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Berry Bros & Rudd Spring Journalist Tasting

Tuesday 30th April 2002
3 St James’s Street, London, SW1A 1EG
Website: www.bbr.com

Part 2 The reds
29 red wines from this leading London wine merchant; for the 22 whites I tasted, click here

Valentin Bianchi Elsa Barbera 2000, Mendoza, Argentina
This vibrant, juicy red is a wonderful find. Really lovely forward liquoricey berry fruit on the nose. The palate has lots of bright savoury-edged berry fruit with good acidity. Completely more-ish, this is brilliant for the price. Very good/excellent (£5.45)

Domaine des Rosiers (Gérard Charvet) Moulin à Vent 1999, Beaujolais, France
Rich juicy berry fruit on the nose with a creamy edge. Good density of ripe fruit on the palate. Really delicious stuff: still very fruity but quite serious for a Beaujolais. Very good+ (£8.95)

Peregrine Pinot Noir 2000, Central Otago
Peregrine wines is a collaboration between Steve Smith MW, viticulturist Greg Hay and Adam Peren, who owns the Wentworth Estate where the wines are made. The winemaker is Rudi Bauer. This is a fruity style of Pinot Noir, with lovely rich sweet herby fruit on the nose. There’s a good concentration of arresting berry fruits on the palate. Nicely savoury but not at all jammy, showing great balance. Very good/excellent (£12.95)

Sylvain Cathiard Bourgogne Rouge 1999, Burgundy, France
Nice minimalist label. Even though this is a fairly humble appellation, the wine shows wonderful balance. Nice savoury edge to the cherry fruit and plenty of varietal character. Very good+ (£11.95)

Nicolas Potel Volnay 1998, Burgundy, France
Nicolas Potel is one of the emerging band of super negociants, making highly regarded wines. This Volnay shows a good density of chunky, spicy berry fruit on the palate. Tasty and savoury; not at all overdone. Very good

Château de Montauriol 1999 AC Côtes du Frontonnais, South West France
From a 35 ha domaine located near Toulouse, this wine is a blend of Negrette with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. It’s deep coloured with a rich toasty roasted edge to the nose. The palate shows intense savoury chunky berry fruit. Good concentration and balance, although it is also quite ‘modern’ styled with a fair bit of new oak. Very good+ (£7.95)

Château Cesseras Cuvée Olric 1999, Minervois, France
100% Syrah. Rich, liquoricey fruit on the nose with a slightly roasted edge. Good concentration of chunky fruit on the palate. Rich, satisfying stuff. Very good+ (£5.95)

Domaine La Montagne d’Or 1998 Côtes du Rhône Villages, France
Slightly caramel edge to the fruit here, which is quite traditional styled and shows good concentration. Very good (£6.95)

Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge 1999, Vin de Pays de l’Hérault, France
A famous Cabernet Sauvignon based blend from the Languedoc. Quite closed nose. Good concentration of savoury, chunky fruit on the palate, this is currently a tight tannic wine but has potential. Very good+ (£19.95)

Pago de los Capellanes Crianza 1998, Ribera del Duero, Spain
A 70 ha estate owned by the Rodero-Villa family. Very deep coloured. Rich caramel and liquorice edge to the nose, which displays deep, sweet, herby fruit. The palate is mid-weight and is currently dominated by vanillin oak, together with sweet fruit. Tasty, but not top-notch. Very good+ (£12.95)

Julián Chivite Coleccion 125 Reserva 1996, Navarra, Spain
This historical family-owned bodega is one of the leading lights in the Navarra region. It shows very rich, sweet berry fruit on the inviting nose, together with hints of leather and caramel. Lovely balance on the palate: elegant sweet berry fruit combines nicely with some spicy tannic structure. It’s oaky, but it works – this is an accessible crowd pleaser. Very good/excellent (£14.95)

Domaine Bertagna Chambolle-Musigny 1999, Burgundy, France
Established in 1940, this domaine was sold in 1982 to Eva Reh, whose sister Annegret runs the Reichsgraf von Kesselstat estate in the Mosel. Eva’s husband, Mark Siddle, is English. This wine shows attractive herby, cherryish fruit on the nose. The palate is rich and juicy with good concentration and a slightly medicinal edge. Very rich style of Burgundy but well balanced. Very good/excellent (£24.95)

Domaine René Engel Vosne-Romanée ‘Les Brulées’ 1998 Burgundy, France
One of the leading estates in Vosne-Romanée with 7 ha of vines. This wine has a lovely expressive herbal nose, which is very open with a meaty, caramelly edge. The palate shows a great concentration of herby, medicinal cherry and raspberry fruit with spicy, tannic structure. Deeply impressive. Excellent (£26.85)

Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-St Georges 1er Cru aux Perdrix Monopole 1997, Burgundy, France
From a 3.5 ha monopole vineyard (i.e. the estate owns the lot). This has a quite dense, tight knit nose and shows huge concentration. The palate is rich, tight and complex displaying spicy blackcurrant and raspberry fruit. Lots of potential here. Very good/excellent (£31.45)

Domaine des Lambrays Clos de Lambrays Grand Cru 1997, Burgundy, France
This 8.8 ha vineyard is the largest Grand Cru vineyard in Burgundy entirely owned by one domaine. The estate was purchased in 1996 by the Frenue family. The firm, complex nose shows herby, earthy berry fruit with some caramelly undertones. The wonderfully concentrated palate has great balance with rich complex spicy berry and blackcurrant fruit. There’s some tannic structure, together with herby, earthy complexity. Great potential. Excellent (£43.50)

