Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wines of the Week - December 8th

This week we have another of Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines, this time an Argentinian red, as well as a classy Alsace Riesling and an old favourite from the Barossa Valley.

Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec 2009

Following on from last month's article referencing the Malbec-Shiraz beauty contest, I've been keen to seek out some of Argentina's Malbecs currently on the shelves. Malbec has long been one of my favourite grapes, although its normally been hidden behind the name Cahors, the area of south-west France that makes Malbec-based reds. Catena's 2009 offering, probably won't live as long as the Cahors reds, but it still needs a little time to open up, so decant for an hour if possible. It's a rich, plummy wine with some floral and chocolate notes, offering plenty of pleasure for the price. 

Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 2004

Trimbach trace their Alsace wimemaking history back to 1626, so it's no surprise they make a decent wine or two as they approach their 400th birthday. Although seven years old now, this wine is only just starting to develop now, and will drink well for another decade or more, in fact it will probably go down OK at the 400th. Very refined and elegant, it lacks the precision of the best years, but still balances its acidity with flavours of lemon, apricot and minerality that makes every glass a pleasure.

Greenock Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 1997

Many years ago in Tokyo I hosted the Australian side in a blind-tasting wine challenge against the best of the USA. It was a fairly high budget affair, and I wasn't worried on the Shiraz front with Penfolds Grange 1998 against an overmatched Californian Syrah. However, it left little in the budget to go up against a mighty Napa Cabernet - the Shafer Hillside Select 1997. As you might have guessed, the Greenock Creek won the night - and perhaps neither wine is truly representative Cabernet, but both were beautiful wines. Nearly 10 years on, the Hillside Select is apparently getting better with age, and I'm pleased to say the Greenock Creek is still holding its own, and will for some time to come. They also make an ultra-premium Cabernet (and Shiraz) cuvee called 'Roennfeldt Road'. All wines are made in small/tiny quantities, but are definitely worth a look if you come across one.

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