Wine blog

My tasting notes of fine wines I have enjoyed.

“Animus” Douro 2017 and “Gloria” Reserve Douro 2015

Comparing two strong red wines from the valley of the river Douro in Portugal and then with a port wine from the same area

“animus” Douro 2017 - Vincente Faria, Vila do Conde
Tinta Roriz, Touriga National and Touriga Franca
“gloria” Reserve Douro 2015 - Vincente Faria, Vila do Conde
Aged in oak

These wines are DOC only for the region; both wines are based on Portugal’s main red grape varietal, Touriga National. They appear to be production in excess of the quota for a more specific DOC classification. Touriga National is famous both as a table wine and the main grape varietal for port wine. Both are available in UK supermarkets at an excellent price/quality point with matching labels but neither label gives much further information: we set out to taste what is the difference.

Read more: Tasting “Animus” Douro 2017 and “Gloria” Reserve Douro 2015

 Vin Santo 2012  - Santa Christina - Valdichiana Toscana

Vin Santos are all different; this one, from the Santa Christina brand whose estates are around Arezzo, dates from 2012 so has benefited from more than the five year minimum cellar time. Golden yellow in appearance, keeping its colour even to the glass. Terry tasted caramel, I was thinking more of Mead and honey. This Tuscan Vin Santo is not particularly sweet, and although distinctive in its own right, it is more Madeira than Sherry. Nothing like any French dessert wine. This bottle was a personal import from our trip to Tuscany earlier in 2018.

An excellent accompaniment to a celebration Cassata, pomegranate seeds, chocolate pepites, marrons glacés and pistachio pieces on layers of panettone soaked in Triple Sec and a cream made with Marsala, Mascarpone etc.

Clos René 1995, Pomerol

As sublime a bottle of fine old claret as anyone has a right to taste. Aged to a perfect balance between intensity of taste and smoothness. A great colour, still a very full red with no hint of turning tawny. A hint of liquorice to the palate of one of my friends within an exceptionally full and rewarding quaff.

Read more: Clos René 1995, Pomerol

Grignolino di Piemonte DOC 2017

We picked up a couple of bottles of this Grignolino di Piemonte DOC in Bardoneccia in Piemonte. It’s a light red wine from an estate to the south of Turin at Cisterna d’Asti. Uncorked, the aroma is light and fruity. Pouring in to the glass, the wine is strikingly light in colour, almost orange or even the colour of pomegranate juice.

Read more: Grignolino from Piemonte 2017

Tuscany wine cellar, Villa Nencini, Volterra

We’ve been enjoying a variety of Rosso wines whilst touring Tuscany. This style of Italian red wine is capable of the finest, most smooth and most complex experience. Rosso is always 100% Sangiovese grape varietal. Variously cherry red or slightly tawny in the glass, Rosso wine ages relatively swiftly so the differences between a 2016 and 2013 are quite noticeable: the older wines being more rounded and less tannic with more complexity; left too long then the colour and aromas pale. Rosso wines also change rapidly, almost alarmingly, after being uncorked in the heat of a Tuscan evening; we have several times had the impression that the fantastic wine is deteriorating in front of us whilst the rural Italian kitchen struggles to supply its clientele.
Just now, May 2018, we found that Rosso 2016 is ready to drink, an “ordinary” 2015 is likely to be at its height whilst older bottles should be treated with suspicion except from a trusted cellar, in which case the bottle may be exceptionally fine, well in to the stratospheric class.

Read more: Rosso wines from Tuscany