Category Archives: Tasting

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Red German Wines

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I’ve recently been to Berlin for the wedding of a great friend. As I always do when visiting wine-producer countries, I explore their wines, and although it was a short trip exclusively for the wedding, I managed to try some wines…

We were lucky to have a nice Sekt at the wedding, instead of the usual Prosecco for the bubbly drink. German Sekt has suffered some bad press for being cheap and lacking in quality, considered by many to be nothing more than carbonated fruit juice, which is not fair at all! Most Sekt uses the Charmat method for secondary fermentation, similar to Prosecco, and are usually sweeter and lower in alcohol than other sparkling wines. Sekt can contain aromas of apples, pears and white flowers, and when purchased correctly, can be a real treat!

Still in the wedding we got a lovely trocken (dry) Riesling – lots of fine wineries are producing more dry Riesling recently – but surprisingly the red was French. I asked why to the bartender, and she answered that German red wines were not good! Another unfair statement for German wines…

Germany’s red wines may not get the same reputation as their famous white wines, but they are really good! Food-friendly, fresh, and lively as their dazzling white wine counterparts, German red wine expectations should be set towards more delicate wine, lighter in body, high in acidity, and usually very aromatic.

The most widely planted red grape variety in Germany is Spätburgunder (literally “late Burgundian”), better known as Pinot Noir in the rest of the world, and it is considered to give the most elegant red wines of Germany. Other reds are Dornfelder and Trollinger.

As I couldn’t get a genuine German red at the wedding, I got a nice Dornfelder at the airport on my way back. A dark-skinned grape variety, Dornfelder is the second most grown red wine grape variety in Germany. It was initially bred (cross from Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe grapes) in 1955, to serve as a blending wine to improve the colour of pale reds. It only received varietal protection in 1979, and was then released for cultivation. Today it is prized on its own as a fragrant, full-bodied, complex wine with a fairly tannic acidity, and when fermented or aged in oak, it might fetch high prices.


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Australian Day Wine Tasting in Dublin

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I was in the Australian Day Tasting Dublin (#ADTWine) this week (thank you Jean Smullen for the invitation) and it was fantastic! Great atmosphere, nice people, good wines… what else would you want?

Just because I was a bit in a hurry doesn’t mean I didn’t taste everything! Well, I missed one or 2 tables, I confess, but I got into the spirit! I started from producers looking for distributors – even some of them already sell in UK – then the producers already represented in Ireland, and I found some nice gems!

Ochota Barrels "The Fugazi Vineyard"

Ochota Barrels “The Fugazi Vineyard” McLaren Vale Grenache 2015: light cherry, with notes of fresh berries, sweet spices and something floral in the back. Long finishing and firm tannins.

Kangarilla Road “Terzetto” McLaren Vale Sangiovese Primitivo Nebbiolo 2013: Red berries, sweet spices, full-bodied. Good value for €18.

Luke Lambert Yarra Valley Nebbiolo 2015: Fresh and aromatic, red cherries, plums and spices with subtle citric and herbal. A real fine wine, exploring the beauty of Nebbiolo!

Grosset “Gaia” Clare Valley Blend 2013: Light purple, blackcurrant, plums, woody. Velvety, silky, long finishing. Lovely blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc!

That’s all for now…I might post other notes later.


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Barbazul 2010

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Made from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the outstanding Tintilla de Rota, a recovered local variety, this wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and rests in French oak barrels for 5 months.

Very bright and deep cherry colour with purple reflections and an explosion of aromas, black berries, jammy fruit, spicy, with a creamy touch, chocolate, toffee, liquorice and some toasted aromas. Subtle herbal and mineral aromas. Very tasty in the palate with  notes of fruit and creamy feeling with nice balsamic and toasted aromas in the background. Good and long finish, very pleasant and tasty.


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Finca Labarca Reserva 2006, DOCa Rioja

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Appearance: Clear medium garnet.

Nose: Clean, pronounced aromas of red baked fruits, spices (nutmeg, cloves), vanilla, cream, butter and oak.

Palate: Dry, medium acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol, full body, pronounced flavours of cooked fruits and sweet spices. Long finish.

Conclusion: A classic Rioja Reserva: full body, creamy and buttery, and a subtle oak after taste. Supervalu special for €12 (from €15,99, they say).


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Sartori Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2012

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Appearance: Clear medium ruby.

Nose: Clean, medium pronounced aromas of cooked fruits, jamminess.

Palate: Dry, medium+ acidity, -medium tannins, medium+ alcohol, medium body, medium intensity, flavours of cooked fruits and spices. Medium+ finish.

