Monday, 28 March 2016
The MW study course had recently taken a friend to California, so a theme of "The Americas" was agreed for this blind tasting, hosted by Gareth John of First Intuition.
There are around eight countries and almost 50 states that make wine in the Americas, so plenty of options apart from main-player California.
We started with a couple of fizzes - including an outlier from Italy.
M&S Prosecco elegant and fresh, everything you want in a Prosecco
Treveri Sparkling Syrah Brut (Washington state) a light, fresh, cherry-fruited, traditional-method red fizz from the Pacific North West with some yeasty, autolytic character; a very pleasant sipper, whilst watching the sun go down over the Cam.
Williamsburg Viognier 2014 (Virginia) the MW-student considered Viognier, but opted for Torrontes, citing lack of Viognier palate weight. Floral, peachy and elegant.
2010 Petit Verdot Paul Shaffer 4th Edition (Virginia) Fellow bordelais grapes Cab and Carmenere were suggested; aged aromas and mellowness really starting to show now - ripe dark fruit and spice; plump and soft.
Cafaro Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 (Napa) big, ripe, alcoholic oaky red, with aged character and plenty of substance. Red fruits and low tannins meant I got nowhere near thinking of a Cabernet.
Enamore 2013 (Mendoza) instantly-recognisable as an amarone, but nothing further; the production method dominates here. Turns out to be a blend of old-vine Malbec, Cab, Bonarda and Cab Franc from Lujan de Cujo in Argentina.
Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel, 2014 (Lodi, California) big and ripe with supple tannins and good freshness, I have no clue about this and am unsurprised to learn it is a grape and region I know almost nothing about. It stands up well to a spicy pork and chorizo stew.
Hacienda San Martin Reserve Red (Medoza) another big, ripe-and-spicy red, but again it does not feel overblown. I hazard a guess at Malbec on account of the dark fruit, spice and the fact that we have not yet had one so far.
Ridge Lytton Springs 2013 Dry Creek Valley (California) another Californian Zin; ripe prune and raisin fruit, supple texture.
Spiriterra Scuppernong 2012 (California) a distinctly quirky dessert wine to try as a curiosity; hybrid grape with typical "foxy" aromas along with alpine strawberries and wheat beer. A much more conventional palate with sweet-but-fresh tropical fruits, honey and beeswax.
Some excellent big reds here, but after all that alcohol, oak and fruit from the country that gave us Big Macs and maple syrup on everything (if something is good, then more of it must be better, right?), I was left thinking that cool-climate reds should be our next theme.
Come on in, Loire, Burgundy and Germany.
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The CWB Bordeaux-Off