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Two budget-friendly Italian wines

Two very nice, budget-friendly wines from opposite ends of Italy. The Lugana region is near Lake Garda in northern Italy, and the Appassimento is from Puglia in the far south. Both were drinking beautifully, and both might age well for another few years. Excellent value, and well worth looking out for!

2019 Cà Maiol Lugana

Colour: clear pale lemon

Nose: medium intensity, secondary , youthful. Lemon, lemon peel, green apple. White flowers. Passion fruit, underripe pineapple. Bitter almonds? Biscuity lees character.

Palate: dry, medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol (13%), medium bodied. Medium length finish, medium intensity. Lemon, lemon peel, green apple. White flowers. Passion fruit, underripe pineapple. Bitter almonds? Biscuity lees character. Lithe, lots of fresh acidity, but lots of fruit character and some richness.

Conclusions : good. Drink now
Seal DIAM5 cork

2019 Emporium Appassimento Salento IGT

Colour: deep ruby , hint of brick red

Nose: intense, secondary, youthful. Red and black plum, blackberry jam, stewed tamarillo. Dried orange peel, cinnamon, clove, vanilla, cedar. Coffee. Dried moscatel grapes? Leather, earth.

Palate: dry to off-dry, medium(+) acidity, medium tannins, high alcohol (14,5%), full bodied. Pronounced intensity, medium(+) finish. Red and black plum, blackberry jam, stewed tamarillo. Dried orange peel, cinnamon, clove, vanilla, cedar. Coffee. Dried moscatel grapes? Leather, earth. Lots of rich, ripe, fruit sweetness that’s balanced by the minerality, the drying tannins, and the fresh acidity, that’s just enough to keep it in balance. Aims to be a ‘vino di meditazione’, and pretty much managed it. Very good value for money.

Conclusions: good to very good. Can drink now, but suitable for ageing.
Seal natural cork
Blend of primitivo and negramaro grapes

A Bordeaux and a Burgundy

Two very nice wines for a birthday dinner last night… and there were no clashes, despite one being a Burgundy and the other a Bordeaux! Both represented very good value, especially the Clos de Myglands.

Good Mercurey 1er crus represent something that is increasingly rare in Burgundy: good value for money. This particular wine was drinking very nicely, despite obviously still being very young. (If you’re wondering about the odd name… it’s apparently a corruption of the English ‘My Land’, the name given to the site by an English dignitary). It was fresh and lively, with plenty of crunchy fruit, but also has the structure to age. Highly recommended.

The Sauternes was simply delicious and drinkable. Age has given it some added complexity, but really it was just beautifully rich and sweet but balanced. A dessert in a bottle. Lovely!

2016 Faiveley Mercurey 1er Cru Clos des Myglands
Colour: medium(+) ruby

Nose: medium intensity, secondary, youthful. Sour cherry, black and red cherry, strawberry, red plum, cranberry. Rhubarb? Beetroot? Cedar, baking spice, maybe bitter cocoa.

Palate: dry, medium acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol (13%), medium bodied. Sour cherry, black and red cherry, strawberry, red plum, cranberry. Rhubarb? Beetroot? Sappy. Cedar, baking spice, maybe bitter cocoa. Good balance of fruit, spice, and savouriness. Live, lithe acidity, and firm, dark, spicy, structural tannins. Really nice!

Conclusions: very good. Can drink now, but suitable for ageing or further ageing.
Seal: natural cork

2009 Château de Myrat Sauternes

Colour: deep gold

Nose: medium (+) intensity, tertiary, developing. Pear, apricot, orange marmalade, preserved quince. Barley sugar. Hint of earth and white mushrooms? Cedar, baking spice.

Palate: luscious, unctuous, rich. High acidity, high alcohol (14%), full bodied. Medium(+) length finish, medium(+) intensity. Pear, apricot, orange marmalade, preserved quince. Barley sugar. Cedar, baking spice, vanilla. Very rich and full. Very sweet, but balanced.

Conclusions: very good (esp given the price!). Can drink now but suitable for ageing or further ageing.
Seal natural cork. Notes from a half bottle.

WSET Level 3 tasting notes, Brisbane: Sessions 1, 2, & 3

I am reposting my notes from CellarTracker for my first day of WSET Level 3 here.

WSET LEVEL 3, SESSIONS 1, 2, & 3 – Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (14/1/2021)

This was the first day of my WSET Level 3 course.

Note: I haven’t studied with WSET before, so I am just getting used to their systematic approach to tasting wine — so apologies if I make mistakes with the tasting note format as I learn.

Course Induction and Tasting Technique

Wine bottles from session 1

We tasted a few different wines to begin to attune our palates, and to calibrate them to align with the tutor’s palate and the classes’ palates. I was surprised that I wasn’t keen on the Rioja, as I normally love aged Riojas — but for me this had an odd character on the nose (window cleaner??) that I found off-putting.

