Wine blog

My tasting notes of fine wines I have enjoyed.

 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.

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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.

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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.

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Schloss Gumpoldskirchen

Rotgipfer vines, Gumpoldskirchen

Gumpoldskirchen is small town to the south west of Vienna; the light soil at the foot of the limestone Anniger mountain (675 m.) of the Wiener Wald, but above the dark red soil of alluvial plain, has been yielding quality wines since Roman times. Production today is by a number of relatively small vineyards with varietals that are distinctive from the ubiquitous (in Austria) Grüner Veltliner. Austrian vine varietals are different and distinct from the French varietals largely because of the longstanding political separation of the Austro-Hungarian Hapsburg Empire and the Burgundian kings, Napoleonic Empire and French Republic and, before that, the Papal Schism.
Walking around the vineyards, now in late April beginning to come in to leaf, it is striking how much other vegetation is tolerated. There are dandelions in flower and going to seed and small “weeds” with white flowers. I’m guessing these are tolerated for a combination of reasons including protecting the soil against erosion and maintaining the soil chemistry. The vines seem to be mostly quite young. Note the red tips of the vines in one photo and the gradient at the top of the vineyard near Schloss Gumpoldskirchen, now a hotel.

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