Saturday, July 19, 2008

2005 Niepoort Vertente Tinto

Country: Portugal
Region: Douro
Alcohol: 13%
Price: €19,00
Closure: Cork

In my eyes Portugal, along with Italy, is one of the most exciting wine producing countries in the world today. With the many indigenous grape varieties available at their disposal the potential is there to produce interesting, unique wines that could differentiate Portugal from many other wine producing countries.

Port, Portugal's most famous of wines, has long been the king-pin in the Douro. Over the last ten to twenty years, however, this has all been changing as consumers tastes changed from drinking Port and Sherries to table wines. The rise of a new generation of winemakers in the Douro, and Portugal as a whole, has seen many producing table wines in addition to their ports. As a result many have released a range of table wines.

Among these is van Niepoort, a wine producer of Dutch origins. Van Niepoort is run by a 5th generation Niepoort, Dirk. Over the years Dirk Niepoort has established a reputation as one of the most skilled winemakers in the Douro. While he is also a tradionalist he was one of the first in the Douro to start dabbling with table wines.

This wine, named the Vertente, is a tinto produced from a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Amarela, Touriga Nacional and others. The vineyards producing the grapes are quite mature with vine ages ranging between 20 and 70 years. Here's what I thought of it:

Great depth of colour with the deep purple showing it's youth. The nose is powerful and shows dark berry fruit. On the palate there is plenty of fresh, dark berry along with good, dying tannins and really good acidity. The wood is nicely integrated behind the fruit. This is a wine that is more about elegance than power. Nice length on the finish. I really liked this wine though at the moment of tasting I'm unsure whether this good value at €19.00.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

WBW#47 Today’s Wine Brought To You By The Letter “S”

This months Wine Blogging Wednesday theme is presented by the guys at Grape Juice. An interesting theme this one; Today’s Wine Brought To You By The Letter “S”. Well all I can say this wine was definitely brought by the letter "S". Read more to find out why.

NV Pertaringa The Full Fronti

Country: Australia
Region: McLaren Vale
Alcohol: 18.%
Price: €16,00
Closure: T-Cap

The liqueur styles Tokay (Muscadelle) and Muscat/Frontignac (Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains / Brown Muscat) are classically produced in Australia, especially the Rutherglen area in Victoria. This one, however, is not from Rutherglen but from McLaren Vale where the Hardy and Leask families have been fortifying grapes for well over 150 years. Today they own and run Pertaringa Vineyards releasing the Full Fronti for fun rather than necessity. The Liqueur Fronti is a blend of liqueur frontignac that averages to around 20 years in age.

These are my thoughts on it:

Amber-brown in colour with hints of olive green. Very thick and viscous. Powerful on the nose; the aromas almost leap out of the glass with ranchio aromas, raisins and currants, spice and just a hint of spirit. Thick, luscious and powerful on the palate with the same ranchio characters, raisins, currents, apricot, caramel along with hints of spirit. A spirited long, lengthy finish completes a seriously superb drink; stupendously spectacular, sensuous, and sublime. Oh heck why not? It's SUPER­CALI­FRAGI­LISTIC­EXPI­ALI­DOCIOUSLY good.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

2005 Churchill Estates Tinto

Region: Douro
Country: Portugal
Alcohol: 13%
Price: €15,00
Closure: Cork

Churchill Estates is a relative newcomer to the world of port, having been founded by Johnny Graham in 1981.  Like many other producers in the Douro, Churchill has also started producing tables wines based on the traditional port varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz and Touriga Franca.   This is the second of their table wines, the 2005 Churchill Estates Tinto. 

The wine is produced from the Tinto Roriz (60%) and Touriga Nacional (40%) varieties.  Tinto Roriz, also known as tempranilla in Spain (the star of Rioja) and aragonez in Portugal, has small grapes with a thick skin which produces wines of intense colour depth.  It generally produces wines with lower acid and tannin in warmer climates such as the Douro.  Touriga Nacional on the other hand is a grape producing wines with massive colour and big tannins.  The real star of the Douro, it provides structure, generally high acidity, powerful tannins and deep, powerful aromas.

Anyway here's what I thought of it:

Really great colour; deep, dense and purple.  On the nose it's powerful with red and black fruits, and gives the impression that this will be a big wine.  The palate is, however, more elegance than power and exhibits smooth, soft, sweet black fruit backed by cedar-like oak.   Fruit is fresh and grippy tannins quite elegant.  Nice black fruit finish completes a really elegant wine.   Churchill aims to produce elegant, balanced wines rather than over the top, overripe fruit bombs which is exactly what they have achieved.  Attractive and impressive wine that I definitely recommend.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

1964 Chateau La Burelle

Country: France
Region: Saint Emilion
Alcohol: 11-13%
Price: Unknown
Closure: Cork

My father-in-law (to be) took this one out of the cellar - as far as I know it's been there for all of it's life bar the first 5-6 years or so. Of interest was the brown wine bottle - it was certainly the first time I have seen one of those from Bordeaux. Also of interest was the alcohol percentage being displayed as between 11 and 13 % .

Now I always like to know a little more about the wines I drink. In some cases, however, this is nigh impossible especially where the wine is old and the estate or chateau no longer exists. In this case I couldn't find anything about the chateau which is a bit of pity.

1964 was an interesting vintage. It followed the superb 1961, the variable, underrated 1962 and the rain-ruined 1963. While plenty of rain fell in 1964 it fell primarily during the harvest. In general the summer months were warm and dry which allowed the earlier ripening grapes such as Merlot to fully ripen. Merlot ripens a few weeks earlier than does Cabernet (left bank Bordeax) and many right bank properties harvested just before the rain came down to ruin whatever was left including the left bank harvest. While I have no idea as to the quality of this Chateau, the chances are the grapes for this wine were harvested before the rain came and that it is more than likely largely (if not soully) Merlot.

The words of one Ellen Eller sum up the right bank vintage: "It was such an exquisite 1964 Bordeaux that one sip was more like inhaling a soft fragrance than imbibing a liquid"

Here's what I though of it:

The Orange-red clearly indicates an older wine; the core is still has good depth of red with light orange at the edge of the glass. A little funky at first but then opened up to show plenty of red cherry fruit and some cigar box aromas. On the palate it still has quite a lot of red fruit backed by soft and well integrated tannins. Acidity added some freshness. Good length on the finish. This wine has aged beautifully over the years. It certainly tasted a lot younger than a 44 year old wine. Really enjoyed the experience.