  • 2017 Parini Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie – Italy, Delle Venezie
    Appearance: clear medium lemon
    Nose: lemon, lemon peel. Pear, apple. Flinty. Simple. Clean, light, primary, youthful. Medium(+) intensity.
    Palate: lemon, lemon peel. Underripe nectarine? Lime. Flinty? Dry, high acidity, medium alcohol, light bodied, medium flavour intensity, primary, short flavour intensity.
    Assessment of quality: Acceptable.
    Level of readiness for drinking: Drink now, not suitable for ageing or further ageing.
  • 2016 Foxeys Hangout Chardonnay White Gates Vineyard – Australia, Victoria, Port Phillip, Mornington Peninsula
    Appearance: clear medium lemon
    Nose: lemon, lemon peel. Peach. Butter, cheese. Walnut. Oak: vanilla. Flint/sulfur? Clean, medium(+) intensity, developing, youthful.
    Palate: lemon, lemon peel. Pineapple? Biscuit/brioche. Touch of flint. Peach. Butter. Walnut. Oak: vanilla. Dry, medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol, medium bodied. Medium flavour intensity, medium finish.
    Assessment of quality: Very good
    Level of readiness for drinking: Drink now, but has potential for further ageing.
  • 2018 Barton & Guestier Beaujolais-Villages – France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages
    Appearance: Clear medium purple
    Nose: raspberry, cherry/kirsch, cassis, plum, cranberry. Confectionery. Cola. Clean, medium intensity, primary, youthful.
    Palate: Red cherry, strawberry, plum, blackcurrant. Cola/medicinal. Confectionery. Whole bunch character? Dry, medium(+) acidity, medium(-) tannins, medium alcohol. Light bodied, medium flavour intensity, medium finish.
    Assessment of quality: acceptable
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, not suitable for ageing
  • 2006 Urbina Rioja Reserva Especial – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
    Appearance: clear medium garnet (aged?)
    Nose: Cranberry, cassis, cooked black plum. Cherry. Liqueured cherry. Dried herbs, mushroom, leather, earth, tobacco, savoury. Prunes. Oak: vanilla, nutmeg. Cola/cough syrup. Tomato leaf? Clean, medium intensity, tertiary, fully developed.
    Palate: Sour cherry, black plum, cassis. Blackberry. Black tea? Leather, earth, tobacco. Oak: vanilla. Savoury, earthy. Mint. Dried herbs. Dry, medium(+) acidity, medium tannins, high alcohol. Medium(-) body, medium finish.
    Assessment of quality: Very good.
    Level of readiness for drinking: Drink now, has potential for ageing or further ageing.

The Natural Factors and Human Influences in the Vineyard

The idea was to guess the grape variety, based on descriptions of several key varieties. I guess Cabernet Sauvignon, but assumed I was wrong because it seemed too simple and I normally get these wrong. IT was Cabernet Sauvigon.

  • 2019 Les Domaines Paul Mas Cabernet Sauvignon – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d’Oc
    Appearance: clear deep ruby
    Nose: cassis, blackberry, black cherry, blueberry? Confectionary. Tobacco, maybe green bell pepper. Black pepper? Cloves, cedar? Clean, medium(+) intensity, secondary, youthful.
    Palate: cassis, blackberry, black cherry. Medicinal, tobacco. Green bell pepper??? Oak: cedar. Dry, medium acidity, medium tannins, medium(+) body, medium alcohol. Medium(+) intensity, secondary, medium finish.
    Assessment of quality: good
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, not suitable for ageing or further ageing
  • 2016 Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyards – USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
    Appearance: clear deep ruby
    Nose: black cherry, blackberry, cassis, blackcurrant, black plum. Green bell pepper?? Tomato leaf?? Oak: cedar, nutmeg. Biscuit? Clean, medium intensity, secondary, youthful.
    Palate: black cherry, blackberry, cassis, blackcurrant, baked plum? Green bell pepper??? tomato leaf. Oak: cedar. Dry, medium acidity, medium(+) tannins, high alcohol, medium(+) flavour intensity, secondary, medium(+) finish.
    Assessment of quality: very good
    Level of readiness for drinking: Drink now, suitable for ageing or further ageing.

The Human Factors in the Winery that Influence Style, Quality and Price

A final flight of wines at the end of the day. Everyone was rather tired at this point, but I liked the La Crema Chardonnay.