Massimo Romeo Vino Nobile de Montepulciano 1998, Tuscany, Italy
Tiny production from this family owned estate in Gracciano (just 1100 cases). Massimo Romeo has planted the traditional Mammolo and Pulcinculo grapes in addition to Sangiovese, Malvasia and Canaiolo. The expressive, bright nose displays lifted raspberry fruit and some spicy complexity. The palate is concentrated and juicy with lots of spicy complexity and firm tannins. Mid-weight and expressive, this is brilliant traditionally styled stuff. Very good/excellent (£14.95)

Aziende Agricola San Biagio Barolo ‘Sorì del Rovere’ 1998, Piedmont, Italy
From a family-owned estate in La Morra, this is the top cuvee. It’s a little disappointing, though. Bright red colour (quite deep for Barolo). The shy nose shows some oak and a bit of spicy, herby fruit. This leads to a medium-bodied spicy, oaky palate that’s not yet showing much of the interest and character that good Nebbiolo is capable of. Covert tannins. Needs time? Very good (£19.95)

Aziende Agricola Oasi degli Angeli ‘Kurni’ 1998, Italy
From a 1.4 ha vineyard high up in Cupra Marittima, and made from Montepulciano grapes. The estate is owned by Marco Casolanetti and Eleonora Rossi, who are aided by consultant winemaker Giovanni Basso. This shows a wonderfully deep, liquoricey nose with a lifted herbal, slightly leafy edge. It has an amazingly rich, full palate with a fascinating texture and lots of bright full acidity. It’s hard to describe: almost liqueur like, with great concentration. An intense, juicy yet complex red wine that is very individual. Very good/excellent (£34.95)

Waterford Cabernet Sauvignon 1998, Stellenbosch, South Africa
The first vintage of this wine, from a 120 ha estate owned by Jeremy Ord. The winemaker is Kevin Arnold, formerly of Rust en Vrede. Deep coloured. Very rich, seductive nose of ripe blackcurrant fruit with a creamy edge. The palate shows a good concentration of ripe berry fruit. A forward, modern style but with good balance. Attractive. Very good/excellent (£11.95)

Baron Philippe de Rothschild Escudo Rojo 1999, Maipo Valley, Chile
Inaugural vintage of this Bordeaux-style blend. Very rich, sweet nose of pure blackcurrant fruit that is very Chilean. The palate is fruity and rich with concentrated blackcurrant fruit and a slight leafy edge. Very good+ (£9.45)

Barnwood Vineyards Syrah 1999, Santa Barbara County, California
Sweet, spicy and quite oaky, with nice chunky berry fruit. Good concentration. Very good+ (£12.45)

Château Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1998, Napa Valley, California
Quite a restrained nose showing firm, spicy  berry fruit with some minerality. Palate shows restraint: nicely balanced, displaying blackcurrant fruit, spice and firm, fine-grained tannins. Quite impressive but horridly overpriced. Very good/excellent (£69.95)

Château de la Garde 1996, Bordeaux Supérieur, France
Slight leafy, savoury edge to the bright fruit on the nose. Attractive, savoury palate. Drinking well now. Very good (£6.95)

Château Le Crock St Estèphe 1996 Bordeaux, France
33 ha of vines with a predominance of Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine shows a pleasant nose with a caramelly edge to the leafy cassis fruit. Quite rich, chunky fruit on the palate. An attractive style, drinking well now. Very good+ (£17.50)

Château Poujeaux 1996 Moulis, Bordeaux, France
This 52 ha estate is one of the leading Cru Bourgeois properties. Very expressive herby, leafy nose has a spicy edge. Good concentration on the palate which displays evolved spicy, savoury, minerally fruit with fine grained tannins. A classic style drinking now. Very good+ (£21.00)

Château Cantenac-Brown 1996, Margaux 3eme Cru Classé, Bordeaux, France
This 42 ha property has changed hands three times in the last 30 years: now it’s owned by AXA. Still a bit closed on the nose. Attractive chunky palate with firm tannins, good acidity and nice balance. Needs time to open out. (£21.50)

Château Dufort Viviens 1996, Margaux, Bordeaux, France
Predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon. There’s a tarry, spicy depth to the berry and cassis fruit on the nose. Good concentration on the fairly tannic palate. A fruity, rich style: quite lush. Very good/excellent (£25.00)

Château Langoa Barton 1996, St Julien, Bordeaux, France
Really lovely nose with a complex, spicy edge to it. Arresting palate is classic with rich, savoury complex fruit and firm tannins. Quite a classic style. Beginning to dry out just a little? I’d say this is drinking at its peak now. Very good/excellent (£32.00)

Château Haut Bailly 1996, Pessac-Léogan, Bordeaux, France
Since 1998 this 28 ha estate has been owned by American banker Robert G. Wilmers. Lovely fragrant nose, with a classic herby/leafy edge to the cassis fruit on the nose. Great balance of chunky, spicy fruit on the palate with some firm tannins. Good density to this expressive wine. Quite impressive: drinking well now but with some time ahead of it still. Very good/excellent (£29.00)

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