Wine Tasting: Old World - New World (27th Aug 1998)

A light-hearted, competitive tasting that I presented. Four French wines and one Italian represented the Old World. Four South Africans and a Californian stood up for the New. The wines were well received but were difficult to differentiate. They were presented in pairs: Sauvigon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Claret style, Italian style.

1. 1994 Ken Forrester Fume Blanc

27th Aug 1998 GBP6 South Africa Table White

Pale, bright straw.
Mute nose - almost soapy.
Ripe, sweet citrus/gooseberry/orange peel flavours. Mouthfilling with crisp acidity and good balance. Long, dry finish.

2. 1996 Tracy Pouilly Fume

27th Aug 1998 GBP9 Loire Table White

Pale, bright straw/gold.
Developed and opulent nose of asparagus and gooseberries.
Medium bodied and dry with fresh gooseberry fruit; creamy, lemony acidity; lots of alcohol and a long, crisp finish.

3. 1996 Von Ortloff Chardonnay

27th Aug 1998 GBP6 South Africa Table White

Bright, pale, gold.
Spicy, toasted oak and citrus fruit on the nose.
Full bodied with ripe fruit and lots of creamy, toasty oak. Flavours of floury apples and cinnamon, thick layers of sweet alcohol and a good, dry finish.
Straightforward and appealling New World style - drink now on its own.

4. 1996 Pascal Bourgogne Blanc

27th Aug 1998 GBP7 Burgundy Table White

Bright, pale, straw/gold.
Compact nose with a tang of orange peel (and botrytis ?) - fairly dumb.
Crisp lemon, gooseberry and floury apple fruit with spicy, mineral flavours coming through on the finish. Dry.
A little coarse and disjointed on its own - needs food.

5. 1995 Morey Maranges

27th Aug 1998 GBP11 Burgundy Table Red

Pale, even, red/mahogany.
Rich Pinot nose of black cherries, strawberries and cream - nicely developed but still fresh and enticing.
Light to medium bodied. Very dry with crisp acids, crunchy berry fruit, a touch of oak and firm tannins.
Needs another couple of years but should be very impressive.

6. 1997 Glen Carlou Pinot Noir

27th Aug 1998 GBP7 South Africa Table Red

Deep, even, red/purple to red - still young.
Restrained nose with some spicy berry fruits and a trace of wet wool and vegetation.
Medium to full bodied with spicy, juicy berry fruit; crisp fruit acids; lurking, soft, old oak and firm tannins. Warm, long finish with lots of alcohol and oak coming through. Dry.
Needs another couple of years.

7. 1996 Von Ortloff Merlot

27th Aug 1998 GBP7 South Africa Table Red

Deep red/purple to red/brown - starting to mature?
Rich plum and berry fruit on the nose with plenty of oak and alcohol - still young and simple.
Medium bodied with crunchy cassis and plum fruit and a touch of cedar. Crisp acidity, warm layers of alcohol and some spicy oak coming through on the finish.
Should be very good but needs two to five years.

8. 1994 Cos d'Estournel Pagodes de Cos

27th Aug 1998 GBP15 Bordeaux Table Red

Deep purple/red with a tawny red rim - starting to develop.
Opulent, raisined fruit on the nose - stewed prunes and smoky oak. Intense aromas with plenty of alcohol.
Full bodied with soft, creamy oak and tannins. Flavours of smoke, baked plums and mulberries. Rounded with a mouthfilling texture, some acidity and soft tannins coming through on the finish.
Quite simple and monolithic but drinking well now and over the next 2 to 3 years.

9. 1994 Garofoli Rosso Conero Grosso Agontano

27th Aug 1998 GBP8 Italy Table Red

Very deep, purple/red to red.
Lurking nose of black fruit and leather.
Full, ripe and rich with flavours of mulberries and toasted oak. Voluptuous and mouthfilling with ripe, crisp acidity and good, firm tannins. Sweet fruit throughout with spicy oak on the finish.
Excellent now but will improve over the next few years.

10. 1995 Ravenswood Old Vines Sonoma Zinfandel

27th Aug 1998 GBP12 USA Table Red

Deep, garnet to red, browning slightly at rim.
Opulent and intense currant and strawberry nose with some creamy oak.
Full bodied with juicy, clean berry fruit and creamy oak. Soft, velvety texture; warm and alcoholic with firm, underlying tannins - excellent balance. Long, long finish with flavours of blackcurrants, aniseed and oak coming through.
Superb now. It may age, but why take the risk?