Saturday wine-tasting is usually not something I agree to....Sunday I play soccer...and at my age I need all the help (good night's sleep) I can get. Our local wine merchant and friend, Robert, wanted to try some whites...and as the time was 6pm...I gladly agreed. The clocks were put forward in the night...but the end to this intro is...I slept well...and felt as fit as ever on the Sunday morning soccer pitch.
The tasting was to take place at friend Volker's house...and he had been underway very early to buy fresh fish. Trout Tartar...followed by Tuna Carpaccio...a bouncy mixed salad...and some delightful fresh shrimps on a lentil bed. All beautifully prepared...and a fine selection of cheeses (and tasty salted butter) meant the food was as good at ever at Chez Volker.
The flight of whites...3 covered bottles
Paso Robles Barrel 27 Wine Company
High On The Hog Paso Robles 2008
A cuvée of 39% Grenache Blanc, 36% Viognier, 20% Rousanne & 5% Marsanne...so the style obviously showed what you get in the Languedoc. Vanilla and some peach on the nose...on the palate this had some sweetness which detered from the pleasure slighly...BUT...with the tartar was very good...and methinks this needs a good airing...or even a decant at the moment.
Patrizia Fellugi & Figli
Zuani Vigne Bianco Collio 2008
Patrizia, daughter of Marco, produces two versions of Zuani...this is the unoaked one...
I traced some Sauvignon Blanc at it opened in the glass...the actually mix is Tocai Friulano, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Grigio...good mineral notes...gentle pear & apricots...good.
Patrizia Fellugi & Figli
Zuani Zuani 2007
This is the oaked version...a year older...hay, flowers, some citrus and more dominat gooseberry.
With white wine tastings...I feel the wines don't get a fair marking sometimes...maybe other tasters find it easier...but I am sure the above three would have faired better drank alone...
The evening had started with Robert saying...'after the whites we have some Pinots'...and a vision of me lying on the soccer pitch like a drowned whale passed before my eyes! But hey...I am known as Mr. Pinot around here...and was not about to refuse.
The information was...
in other words...no hope of guessing anything 100%...but that was fine by me...no pressure in advance.
Hansruedi Adank Pinot Noir 2008
Fläsch, Graubünden, Switzerland
Pale colour...and this reminded me of something tasted recently...only after it was revealed did I pin-point the up-front dark berry style that can be found in Switzerland. This is a basic wine...costs around € 15,--...dark smoke...juicy...fruit-driven...with hardly any oak. It would be interesting to step up in quality to see what Hansruedi has to offer. Fläsch is the home of the Swiss Pinot God..Gantenbein.
Antica Terra Pinot Noir 2007
Willamette Valley, Oregon, U.S.A.
I have to admit...Pinot makes you honest...and after we had tried all 4 wines...I went back again and again..to steal from the decanter. I just had to...this was so perfect from start to finish. Has the be French I said...how wrong I was. Perfect bright aromas of strawberry and raspberry...maybe the decanting helped...but this smelled older...and the dustiness said to me French...as I said...how wrong I was. Fragrant...with lovely layers of gamey fruit...a delicious bouncy acidity..and some oaky smoky oak. A very good finish.
As an afternote...Maggie Harrison used to work for the cult property Sine Qua Non...
Every year, the Antica Terra Pinot Noir is different. Antica Terra wines are blends of estate and purchased fruit, and the mixes change each year. The palette of purchased fruit changes - Maggie buys fruit from a handful of sources. And the quality of the estate fruit varies with each vintage. Check this out...impressive.
Jean Javillier & Fils Volnay-Caillerets 2005
Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Robert had searched for a French Pinot ( a German would have been a good choice as an afterthought). Chewy fruit...gentle smoke...a touch short on fruit...and suffered from being placed after the Antica Terra.
Sine Qua Non A Capella Pinot Noir 2000
This had been brought along by a fellow taster. As I mentioned...Sine Qua Non is the cult wine...and baby of Manfred Krankl. Crazy bottle shape...and a hefty 14.3% on the bottle. Medium deep colour....a slight mustiness...muted...needed air...peppery aroma...mushrooms...tobacco and very herby. This is maybe just past it's best...there were traces of what had been...but the mid-palate was lean. It is an 'interesting' wine...just not sexy enough though. I am still waiting to be 'seduced' by this property!