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Alan Kerr’s May 1st, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes

It has been a while since I was able to make the trek back to London to taste and I was of course elated to hear upon my return that the feature of the release is Zinfandel and Primitivo. Sadly most of the Zinfandels were lame and lackluster. Perusing through the Catalonia catalog before the tasting was disappointing especially after the high caliber of Zin poured at the California wine show held recently in Toronto. High profile producers such as Ridge, Peachy Canyon, Pezzi King, Pedroncelli and Ravenswood were all pouring their best. Nonetheless there are some tasty wines and spirits to procure so do please read on.

May 1st release: The Zins and Primitivas.

This polished and sweetly concentrated wine explodes with blueberry fruit, dried fig and creamy toffee aromas. It is a big wine, a little heady, with some gentle tannins and a touch of spice. Find this wine

724674 COPPI PEUCETICO PRIMITIVO 2006 Gioia del Colle, Puglia $13.95
A super ripe nose of prune, coffee, earthy mineral notes and treacle runs to a spicy palate where black pepper is more than slightly apparent. The dried fruit is condensed and tasty, but the note of heat on the finish, from the fifteen degrees of alcohol, makes its presence known. Find this wine

023119 GLADIATOR PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA 2007, Puglia $15.95
The nose unifies black fruit gumballs, sweet cake spice, lavender, black pepper and chocolate. The palate is sweet and rich featuring black fruit, black licorice and sweet black cherry. Find this wine

The style of Picheirri’s “Tradizione del Nonno” dictates the grapes hang in a late harvest fashion to bolster both alcohol and sweetness. It works; this is a furry fuzzy wine that has aromas of chocolate peppermint candy, blackberry and a note of spicy arugula. The texture is thick and silky. It shows decent balance with concentrated fruit, good acidity and the right amount of sweetness through to the lengthy finish. Find this wine

039982 ZIG ZAG ZIN ZINFANDEL 2007 Mendocino County $18.95
A plumy wine with a touch of sweet black raspberry and ground white pepper. It has an intriguing similarity to fresh blackberry juice that rolls across the palate along with a touch of vanilla, cedar and caramel. Well priced, clean and simple A Zinfandel that should pair well with pot roast. Find this wine

054858 TRUCHARD ZINFANDEL 2007 Carneros, Napa Valley$21.95
Carneros is normally not a region one expects to find Zinfandel. Truchard’s wine comes from a 4-acre vineyard within the heart of the AVA. It has good concentration of aromas, but not those typical of Zinfandel. Instead there are notes of violets, blackcurrant, black cherry and even eucalyptus. The palate is showing pleasant flavours of blueberry, black fruit. The finish echoes the fruit, but the feel of heat and spicy pepper overpower. Find this wine

161497 LEAPING LIZARD ZINFANDEL 2008 Sonoma County$18.95
Sweet and spicy aromas of blackberry, strawberry, underbrush and salted licorice give way to a palate that is round, clean and full of sweet red fruit and a chewy toffee texture. There is some tannin, but not enough to warrant time in the cellar. Find this wine

672667 SEBASTIANI ZINFANDEL 2006 Sonoma County $19.95
The earthy mineral notes combined with rich ripe plum, cigar box and red berry fruits make this Claret styled Zin my nomination for the best of the bunch. The palate is balanced and full of juicy black and red fruit flavours, great minerality, silky chocolate and a dusty touch from gentle tannins. Find this wine

719211 CLINE ANCIENT VINES ZINFANDEL 2008 California $17.95
Given the price tag, this wine offers great value as a percentage (unknown) of the fruit is from one hundred year old vines. It abounds with thick and chewy blueberry and blackcurrant flavours on the palate, a touch of coffee and chocolate all balanced by lively acidity. Incidentally, the wine is sold at Cline’s boutique in Carneros for $18.00. Find this wine

This wine is made from vines in grown Lodi and the Sierra Foothills that have just celebrated their forty-fifth birthday. It is well made, clean and pure with notes of red fruit, cake spice, a pleasing mouth feel and blackberry cream on the finish. Find this wine

105924 EDMEADES ZINFANDEL 2007 Mendocino County $24.95
Warm and quite ripe, the nose offers black cherry, blackberry, cured meat and Kirsch. It has heat on the palate; a little too much for me I am afraid. Find this wine

942151 SEGHESIO SONOMA ZINFANDEL 2008 Sonoma County $29.95
Seghesio wines rarely disappoint. The 08 Sonoma is full of ripe mixed berries, some chalky dusty notes and a touch of mineral. The palate is fruit focused, rich and velvety with a touch of sweet chocolate and dusty tannin. Find this wine

Wines from down under

024067 DOMAIN DAY ONE SERIOUS PINOT NOIR 2005 Mt. Crawford, South Australia $22.95
Pinot that pumps out aromas of eucalyptus, black fruit and lavender is unique. On the palate it is thick and unctuous, with spicy notes of chewy black fruit, bay leaf and licorice. It is actually tasty, but blind, there is not a chance I would pick this out as Pinot Noir. Find this wine

The featured New Zealand release.

