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Monday 22 April 2013

Muros de Melgaço Alvarinho 2011

17 / 20
Producer: Anselmo Mendes Vinhos

Very subtle bouquet, with a strong mineral side, along with some lovely flowery impressions and a drop of an herbaceous, more vegetable note. In the nose, the overall feel is one of austerity and balance.

Impressive in the mouth, feeling very soft at first but quickly building up to a full, long and persistent wine. It's fresh but the acidity is very controlled, there are some more fruit notes than in the nose, but the main drive is the mineral, wet stones side. The oak has been masterfully used here, almost not apparent in the bouquet or in the flavors but giving a great deal of complexity to the wine.

Really good Alvarinho and a great buy at under 20€.

Thursday 18 April 2013

Gnarly Head Chardonnay 2009

16 / 20
Producer: Gnarly Head
Country: USA

A californian Chardonnay showing a subtle, discreet bouquet where boiled apples and pears mingle with some honeyed notes and a subtle touch of oak.

Shows its weight on the palate, feeling unctuous but this is very well supported by a nice acidity and a orange-skin bitterness that is refreshing. It's a pleasant, not very complex white, very balanced (the 14% alcohol are not noticeable) that ends very pleasantly.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Casa Burmester Touriga Nacional 2009

16.5 / 20
Producer: Burmester

A really good example of what Touriga Nacional can offer, the bouquet here is very intense, filled with flowery, violet notes along with a strong presence of sweet raspberries. Overall, the nose exposes a very young, powerful wine.

The same impression is conveyed by the palate. Structured and mouth-fiIIing, the flavors gravitate between the same flowery impressions as in the nose joined by a more caramel, sweeter side. A very good acidity helps to keep the taste from becoming too intense. Strong powerful finish that makes the wine linger for a long time in the mouth.

I'd wait a couple more years for this one. It still needs to tame down a bit and I'm curious as to how it will evolve.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Amalaya 2010

16.5 / 20
Producer: Bodegas Amalaya

A blend of Malbec - what else? - Syrah , Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat, this argentinian red has an inviting, intense bouquet - very fruit-forward with notes of vanilla and a subtle spice background. Although it starts off very Malbec like, I think the Syrah eventually finds its way to the foreground, with some very nice notes of blackberries.

Very open, round and inviting in the palate, silky, smooth tannins leveraging the intensity of the fruit and vanilla notes. Controlled acidity, good structure and decent finish, this is a very well made wine that is ready to be enjoyed.

Specially enjoyed those blackberries both in the nose and in the palate - the Syrah / Malbec blend came along very well.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Luís Pato Vinha Formal 2008

17 / 20
Producer: Luís Pato

100% Bical and staged 9 months in oak, this older white - 5 years - is a reminder that the Bairrada is a prime terroir for whites in Portugal.

The nose expresses the wine's age, with dried fruits appearing, along with a glyceric note. But given time, some sweet white fruit also appears and gives it some grace.

In the palate, the wine is a revelation. Although you can definitely tell it's an older white - although the evolution here is very positive - it comes along as imposing. Very structured and deep, austere and precise, the heavier glyceric notes are matched by an impressive dryness. The set results in a remarkable wine that will probably take on some more cellaring.

Friday 5 April 2013

Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas 2011

17 / 20
Producer: Quinta do Soalheiro

From one of the best - to my view - Alvarinho producers in Minho (and Portugal), this wine is made from the oldest vines in their farm and is a close match to their Reserva - maybe just lacks some of the aging potential the Reserva has, but still great value for the price.

Orange blossom and a slight tropical feel in the nose, complemented by a strong mineral background and some vegetable bitterness - extremely elegant and inviting.

Nicely structured in the palate, intense and long, it shows a very good acidity, with gentle tropical notes mingled with stronger citrus and mineral notes. Finishes very long with the citrus notes to the foreground. Really good balance between structure and freshness results in a very rewarding wine.

Monday 1 April 2013

Quinta do Javali Special Reserve

15.5 / 20
Producer: Quinta do Javali

This is probably a reserve ruby, although that's not explicit from the label or the info on their site. Very fruit forward on the nose, lots of red sweet morello cherries along with some plums and raisins impressions.

Keeps the same approach in the mouth, revealing itself as a young, lightly structured wine. Pleasant enough, I just felt the spirit was a bit too harsh, the alcohol a little too much in the foreground. But this is probably the profile for their ports, as I felt the same thing with their 10-year old tawny.

For that reason, serve it lightly chilled and it be a good apetizer.

