa vineyard, 50km from the Pacific Ocean. Vines are planted on stony loam soil and the grapes were harvested in the early morning and carefully transported to the winery in 14kg bins. Immediately whole-cluster pressed and the must lightly decanted. Each variety was vinified separately, with 25% fermented in 3rd-use French oak barrels and the rest in stainless steel tanks at 12 - 15ºC with yeasts specially selected to enhance aromatic compounds at low temperatures. Aged in French oak barrels for 6 months. 30% of the final blend went through malo. Alc 13.5%, TA 7.24g/l, pH 3.26, RS 3.45g/l.
Golden colour. Ripe, but with little aroma. Savoury, spicy and rich.

O Fournier B Crux Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
100% Sauvignon Blanc grown south of Mendoza in the Uco Valley on very poor, sandy loam soils at an altitude of 1,100m. Vines are cordon trained, 14 years old and planted at a density of 3,007vines/ha. Grapes were hand-harvested with a yield of 8,000kg/ha in mid-Feb into 18kg crates and the clusters were sorted twice on arrival at the winery. Cold macerated for 8 hours at 6 - 8°C then fermented in stainless steel tanks for 10 days at 10°C. No malolactic and aged for 6 months on lees in tank. Winemaker José Spisso. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Alc 12%, TA 6.75g/l, pH 3.35, RS 1.8g/l.
Very little aroma. Watery and yet with high alcohol. Not nice.

Waitrose Fairtrade South African Chenin Blanc 2013 Western Cape, South Africa
100% Chenin Blanc, grown on the relatively high-altitude Die Baken Fairtrade farm on the West Coast. The grapes were harvested at night and once in the cellar were cooled down further to 5°C to allow for a 6 hour skin contact. The free run juice was extracted, the grapes were pressed in a pneumatic press and the first press juice was added back to the free run to give complexity. 85% of the juice fermented very slowly at 12°C, whilst the remaining 15% fermented on French oak staves, medium toast, with natural yeast, followed by malolactic and 5 months on lees. Winemaker Seugnét Rossouw. Suitable for vegetarians. Alc 12.5%, RS 4.5g/l. Special Offer: Save 20%, £6.99 - £5.59 from 09/10 to 29/10.
Clean, green nose. Simple flavours but with some nice tangy length.

David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Semillon 2009 Elim, South Africa
100% Semillon from a 1.5 hectare south-facing vineyard on Bokkeveld slate and gravel soils. Vines are 8 years old and harvest took place on the 3rd March 2009 with a yield of 5tonnes/ha. Skin contact for 8 hours and only the free run juice was used. Cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks at 12°C for 70% of the final blend with the remaining 30% fermented in new 300l French oak barrels. Matured in medium toast Allier oak for 4 months. Winemaker David Nieuwoudt. Alc 13.0%, TA 6.9g/l, pH 3.1, RS 2.7g/l.
Fabulous and odd smell. Perhaps like daffodils? Really attractive. Completely savoury, salty, pithy with grapefruit after. I adore it but can count on my thumbs the number of friends I could give this to.


Plantagenet Samson’s Range Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Western Australia
48% Sauvignon with 37% Semillon and 15% Riesling. Plantagenet winery is located in the Mount Barker township. Sauvignon grapes were sourced entirely from Great Southern while the Semillon was from the Blackwood and Geographe regions. All vines are vertically trained, irrigated to maintain healthy canopies and predominantly grow on well-drained gravel loam soils over gravel clay. Harvest started on the 10th Feb and finished 14th March, with average yields of 11 tonnes/ha for Semillon and just 7tonnes/ha for Sauv. Grapes picked at night then gently, anaerobically handled, cool fermented and given a light filtration into bottle. Winemaker Cath Oates. Alc 13.5%, TA 6.8g/l, pH 3.4, RS 1.7g/l. Special Offer: Save 25%, £9.99 - £7.49 from 11/09 to 08/10.
Bright, green and attractive nose. Clean and green palate. Quite light.

Yalumba Organics Viognier 2012 South Australia
100% Viognier sourced from two of Yalumba’s long-term growers’ vineyards in the Riverland; Barich, which is totally biodynamic and has been certified organic for over 10 years and Bassham, which has been certified for 3. Meticulous hand-detailed work in both vineyards ensured that the grapes were in perfect condition when picked. Fruit was crushed and pressed directly to tank for ferment, which took place using a mixture of naturally occurring yeast. Winemaker Heather Fraser. Suitable for vegetarians. Alc 14.1%, TA 1.0g/l, pH 3.4, RS 0.5g/l. Special Offer: Save 20%, £9.49 - £7.49 from 09/10 to 29/10.
Ripe nose. Bitter palate and hot alcohol. Typical, then.

"d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier/Marsanne 2011
McLaren Vale, South Australia"
74% Viognier and 26% Marsanne harvested from 7th March to 6th April. The grapes were passed through the gentle rubber toothed crusher before being basket pressed. Fermentation was long and moderately cool to retain fresh fruit characters. About 3% underwent wild fermentation for extra complexity. 14% of the Viognier was fermented in aged French and American oak to add mouthfeel and support the subtle Viognier tannins. Viognier and Marsanne components received similar treatment, but were not blended until the final stages of the winemaking process. Winemaker Chester Osborn. Alc 13.4%, TA 6.7g/l, pH 3.28.
Ripe, quite tropical aroma, which is inviting. Rich and full flavoured palate. The alcohol is pretty warm. Popular, please all, I imagine.


