2015 4th July: Rob's Tasting & Famous BBQ in Brighton
"Independents' Day - An Outdoor Wine Tasting"
An evening's 'Comparison Tasting' of Portuguese and Spanish wines expertly selected and presented by Rob. The wines were all sourced locally from either 'Quaff' or Butlers. Each pair of wines was accompanied by an appropriate food course exclusively prepared by our own favourite Chef on his brand new barbeque!
1. Lustau Puerto Fino; Jerez; 100% Palomino Fino grape; Supplied by Quaff, bought for £13.20 discounted from £15.00
Notes: "Awarded 90 points by Robert Parker: 'A brilliant sherry from Lustau, the dry, austere, intensely flavourful non-vintage Puerto Fino which exhibits a light green/amber color as well as notes of crushed sea shells, hazelnuts, and spice. This is a top-notch Fino to consume over the next year.
Aged in American oak casks through the traditional solera method in Lustau's wineries in El Puerto de Santa María, a seaside town situated in the Sherry triangle. The colour in this sherry is pale yellow. On the nose, the notes are fresh, vibrant, reminiscent of yeast, and leading to a dry and mouth watering palate.'"
2. FP by Filipa Pato; IGP Beiras Atlantico, Portugal; 2013; Bical & Arinto grapes; 12.5%; Butlers £12.50
Notes: "An extremely fresh, lean, bright wine with a lovely dense expression of fruit. A concentrated citrusy finish with a wonderful freshness."
Jane MacQuitty in The Times, 14/2/15: "An unusual, 50-50 Arinto and Bical blend, whose exotic, smoky scent and peachy finish make it a winter white gem."
Rob & Elizabeth served a splendid Gazpacho and garlic bread with these two wines - the Gazpacho, we understood, was home-made and the recipe included neither tomatoes nor peppers!
3. Quinta das Maias; Dao, Portugal; Jaen, Malvasia Fina, Cercial, Verdelho & Encruzado grapes; 2013; 13.5%; Butlers £12.50
Notes: "An extremely fresh, lean, bright wine with a lovely dense expression of fruit. A concentrated citrusy finish with a wonderful freshness. Maias Branco is a fresh, zesty wine, well balanced with lots of citrus and a slight smoky character. It has a good mineral background and a grippy finish"
4. Bolo Godello - Valdeorras, Rafael Palacios; Galicia, Spain; 100% Godello grape; 13.0%; Quaff £13.50 discounted to £11.90
Notes: "Fine, dry white from Galicia in north-west Spain. The superb Godello grape flourishes here, especially in the expert hands of top grower Rafael Palacios who makes it in an elegant, restrained lemony style with a soft, broad texture. The palate expresses the bittersweet style of Godello with fennel and lemongrass expressions, ending with fruity citrus aromatics and minerality that add length and precision to the wine."
These two wines perfectly complemented a serving of lightly grilled fresh mackerel fillets expertly cooked by Rob on the barbeque and served with Courgette strips and a Horse Radish Mayonnaise.
5. Viña Zorzal Graciano; Navarra, Spain; Grenache/Garnacha/Graciano grape; 13.5%; 2012; Quaff £10.50 discounted to £9.25
Notes: "The vineyard has 30 year-old vines and is located in the Ombatillo district in Corella.
In this part of Navarra, the winters tend to be dry and sunny, followed by a rainy spring. The summers are dry and a bit windy, with temperatures much cooler at night. These ideal conditions, which allow for the slow ripening of the Graciano grape variety, perfectly maintain the characteristic acidity, intensifying their aromatic quality and resulting in ripe silky tannins.
Top example of Graciano as a varietal. Inky, with blackcurrant, fruit peel, jam and raspberries. Red fruit notes on the finish and nice rich tannins and juicy structure. Slightly bitter and green notes true to Graciano, before the long finish. Great when slightly chilled. Serve at 12-14°C".