Saturday 30 March 2013

Quinta da Foz 2007

16.5 / 20
Producer: Quinta da Foz

Intense nose on this red from the Douro, showing some dried plums, a balsamic feel that hints at some evolution and distinct oak/vanilla notes. Later on, some ripe red fruits also join the bouquet.

In the palate, starts by showing a medium structure, controlled acidity with some toast/oak but it gains momentum as it breathes. Fine, velvety but very structured tannins start to emerge giving the wine a lot more structure and depth. Flavors remain focused on the balsamic, oakier side leaving the ripe red fruits more to the background.

Thursday 28 March 2013

Pedra Cancela Selecção do Enólogo 2010

16.5 / 20
Producer: Pedra Cancela

A blend from the Dão, this comes across as a modern look at a very classical blend. I don't think I'd ever tasted a wine from this producer, but I'll definitely try to check them out.

Very appealing in the nose, with a marked flowery side, mixed with some pine-tree, earthy notes and a healthy amount of wild berries underneath.

Very elegant in the palate, very well balanced with notes of buckroses to the foreground. Very lively wine, with fine but present tannins and the usual - for the Dão - fresh acidity. Ends very long and strong leaving traces of wlid berries in the tongue.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Casa da Passarella Vinhas Velhas 2008

16 / 20
Producer: Casa da Passarella

Ripe red berries on the nose, along with the usual buckroses and some notes of resin, this traditional blend from old vines in the Dão is a very elegant and worthwhile wine.

Elegant and soft in the palate, with a good, fresh acidity, reminiscent of cherries, this has a really nice structure, helped along by hard tannins, still very present but letting the fruit and flowery notes come forward and rule the taste. As it breathes, it starts becoming more intense, strenghtening the flowery side that persists all the way to the long, persistent ending.

Thursday 21 March 2013

António Saramago Reserva 2009

16.5 / 20
Producer: António Saramago

Very nice and balanced nose, with the usual jammy black fruit note associated with Castelão in Setúbal, that are seasoned here with light balsamic tones, a hint of spices and an oaky background.

Very elegant and alive in the palate, with lively tannins, fresh acidity and some really nice jammy fruit notes. It's a wine with the right intensity, just enough to show off its flavors, but never overpowering - really gastronomical.

The site says the wine is a blend of Castelão, Touruga Nacional and Alicante Bouschet, but I'd totally believe if I was told this is a 100% Castelão. The jammy blackberries that appear on both nose and mouth are a great expression of the Setúbal Castelão.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Framingham Sauvignon Blanc 2011

16.5 / 20
Producer: Framingham
Region: Marlborough
Country: New Zealand

As usual for the whites from this brand, a lovely, precise New Zealand white.

Very expressive in the nose, showing passion fruit and pineapples without excesses. Very focused, very pure fruit notes that are combined with the greener, more vegetable feel - aspargus and green grass.

The vegetable side seems to take more proeminence in the palate, giving the wine a pleasurable bitterness that goes very well with the tropical fruit background. Intense, with a very good acidity, finishes long and pleasurable.

Friday 15 March 2013

Quinta do Corujão Reserva 2008

15 / 20
Producer:Quinta do Corujão
Region: Dão
Country: Portugal

Interesting nose in this Dão blend, with cocoa and coffee notes, along with jammy blackberries and a slight vegetable/flowery scent.

Less interesting in the palate, coming along as somewhat difuse. The usual fresh acidity from the Dão is here, along with a balanced and elegant feel, but the flavors of the wine seem to be hidden, somewhere in the background.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Messias Colheita 1977

17.5 / 20
Producer: Messias
Region: Porto
Country: Portugal

The first colheita I tasted from Messias, this 1977 was bottled in 2007 and is showing very well at the moment, the spirits here already tamed and integrated into the whole wine.

Really interesting, complex nose where dried fruits mingle with some exotic woods in a sweet, honeyed background.

Smooth and layered in the palate, honey and caramel, rasins and dried plums, the spirits give it some acidity and freshness. Delicate, smooth caramel notes come up as well in a smooth, elegant and velvety body. Great, long finish. Amazing value for the price.

Monday 11 March 2013

Riesling Vogelthen 2011

16 / 20
Producer: Soellner

A dry riesling from Austria, this white shows some subtle tropical fruit notes in the nose, along with delicate mineral notes.

In the mouth, these impressions are inverted, with the mineral side of the wine coming more to the foreground, along with a marked citrus, lemony side. Feels very elegant and lively, helped by a slightly bubbly feel.