Wine Tasting: New Lines (5th May 1998)

A fine wine tasting, Glasgow. I presented the wines blind, in pairs.

1. 1996 Caymus Sauvignon Blanc

5th May 1998 GBP8 USA Table White

Pale, bright colour.
Fat, buttery oak on the nose and ripe fruit aromas.
Mouth-filling and creamy, with sweet, ripe fruit, spices and lots of new oak.
Weighty, with room for development, but lovely now.

2. 1997 Redwood Valley Sauvignon Blanc

5th May 1998 GBP9 New Zealand Table White

Very pale, bright.
Clean, fresh nose - herbaceous and grassy with plenty of fruit.
Medium-bodied with crisp, ripe flavours of nettles and elderflowers. Long on the finish with plenty of prickly acidity.
A gorgeous, summery wine for drinking young.

3. 1996 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay

5th May 1998 GBP12 Marlborough Table White

Pale, bright greenish straw colour.
Fresh, clean citrussy nose - still quite closed.
Rounded and medium-bodied with ripe, sweet, warm citrus and toasted oak flavours. Long crisp finish with well integrated oak.
Good now but will be much better in a year or two.

4. 1996 Puligny Montrachet, Ch de Meursault Perrieres

5th May 1998 GBP18 Burgundy Table White

Pale gold/straw.
Creamy, toasty nose with lots of spicy oak - complex and classy.
Still quite tight and too young with plenty of oak, citrus and bitter peel flavours and crisp acidity.
An outstanding wine that needs 4 or more years to find its balance.

5. 1995 Dubois Nuits St Georges Porets St G

5th May 1998 GBP15 Burgundy Table Red

Deep garnet, fading to a tawny/red rim.
Rich forest fruits and spicy oak on the nose.
A real mouthful with sweet strawberry and forest fruit flavours, well charred oak, quite high acidity and a long, quite dry finish.
Will drink very well in 3 or more years.

6. 1995 Laurent Morey Saint Denis

5th May 1998 GBP20 Burgundy Table Red

Even, tawny colour.
Sweet, slightly confected nose with jammy fruit and some rustic undertones.
Medium-bodied, still very young with high acidity. Nicely balanced with gamey, vegetal flavours, well-integrated oak and a long, white-pepper finish.
This wine really opened out and developed in the glass - give it a couple of years at least.

7. 1995 Laurent Vosne Romanee Beaumonts

5th May 1998 GBP42 Burgundy Table Red

Very deep, even, purple-red.
Dense, stewed overripe fruit, creamy, spicy oak and alcohol on the nose.
Chewy and mouth-filling with sweet strawberry and raspberry fruits, quite high acidity, hard tannins and a long finish.
Very young - the wine developed over half an hour in the glass - but didn't give the impression of being a wine that needed a great deal of time.
Probably best to have another look in a couple of years! Well worth the price tag though.

8. 1994 Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape

5th May 1998 GBP18 Rhone Table Red

Deep, even, ruby colour fading to tawny - needs time.
Rich, pungent meaty/animal nose - wow!
Fleshy and mouth-filling, with multilayered flavours of mulberries, cassis, raspberries, tar and oak.
Deep, concentrated and attractive now with excellent balance - much better to hold onto it for another 5-10 years and beyond.

9. 1992 Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz

5th May 1998 GBP17 Australia Table Red

Deep, opaque purple/red.
Forward and open, with plenty of cassis, mulberries and peppery oak on the nose.
Full-bodied with plenty of oak, alcohol and flavours of chocolate, violets and mulberries. Massive but still a bit one-dimensional.
Hard to tell what is under all that fruit - needs another couple of years anyway.

10. 1995 Taylor Vargellas

5th May 1998 GBP26 Port Fortified Red

Opaque and purple.
Dense nose of integrated vanilla oak flavours, spicy black fruits and chocolate.
Very full-bodied with sweet, perfumed black fruit flavours, lots of spice and hot alcohol. Balanced, very long finish. Lovely now in a scary, over-the-top way!
Needs at least 10-15 years.

11. 1995 Vesuvio Vintage Port

5th May 1998 GBP27 Port Fortified Red

Opaque and purple.
Stewed nose with notes of raspberries, chocolate and black coffee.
Very sweet and full-bodied, with flavours of raspberries, chocolate and cream and a velvety, rounded texture.
Luxurious now but what a waste - hide it away for a decade anyway.