Saturday 6th May 2017 : "Volcanic Wines" with Adrienne & James in Brighton
James had thoroughly researched his theme to produce a very varied and interesting selection of wines for the evening's Tasting. His wines were from various volcanic regions of the World, in particular Italy, Greece and the Napa Valley USA ,with Raffle prizes from Martinborough NZ and Mendoza, Argentina.
1. Feudi del Vescovo, 'Tre Stelle' Greco Fiano, Basilicata IGT, 2015; Basilicata, Southern Italy; 60% Greco, 40% Fiano grapes; 12% alc; £9.00 from Averys of Bristol
James' Notes: "Flavours of baked pears, lemon, almonds, sweet pastry, nutty finish".
Averys' Notes: "From the picturesque Vulture region of Basilicata in Southern Italy, these vineyards lie on volcanic soils in the shadow of the inactive volcano Monte Vulture (dormant for 40,000 years). This region is fast becoming one of Italy’s most exciting up and coming regions. A blend of indigenous Italian varieties, 60% Greco and 40% Fiano adding notes of peach and almond. Winemaker Manuel Barone takes advantage of the volcanic soils and cool breezes to preserve the character of the grapes. Served chilled, this fresh white is ideal as an aperitif or would be perfect with a creamy pasta carbonara."
2. Pieropan Calvarino 2014; Soave, Italy; Garganega & Trebbino grapes; 12.5% alc; Bought from Laithwaites for £20.00
James' Notes: "Aromatic highlights of peach, honey, orange peel, pressed jasmine and crushed mineral."
Laithwaites Notes: "This superb, fourth generation estate not only can claim to make some of the appellation's finest wines, the founder - Leonildo Pieropan Snr - invented Soave Recioto, a delicious, sweet wine using air-dried grapes, like Amarone. Within its 30 hectares of vines the family have three single vineyards, all Classico, one of which is Calvarino. Wine Advocate says of the 2012: "Aromatic highlights of peach, honey, orange peel, pressed jasmine and crushed mineral along the way." This myriad of flavours is thanks to the quality of the Garganega and Trebbiano grapes. Aged 30 to 60 years, the vines are tended with the utmost care and you can taste the difference. The wine shows such purity of fruit and intensity - savour with your finest fish".
3. Santo Nykteri 2014; Santorini, Greece; Assyrtiko grape; 14.0% alc; 12.5% alc; Bought from Laithwaites for £17.00 (currently £18.99)
James' Note: " Floral notes, ripe pear and spice with excellent, stony intensity."
Laithwaite's Notes: "It's good to support the Greeks, especially when their wines taste this good. Since 2008 every vintage of Nykteri has been a medal winner - an impressive track record. It's from the team at Santo, founded in 1992. They might be the largest cellar on Santorini but they are still small. However, they take quality very seriously and the winery, on five different levels, is all gravity fed. As you might have guessed, wine has been made on Santorini for thousands of years, since 3000 BC in fact. With an active volcano, the island boasts a special ecosystem and very porous soils. Crafted largely from Assyrtiko and aged in barrel for three months, this wine has brilliant lemony crispness, floral notes with a hint of spice. Greek salad a must!"
Between the Whites and the Reds Adrienne served Crackers with home-made Lemon Hummus and Stuffed Olives.
4. Nicosia 2014; Mt Etna, Sicily, Italy; 80% Nerello Mascalese, 20% Nerello Cappuccio grapes; 13.0% alc; Bought for £11.00 from M&S.
James' Note: "Red Berry & Trifle, spice notes".
M & S Notes: "A rich, garnet coloured Italian wine with spicy truffle and red berry aromas and gorgeous array of cranberry and strawberry flavours on the palate. About this bottle: Well-integrated notes of cedar show a skilful use of oak casks during maturation. M&S Winemaker Jeneve Williams and Nicosia's Maria Carella worked together to select deeply fragranced Nerello Mascalese grapes from the Volcanic slopes of the south-eastern side of Mount Etna, using them for 80% of this blend, while the wilder character of Nerello Cappuccio makes up the balance. Grape Variety: 80% Nerello Mascalese, 20% Nerello Cappuccio".
