jamie goode's wine blog: Chile and Australia: trying new grape varieties

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Chile and Australia: trying new grape varieties

I've had a busy day, with two big tastings. Majestic first, followed by Waitrose. Not enough time to do them real justice: Waitrose alone would justify two whole days, with 240 wines on show, including some really good high end stuff. Majestic weren't shy, though, putting 130 wines up for tasting at the Landmark hotel. There were some real highlights: wines that I'm just dying to write about, but this will have to wait for another time, as I'm tired and I need to go to bed fairly soon.

So tonight I'll write about two wines that I have open. Both are from the new world, but they are varieties that you wouldn't associate with the new world. And I think they work rather well.
Wrattonbully Vineyards Tempranillon 2006 Wrattonbully
From a vineyard established by the Hill Smith family of Yalumba, this Tempranillo is ripe but surprisingly elegant, with juicy cherryish fruit dominating. There are sweet red berries playing a supporting role, and the acidity, well-tamed tannins and subtle sappiness provide a nice counter to the fruit. It isn't complex, but it's brilliantly drinkable and a welcome contrast to the big, lush, sweet dark fruit style that's common in Australia. I'd love to serve this blind to my wine nut chums. Tastes nothing like Spanish Tempranillo. 88/100 (7.99 Marks & Spencer)
Morande Edicion Limitada Carignan 2001 Loncomilla Valley, Maule, Chile
I can't believe this is 2001: it tastes so fresh and vibrant, as if it had only just been bottled (it is 2001 - I checked). Carignan isn't a grape you come across too often in Chile (although Torres make a really good one), and this wine is made from old vines in Maule. I guess you could probably spot its Chilean-ness from the pastille-like, slightly rubbery edge to the nose, but you'd have to be on good form to pick this up. The dominant feature here is vibrant, fresh spicy red fruits with a subtle tarry twist. The palate is intense with high acidity, some tannic structure and very fresh red berry fruits. A tight, spicy, savoury style, this has real personality and intensity. It's alive. A brilliant food-friendly style. Chile should be making more wines like this. 89/100 (9.99 Marks & Spencer)

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