Mas Amiel 2011 Muscat de Rivesaltes, France 37.5cl
80% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains with 20% Muscat d’Alexandrie from the Roussillon area, 30km north-west from Perpignan. Mas Amiel is a 170ha estate dominated to the north by the Corbières ranges and to the south by the foothills of the Pyrenées. Vines are planted on poor, non-metamorphic aptian schist soils. Grapes were hand-harvested from August to Sept 2011 with a yield of just 18hl/ha. Fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats at 18°C with great care taken to prevent any form of oxidation. Halfway through ferment, alcohol was added as mutage to the juice. Winemaker Nicolas Raffy. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Alc 15.5%.
Smells of brown sugar. Light and sweet.

Waitrose Seriously Peachy Petit Manseng 2012 Pacherenc du Vic-Bihl, Madiran, France 37.5cl
100% Petit Manseng grapes from vines planted on southwest facing slopes on predominantly gravelly clay. Traditional viticulture and grapes harvested by hand with a yield of 40hl/ha in mid-Oct. Grapes were sorted at the winery, gently pressed, cold settled for 10 - 15 days then fermented at 15°C. Aged on lees in stainless steel tanks for 6 months. Bottled rapidly after the ageing period in order to retain all the fruity aromas. Winemaker Jean-Luc Laplace. Suitable for vegetarians. Alc 12.5%.
Served pretty cold and not smelling particularly peachy. However, the palate is lovely. A

Château Liot 2010 Sauternes, Bordeaux, France 37.5cl
85% Sémillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscadelle. Vines are 45 years old, planted on red clay over limestone on the Haut-Barsac plateau at 6,500vines/ha. The grapes were hand-picked with severe selection made in the vineyard and 5 separate tries. Must was fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats, then aged for 16 months in 225l oak barrels of which 20% were new oak. Winemakers Edouard Massie and Henri Boyer. Alc 14.0%.
This has the most wonderful aroma. Wow! Really rich and perfumed. It rolls round the mouth. Slight bitter oranges on the finish. Heaven. Great price for this much joy.


Waitrose Sauternes, Château Suduiraut 2007 Bordeaux, France 37.5cl
98% Sémillon and 2% Sauvignon Blanc using selected parcels from the vineyard of Château Suduiraut, classified 1st Growth. This wine benefits from the same know-how and from the same team who produce the ‘grand vin’ itself. Vines are planted at a density of 7,000 - 7,400 vines/ha and are 30 years old. Grapes were hand-harvested from 15th Sept to 30th Oct in 5 tries and with a yield of 17hl/ha. Fermented in oak barrels at 20 - 26°C. 100% of the wine was aged in French oak barrels for 16 months (10% new oak, 20% 2nd fill and 70% 3rd fill). Alc 14.1%, TA 3.72g/l, pH 3.8, RS 120g/l. £16.99 from 09/10.
Developed and barley sugared marmelade aroma.More bitter, more savoury than the Liot. I'm afraid I prefer the Liot.

Antinori Santa Cristina 2008 Vin Santo, Tuscany, Italy 37.5cl
70% Trebbiano Toscano and 30% Malvasia from vineyards adjacent to the Antinori La Braccesca Estate, half-way between Montepulciano and Cortona, the home of the best Vin Santo in Tuscany. Grapes were regularly monitored and then picked in several tries by hand in 2nd week of Sept. Dried for 5 months then gently pressed and fermented in oak barrels. Ferment stopped when it reached 17° assisted by the addition of a yeast-rich ‘madre’ and selected yeasts well suited o such a sweet must. Aged for over 2 years and bottled in Oct 2011. Winemaker Renzo Coltarella. Alc 17.0%, TA 8.8g/l, pH 3.31, RS 38.9g/l.
Smells like rather stinky french cheese, mixed with prunes. The palate is figgy, but it's served cold, so the alcohol and temperature make it seem drier than it it. Good.

Bodegas Chivite Collection 125 Vendimia Tardía 2008 Navarra, Spain 37.5cl
100% Muscat à Petits Grains in a naturally sweet wine made from grapes over-matured in the El Candelero vineyard (planted 1969). Soil here is clay over limestone. Botrytised berries hand-picked from early-Oct to late-Dec in 12 separate tries with a very low yield. Fermented in French oak barrels and then matured in barrel for 5 months. Alc 13.5%.
Sweet, syrupy aroma with some oak. Some bitter orange. Fresh and lovely.

Seifried Estate Sweet Agnes Riesling 2012 Nelson, New Zealand 37.5cl
100% Riesling, from the Seifried Brightwater vineyard, planted in 1999. Fruit comes from an extremely stony area of the vineyard where water and nutrient levels are low, which helps to restrict vigour and crop levels. Grapes hand-harvested in perfect late summer/early autumn weather conditions of cool mornings and warm days. A large portion of the fruit was shrivelled and raisined by natural dehydration. Grapes were gently pressed to release a very concentrated and intensely flavoured juice, with natural sugar level of 38° Brix. Fermentation was initiated immediately and the young wine soon filtered and bottled in July 2012. Winemaker Chris Seifried. Alc 10.5%, TA 10.7g/l, pH 3.0, RS 196g/l. DWWA 2012 and IWSC 2012 Silver Medals, IWC 2013 Bronze Medal.
Low on aroma. Slight fizz. Very sweet and pleasant.

Waitrose Solera Jerezana Palo Cortado Lustau
100% Palomino Fino. The grapes were hand-harvested with a yield of 80hl/ha in late-August to early-Sept. Made by the age-old solera method. Brings together the finesse and delicacy of an Amontillado with the richness and body of an Oloroso. Alc 19%, TA 5.13g/l, pH 3.18, RS 15.0g/l.Wines of Spain 2013 Best Value Dry Fortified Trophy.
Dark golden colour. Woody, caramel aroma. Carries through to the palate. It's OK, but lacking vibrancy.


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