163584 CRAGGY RANGE GIMBLETT GRAVELS VINEYARD TE KAHU 2007 Hawkes Bay, North Island, Single Vineyard $29.95
Upon first pour, the intense Bordeaux like nose laden with pure blue and black fruit, dark chocolate, cedar, cigar leaf and spice box, I pegged this as a blend from Australia. The palate has great structure featuring blackcurrant, mineral, brilliant acidity and ripe chewy tannins. Well done indeed. Find this wine

699322 FRAMINGHAM PINOT NOIR 2008 Marlborough, South Island, $24.95
Rich and heady aromas of spice box, mineral, plum, brined meat and lavender. Cooked fruit abounds on the palate and blueberry debuts on the finish. Find this wine

163964 LAKE CHALICE PINOT NOIR 2008 Marlborough, South Island $19.95
A floral nose of rose petal, cherry, mineral and raspberry lead to a sweet and fleshy palate with focused acidity and dark red fruit jam on the close. Find this wine

163600 WILD ROCK GRAVEL PIT RED 2007 Hawkes Bay, North Island, Gimblett Gravels $16.95
A blend of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc that has nice earthy notes, wet stone, gravel and plenty of fruit. The silky mouth texture runs with flavours of blackcurrant, plum and blueberry with a spicy note and chocolate. The creamy fruit laden finish has that Energizer Bunny attribute that makes this wine a great value. Find this wine

160119 PARADYSKLOOF PINOT NOIR 2008 Stellenbosch, Vriesenhof Vineyards $23.95
The catalogue states “A fine candidate for your cellar that won’t make your wallet cringe”. Unfortunately it’s my palate that cringes. The nose is redolent of iodine, band aid and plum. The red fruit on the palate is quite tart and has a stewed texture to it. Not my style of wine. Find this wine

Wines from La Belle France

The layers of rich black fruit, backed up with floral notes, lavender, dried herb, tar, plum, mocha and blackberry coulis are plentiful. It is quite the mouthful with a mass of pure dark fruit, a low degree of acidity, plenty of chunky tannin and a long creamy finish. Find this wine

I truly believe Mr P’s rating of 90 points is conservative. This is a monster blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault that bombards all those in close proximity with intense aromas of black fruit, licorice, mineral, mocha and wet black soil. The palate is equal in strength and complexity. Fruit laden, tarry, slightly medicinal, it has silky tannins and finishes with all the fruits and a faint hint of treacle. Simply lovely. Find this wine

Inky and dark, a wine that is closed at the moment, but teases with a pleasing muddy earthiness, a leafy note, pepper, dark fruit and caramel. The palate is tight, but has promise. Acidity is spot on. Find this wine

A couple of summer sippers

118059 CATTAIL CREEK SERENDIPITY ROSÉ 2009 Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula $14.20
This rosé carries some appealing red fruit notes, but there is a funky moss and wet leaf note that seems out of place. Acidity balances the sweetness; the flavour profile is cherry and red berry. Find this wine

680801 PERRIN & FILS TAVEL ROSÉ 2009 $19.95
Perrin’s rose is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsaut that shows plenty of clean red fruit aromas along with slate, mineral and putty. The palate is chunky, black raspberry and strawberry flavours mix with the dusty mineral components and kept in balance by crisp acidity. Find this wine

Some surprises

If this is what Bourbon is all about then I am hooked. The aroma is simply brilliant showing candied lime, Seville orange marmalade, tobacco, creamy toffee and hickory wood chips. The palate is power packed, oily and hot, but full of sweet toasty cereal, almond and a pleasing bitter note of grapefruit zest.

988238 PISCO ABA Chile $21.95
Pisco, to a Chilean, is like Scotch to a Scotsman and my four international students from Chile are all pumped and eager for the LCBO to open on Saturday morning. I went head to head with Pisco whilst in Peru and quickly learned to respect its ferocity and power. ABA has upfront floral aromas combined with honey, sweet spice and dried tangerine. Pisco Sours are on the horizon.

140251 WARRE’S VINTAGE PORT 2007 $79.00
A powerful spice laden nose that blasts out aromas of black fruit, dried Chinese mushrooms, soy, dark bitter chocolate and pepper. The mouth feel is tight and tannic, it is years, maybe decades away from showing its best, but it has enough power and structure to be sensational. Find this wine

This casts me back to memories of my youth. I can recall coming home after the marathon walk from school, chilled to my bones on a quintessential English damp and blustery winter’s day. I would warm myself by sitting next to the open coal fire while toasting a thick slab of raison bread, then spread it generously with butter and smother it with bitter marmalade. That toasty raisin bread, the sweet butter and bitter orange is all here in this glass of brown amber nectar. It is rich, full of caramel and raisin on the palate with a warming dose of alcohol and dark butterscotch. Rich and tasty, I am going to put some away for the cooler end of the fall days. Find this wine

Related posts:

  1. Alan Kerr’s January 23rd, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes
  2. Alan Kerr’s February 6th, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes
  3. Alan Kerr’s January 9th, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes
  4. Alan Kerr’s February 20th, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes
  5. Alan Kerr’s Vintage’s December 5th, 2009 Release – Tasting Notes

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