jamie goode's wine blog

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A remarkable day of tasting


Spent pretty much the whole day tasting, today, but it was no chore.

Began with the Berry Bros & Rudd press tasting, where, as usual, we were treated to some real gems from the ludicrously extensive BBR range, including Tokaji Essencia from Royal Tokaji, which we were served on special glass spoons. I was particularly taken by the range of grower Champagnes, by some lovely Grand Cru Chablis from Droin, by the northern Rhones and also by BBR's own spirit range. There was a great turn-out with lots of colleagues to banter with. Time flew.

Then it was off to the annual Madeira tasting. Madeira is great, but off most peoples' radar screens. Barbeito's Madeiras were excellent, as usual. They're my absolute favourites. Blandy had a couple of fantastic colheitas, as well as the wine of the tasting: a 1920 Bual. I was also really impressed by the Justino's line-up: the 10 year old varietal wines all showed lovely freshness and complexity. D'Oliveras rocked: they brought along a wide selection of old colheitas back to the 1960s, which was really kind of them.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

More Italy, and mind-blowing Madeira

Went to Raymond Reynolds portfolio tasting today, in a rather crowded and warm upstairs room in a pub. Raymond's company is responsible for importing the vast majority of decent Portuguese wine into the UK, and so I follow what they do pretty closely, because I love Portuguse wine.

Lots of good wines, but the highlight was a reasonable sampling of the offerings of Madeira's top producer, Barbeito. These wines were mind-blowingly beautiful, and I wish I could have had more time just to sit down and appreciate them, rather than taking somewhat hurried notes.

Veramar Boal Reserve
Dense, sweet and expressive with bright citrussy notes. Rich and full bodied. 89/100

'VB' Verdelho-Boal Lote 1
Complex spicy nose is sweet and full with a lively citrussy, tangerine-like edge. The fresh lemony palate is lively and complex. 93/100

Boal 10 Years Old Reserve
Waxy, complex nose is thrilling, nutty and expressive. The palate is just beautiful, with bright orange and citrus fruits, together with dried fruits, and some sweetness. 94/100

Malvasia 10 Years Old Reserve
Malvasia is often referred to as Malmsey in Madeira. This is sweet, fresh and complex with some nutty notes. Bright. 91/100

Sercial 10 Years Old Reserve
Complex, pungent, herby, citrussy, nutty nose. The palate is fresh, bright and tangy with some citrussy fruit. 93/100

Malvasia 20 Years Old Reserve Lote 7199
Deep, complex, intense nose leads to a super-concentrated, limey, spicy, broad palate with sweetness and acid in lovely tension. 93/100

Malvasia Special Reserve 30 Year Old
Deep orange colour. Madly complex nose is really thrilling, with orange, lemons, nuts and spice. The off-dry palate is viscous and super-concentrated with complex spice and citrus characters. Eternal finish. 95/100

Single Harvest 1997
Complex, herby, fresh, dense and lively. Delicious. 92/100

Malvasia Colheita 1994 Single Cask 232c
Very rich, intense and concentrated, with raisin, casky notes, herbs and citrus. Broad and quite sweet. 93/100

Boal 1982 Fransqueira
Complex nose showing old furniture, spice, nuts and herbs. Viscous, broad palate wit a nice citrussy finish. Thrillingly bright and expressive with a crazy long finish. 95/100

Tonight I've been calibrating my Tuscan experience by actually drinking one of the wines I'd tasted on my visits. It's Felsina's 2006 Berardenga Chianti Classico, and from a half bottle, this is beautifully dense yet expressive. 100% Sangiovese, and a full flavoured, structured, yet still-pure expression of what this grape can achieve when well handled. I gave it 91/100 on my visit, and I'd stick there with this rating at home, although I have a few concerns that tonight's bottle may have experienced heat damage in Pisa airport's shop. UK suggested retail is 17.49, but I've seen the 2005 for as low as 13.

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