6. Dao Outeiro - "Álvaro Castro; Dao, Portugal; Alfrocheiro, Touriga Nacional grapes; 2012; 13.0%; Quaff £11.50 discounted to £10.15
Notes: "Álvaro Castro is widely acknowledged to be the leading producer in Portugal's Dão region; but it can be a bit of a challenge keeping up with his work: he makes a large array of wines from his two Quintas, some of which are collaborations with other producers, and others of which are special projects. Matured in old wood, this is a blend of Alfrocheiro and Touriga Nacional. Lovely focused bright red and black fruits nose, which is quite elegant and pure with a chocolatey edge. The palate is vivid and pure with dense, spicy fruit, good structure and fresh acidity. "
Our first Reds of the evening, these two well-chosen wines were served with the evening's 'highlight' dish: Wonderful home-made 'Lamb-burgers' made with crushed Cumin seeds, finely chopped Apricots and fresh Coriander and stuffed with Halloumi; served with light and creamy Dauphinoise Potatoes and French Beans with an accompanying spicy relish.
7. Quinta do Vallado; Duoro, Portugal; Touriga National grape; 2012; Quaff £23.00 discounted to £20.25
Notes: "Unusually for wineries in the Douro, Quinta do Vallado's priority is making table wines rather than Port (though their 10 year old Tawny is one of the best examples of its type on the market!). Their approach has been very successful, as shown by the spicy, rich Tinto Reserva, which has walked off with a host of medals at both the International Wine Challenge and Decanter awards in recent years. Sweet, round and matured and silky tannins, very balanced, with a long fresh finish."
8. Scala Dei Prior Crianza; Priorat, Spain; Garnacha, Carinena, Syrah grapes; 2009; Quaff £19.99 discounted to £17.60
Notes: "A remarkable winery dating back to the 12th Century, and surrounding the most distinctive "terroir" in Spain, Scala Dei (Latin for "Ladder of God") produces wines of exceptional flavour and depth. Wines from Scala Dei are among the most critically acclaimed from the region. This elegant blend leads with brick-red colour followed by fruit aromatics and then notes of vanilla toast from oak aging. On the palate, the wine is broad and full bodied, with good structure and a long persistent finish. The wine is aged for nine months in new French and American oak barrels before spending two additional years in the bottle. "
Perfectly matched for serving with two very special cheeses: the first an Aged Gouda (3-years old) and the second an excellent Pont-l'Évêque.
9. Ramos Pinto - Adriano White Reserva; Portugal; 19.5%; White Port; Quaff £16.00 discounted to £14.10
Notes: "The colour is amber yellow. The nose is fine, intense and quite complex, blending tropical aromas with crystallized orange, plus hints of balsam and spices. The palate is full-bodied but elegant, well-balance and with a long-lasting finish. Porto Branco Reserva is a delicate wine. Aromatic and complex, it is brimming with tropical, exotic and spicy notes. Produced from the most prestigious Grape varieties from the Demarcated Douro Region, it is the result of a rigorous selection of wines aged in oak casks in our cellars for an average of seven years. "
10. Emilio Lustau 'Solera Reserva'; Andalucia, Spain; Moscatel Emilin Sherry; Quaff £21.00 discounted to £18.50
Notes: "A most unusual wine, this - a seriously oaked Muscat, and a sherry to boot. But it really is rather delicious. The most common sweet sherry of interest to fine wine lovers is of course a dark syrup made from dried Pedro Ximénez grapes but this is quite different. It is certainly sweet but relatively pale and has quite enough acidity and a real kick of tannin on the finish, presumably from its very obvious extended ageing in oak. If you ever wanted to know the characteristic smell of such ageing called rancio, take a whiff of this, a solera wine from the firm that made its name via ageing much smaller lots of sherry in specific warehouses. The sweet, gentle, grapey character of Moscatel insinuates itself as well, making this a decidedly interesting, and thanks to the tannin rather bracing, end to a meal. With its strong spine of acidity, it reminded me rather of oak-aged lime cordial. Others have described it as mince pies in a bottle". Jancis Robinson
The White Port and the Moscatel were perfect choices to accompany the final course, a dessert of Home-made Vanilla Ice Cream with a Red Berry Compot and a nutty compot...!
The Raffle Wines:
1. Duas Quintas Ramos Pinto 2012 - won by Claire & Mike
2. An unknown Spanish white - won by Janis & Bill (please let Mike know the name of the wine so that it can be included...!)