Conclusion: For me Ripasso wines are made to please, you can’t go wrong with it. This is no exception: well balanced and very structured, is a fantastic wine for many occasions, ready to drink. For the “locals”, Supervalue offers it for 12€ this week, reduced from 19.99€, they say.


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La Châsse, Blason D’Or 2012, AOP Costières de Nîmes

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Appearance: Clear pale ruby.

Nose: Clean and youthful, with pronounced aromas of fresh red fruits (red cherry, strawberry) and a sweet spice hint (liquorice).

Palate: Dry wine with low acidity and low to medium tannins. Medium alcohol sensation (despite its average 13%), medium to light body, with flavours of red fruits aromas found on the nose, plus subtle spices and herbal notes. Medium finish.

Conclusion: Soft tannins and medium alcohol with lots of fruit aromas make this wine an easy drinking one, ready to drink. For those in Ireland, Supervalu is offering this wine for 9€ (reduced from 18€, they say).


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Tasting Cap Negre 2009

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This red crianza from Roussillon is made from Carignan (or Samsò), Grenache (or Garnatxa) and Syrah. Roussillon is located in the French region also known as French Catalonia, where most of the population also speaks Catalan.Cap Negre has a vivid cherry colour with purple trim. Its aromas of ripe fruit, mainly strawberries and blackberries, with notes of menthol, fine spices and a subtle dairy, very intense and well balanced. On the palate it has fruitiness, herbs and smoked notes, with a good and persistent length.It was aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, which can be noticed on the aromas and the flavours.

Food recommendations are soft meat, spaghetti carbonara, and cheeses.


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The day after: Viña Arnáiz Roble, DO Ribera Del Duero

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2b0de98adb5c11e2b9fd22000a9f4dd4_7I love to host people at home, it’s such a pleasure! Last night we had a friends couple for bruschettas – or something like that! Basically tapas & wine. Who needs more? To match the bruschettas – chopped tomatoes, buffalo’s mozzarella, olive oil, black pepper, and bread – I opened one of the my recent discoveries, Viña Arnáiz Roble 2011, DO Ribera Del Duero. A young crianza red wine made from Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes.
A careful treatment is given to strains along the year, from setting the date of the harvest when the grapes have reached optimum maturity in each plot, till proceeds to hand picking the grapes, where plots are manually selected, which of those grapes will be part of the blend of the wine.Once the grapes get at the winery, they are are ground and pass the maceration tank till they achieve the desired balance in the composition of the wine. They then proceed to racking it by gravity without mechanical actuation and  the wine obtained after a first racking, is the malolactic fermentation.This Viña Arnáiz matures in French oak barrels for 4 months, during which is performed three racking to help oxygenate the wine.They recommend to open this Ribera Del Duero Roble at least one hour before drinking it, and to pour it in a decanter – if you can – to better appreciate all its virtues… And so I did. Opened it a good hour before serving, poured it into a decanter and… voilá! The wine was fantastic… BUT, I have to confess, ashamedly, that we didn’t finish the second bottle, and I had to pour it back to the bottle and left it on the refrigerator till the next day.Lunch time – gnocchi à bolognesa. What to drink? The left-over Viña Arnáiz Roble. And guess what? The wine was even better! All the subtle aromas were more accentuated, the velvet sensation from the malolatic, the freshness from the maceration, the red & black fruits, and even a mocha finish!

This is, among others, one of my The Day After Wine”.


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Tasting Paolo Rodaro Friulano 2011

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http://www.rodaropaolo.it

I opened a bottle of Paolo Rodaro Friulano 2011 last night for refreshment, but I have to confess I was not much impressed… we took it with some chilli cheddar cheese – maybe this was the problem – and apart from the freshness, nothing else came to my attention which would worth blogging…

The day after, putting some left-overs together for a quick brunch, we decided to try it again, with a lovely & improvised stir fry king prawns… and I have to tell you, the wine was almost like another one! Lovely fruity aromas came instantly as I poured it into the glass, mainly apricots and peaches. Then the palate the fruits again, with some spices (white peppers, sweet spices) and hints of minerality as well.

Undoubtedly, this Paolo Rodaro Friulano 2011 is my “the day after” wine!


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Brumont Merlot Tannat 2011

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Brumont Merlot-Tannat, 2011

This 50% Tannat, 50% Merlot from “Mr. Madiran”, Alain Brumont has a pale purple colour, with lovely notes of red fruits on the nose, notably strawberries, raspberries and red cherries. Some hints of minerality can appear on the nose, but couldn’t get any on the mouth. It’s a wine still developing despite of the low tannins but I’d not keep for much longer.

It has a good acidity, and the 14.5% of alcohol don’t attacks the throat. A medium finish length, medium bodied, it reaffirms the nose’s aromas in the palate.

I’d drink it now but would like to visit it again in 2 years time.


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