5. Feudi del Vescovo, 'Tre Stelle', Aglianico del Vulture DOC, 2014; Basilicata, Italy; Aglianico grape; 13.0% alc; £10.00 from Averys of Bristol
James' Note: "Rich, spicy flavours and cherry-chocolate aromas".
Averys' Notes: "From the picturesque Vulture region of Basilicata Southern Italy, these vineyards lie on volcanic soils in the shadow of the inactive volcano Monte Vulture. This region is fast becoming one of Italy’s most exciting and up and coming regions. Aglianico is a grape native to Southern Italy, famed for producing deep and flavourful reds with good ageing potential. The rich spicy flavours and cherry-chocolate aromas of this red would make a good match for a Moroccan tagine or for slow roasted lamb. Winemaker Manuel Barone takes advantage of the volcanic soils and cool breezes to preserve the character of the grapes."
Averys' Tasting Note: "Bright ruby red in colour, this Italian red has strong aromatic fruit flavours with hints of sour black cherry, spice and vanilla. A good firm structure and long, balsamic finish make for a sophisticated wine."
6. Nicosia Classic 2013; Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy; 80% Nerollo Mascalese , 20% Capuccio; 13.0% alc; £12.50 from Laithwaites.
James' Notes: "Red berry and cherry characters; spice notes and a mineral edge."
Laithwaites' Notes: "Volcanic eruptions, unpredictable weather, very rocky soils and ridiculously steep slopes - who in their right mind would plant vineyards here? Some of the top winemakers, in fact. So impressed are they with the quality of the fruit, it seems to be worth the risk. All these factors, plus the high altitude of the vineyards and the purity of the light lend a superb minerality and concentration to the wines, while the slow ripening grapes retain excellent structure and aroma, as you'll taste in this wine. Ours is from a small cellar owned by five generations of the Nicosia family. Using the top native red grapes of Etna, Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio, this is an elegant aromatic red. Recommended with roast meats and rich tomato sauced pasta."
7. Taurasi, Terredora di Paolo, 2010 ; Campagnia, Italy; Aglianico grape; 14% alc; £28.00 from Butlers
James' Note: "Notes of cherry, wild berries, spicy scents of violet and tobacco with a mineral accent."
Winemaker's Notes: "The Terredora Taurasi displays ruby red color with garnet reflections. Pronounced and complex with notes of cherry, wild berries, spicy scents of violet and tobacco with a mineral accent. Elegant, smooth, velvety and intense with characteristic hints of plums, black cherries, black pepper and tar; full-bodied and austere on the palate with balanced tannins and acidity."
Critical Acclaim: James Suckling - "A very rich, decadent Taurasi with porcini mushroom, bark and ripe-fruit aromas. Full-bodied with round, ripe tannins with lots of spice, fruit and earth aftertaste. Very rich and intense. Structured and potent. Drink or age. "
8. O'Shaughnessy Estate, 2013; Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, USA; 76% Cabernet Sauvignan, 6% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Carmenère, 3% St. Macaire; 15.0% alc; £80.00 from Laithwaites.
James' Notes: "Dense purple in colour with notes of mulberry, blackberry, graphite and spring flowers; great fruit, well-integrated tannin."
Critical Acclaim: “O'Shaughnessy's 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is once again one of the very best wines readers will find in its price range. A host of sweet red cherry, plum, blueberry, rose petal and mocha notes flesh out as this super-inviting, luscious Cabernet shows off its compelling and totally alluring personality. Merlot and Malbec both play significant roles in the blend and also give the wine a striking core of mid-palate sweetness to balance the firm mountain tannins. The Napa Valley Cabernet is a blend of fruit from estate vineyards on Howell Mountain and Mt. Veeder.” 93 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous)
Adrienne's supper food, as always, was excellent. (Bryan even went back for thirds!) Adrienne served: Beef and Bacon Lasagne and/or Aubergine & Courgette Lasagne accompanied by a Mixed Salad as main course choices. A Cheese Board followed by Plum Compote, Creme Fraiche and Toasted Almonds for Dessert. Finished off with Tea/Coffee.
1. Angel's Selection, Maurico Lorca, 2015; Mendoza, Argentina; Malbec; 13.5% alc - won by Bryan...!
2. Rod Easthope 2016, Martinborough NZ; Sauvignon Blanc; 12.5% alc - won by Mike.