  • 2019 Zilzie Chardonnay Selection 23 – Australia, Victoria
    Appearance: clear medium lemon
    Nose: grapefruit, lemon peel. Pear, pear drops. Pineapple? Oak: cedar. Smokey/sunburnt grapes. Clean, medium(-) intensity, primary, youthful.
    Palate: lemon, pear, melon, pineapple. Unripe nectarine. Cedar? Dry, medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol. Medium intensity, primary, medium finish.
    Assessment of quality: acceptable
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, not suitable for ageing or further ageing
  • 2018 La Crema Chardonnay Monterey – USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey
    Appearance: clear deep lemon
    Nose: lemon. Underripe necatarine, peach. Passionfruit? Lees: biscuit, bread dough. Oak: vanilla, toast, cedar. Clean, medium intensity, secondary, youthful.
    Palate: Lemon, lemon peel. Melon? Underripe nectarine, peach. Lees: bread dough. Oak: cedar, toast, vanilla. Dry, medium acidity, medium alcohol. Full body, secondary, pronounced intensity, long finish.
    Assessment of quality: very good
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, suitable for ageing or further ageing
  • 2018 First Creek Wines Shiraz Harvest – Australia, New South Wales
    Appearance: clear medium ruby
    Nose: blackberry, raspberry, red plum, red cherry. Simple. Cedar? Clean, medium intensity, primary, youthful.
    Palate: strawberry jam. Red plum, raspberry. White pepper. Cedar? Simple. Dry, medium(-) acidity, medium(-) tannins, medium alcohol. Medium(+) bodied, medium(-) flavour intensity, primary, medium(-) finish.
    Assessment of quality: acceptable
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, not suitable for ageing or further ageing.
    NOTE: wine details on CellarTracker are currently wrong, the name should be First Creek Shiraz ‘Harvest’, and it is not a Hunter Valley wine — ‘Australia’ is the only region mentioned.
  • 2018 Head Wines Syrah The Contrarian – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Appearance: clear deep purple
    Nose: bramble. Black cherry, black plum (cooked and fresh), blackberry. Black pepper. Liqueured preserved fruit. Dried herbs. Medicinal. Oak: vanilla, nutmeg. Clean, medium intensity, primary, youthful.
    Palate: strawberry jam, black cherry, black plum, bramble. Fig? Oak: cedar, chocolate, vanilla. Dried herbs? Black pepper. Dry, medium acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol. Medium(+) bodied, medium(+) flavour intensity, primary, long finish.
    Assessment of quality: good
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, potential for ageing or further ageing

All-in-all, it was a good start to the course, and a great chance to try some wines that I usually wouldn’t. Three sessions down, twelve to go!

Posted from CellarTracker

Tasting note: 2011 Nicolas Rossignol Volnay

Colour: translucent cherry red, fading to brick

Nose: strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate. Cedary oak. Sweet spice. Forest floor, mushroomy, warm mulched earth. Rose petals. Perfumed. Balsamic vinegar.

Palate: strawberry, pomegranate; sweet red berry fruit. Forest floor, earthy, leafy. Cigar box, cedary oak, sweet spice. Fresh strawberry-like acidity; very smooth, fine grained tannins; both well beautifully integrated. Earthy and savoury, showing good development. Fruity but savoury. Initially it seemed a bit simple and one-dimensional, but it opened up with a bit of air. Maybe lacks some of the complexity and length of his 1er crus, but that’s not unexpected I guess. I suspect it’s at the end of its drinking window. Really, really nice, very drinkable.

Medium bodied, 13% alcohol. Seal: natural cork.

Gavin Duley, 2nd October 2020
2011 Nicolas Rossignol Volnay

Two Burgundies

A couple of tasting notes of two more reasonably priced Burgundies. The crémant was particularly good value, and while it no doubt lacks the complexity of good Champagne (I don’t drink enough Champagne to comment!), was very drinkable.

Two bottles of Burgundy
A bottle of Cremant de Bourgogne

NV Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne Brut

Colour: medium straw

Nose: strawberry, raspberry; beurre bosc pear, apricot, lemon. Waxy, honeyed, nougat. Pineapple?

Palate: strawberry, raspberry; beurre bosc pear, lemon, pineapple. Russet apples. Waxy, honeyed, nougat. Quite rich, but with linear, brisk acidity. Crunchy and fresh, but with some richness. Quite oxidative, I guess. Lots of persistent bead, overflowing when first opened. Maybe not as complex as some (bearing in mind that I’m an infrequent drinker of sparkling wines), but very nice. 12% alcohol. Seal: cork capsule.

DAY 2: left open overnight (& not properly sealed), now at (winter) room temperature (ie about 15°C). Still has some bead left, just. Rich, oxidative flavours are accentuated, eg mandarin, lemon marmalade, fleshy lemon, pineapple, russet apples, lemon curd. Still very nice, actually. Lovely, rich, oxidative style, run through with a lithe, persistent acidity.

A bottle of Chorey-les-Beaune

2014 Domaine Michel Gay et Fils Chorey-lès-Beaune Vieilles Vignes

Colour: translucent cherry

Nose: sour cherry, strawberry, pomegranate, cranberry. Balsamic vinegar. Tobacco, earthy, cigar box. Old oak. Green apple? Fresh, lively.

Palate: sour cherry, strawberry, pomegranate, cranberry, maybe plum. Balsamic vinegar? Tobacco, earthy, cigar box. Old oak. Green apple? Fresh, lithe, linear acidity; smooth, fine grained, moderate tannins, slightly drying. Fresh, lithe, but with some earthy complexity. Medium to light bodied, 13% alcohol. Seal: natural cork.

DAY 2: hasn’t really improved overnight. There’s still quite a lot of sour cherry, pomegranate, and some leathery earthiness, plus a touch of green apple (malic acid?) in the background. Better yesterday. Fresh, lithe, and linear. Pretty decent, but perhaps with a bit less complexity than you’d hope for a village level Burgundy?