Category Archives: Tasting

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Tasting Lar de Paula 2010

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This Lar de Paula 2010 is a fantastic DOC Rioja, 100% Tempranillo, very clear ruby colour, with a clean medium nose, aromas of fruits, spices and liquorice. On the palate the medium acidity balances well with the rounded tannins, with a medium to full body. Quite jammy red berries and fruity, cherries, and a bit of tobacco as well. Medium to long length, making this wine a very good one, with a potential to keep for 3 to 4 more years yet.

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Tasting IWS Single Cask Single Pot Still 17yo

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The Whiskey:
Back in April, Irish Distillers Ltd. invited the Irish Whiskey Society (IWS) to a trip around the Fox and Geese Bottling facility and followed this up an evening in the Old Jameson Distillery in Bow Street, Dublin. There they were given the opportunity to sample 3 different casks, 2 aged for 15 years and one aged for 17 years…. those present then voted to select their favourite and by a margin of 2 to 1, Cask number 1038 was deemed the winner, the 17 year old cask.

This cask was then purchased by the IWS and was offered exclusively to their members as the first exclusive bottling from the Irish Whiskey Society. The whiskey was bottled at Cask Strength so it will be supplied at 55.2%. This is extremely limited in supply (204 bottles only) and is no doubt one to savour over a long period of time and offer only a small sample to the closest of friends!

On the eye:
Very clear, nice golden colour.

On the nose:
It’s clean and pronounced, with aromas of caramel, banana, ripe black fruit, vanilla and coconut milk.

On the mouth:
An explosion of flavours: floral, fruity, creamy. Long finishing, with a hint of spices and herbs. The water softened the alcohol on the nose and the spicy of the palate.. Outstanding!

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Tasting Monterucco Riesling 08

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The Wine:
Produced by Monterucco, this 2008 wine is made from Riesling Italico, a high-yielding grape in northeast Italy. In most cases, it produces fairly bland wines. At its best, it delivers light wines with pronounced flowery aromas. It’s produced in the DOC Oltrepò Pavese, It has 12,5% alcohol.

In the eye:
Nice goldish-yellowish color, quite different from the regular Rieslings.

On the nose:
Pineapple pops-up almost immediately, followed by compote, honey, floral, and something veggie – lovely!

On the mouth:
Low tannins and less acidity then it should be, but the pineapples and the green apples are all there! It got a bit sour in the end, but even though it just highlighted a subtle honeyed after taste.

I found this an interesting wine, with such complexity on the nose and mouth. Very good, if not outstanding when considering the QPR. EM90/100!

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Tasting Cantina Parroco Dolcetto d’Alba 2011

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Azienda San Michele

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The wine:
Cantina San Michele is a winery farm founded in 1973 by the archpriest Don Giuseppe Cogno, Pastor de Nieve, along with three other producers from Nieve, in the heart of Barbaresco area, one of the greatest Italian red wines. The vineyards occupy six acres at one of the best “cru” areas of the commune. This 100% Dolcetto from D.O.C. Dolcetto d’Alba can be consumed now or kept till 2014.

In the eye:
A clear, dense, deep, very lively and inviting ruby.

On the nose:
Intense aromas, with predominat fruits (red and black berries), flowers (violet, rose) and toffee.

On the mouth:
A pleasant taste, very enjoyable, quite warm and moderate tannins with good freshness

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Tasting Quinta do Carmo 2008

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Occasionally it is only known that a good wine was drunk when you drink another else…

The wine:
Quinta do Carmo 2008, from vines planted in clay and shale soil, selected from traditional Alentejo varieties – Aragonese, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet – and a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon to give it more structure.

In the eye:
Deep and clear ruby-garnet, showing that it wasn’t just brought from the vineyards to the bottle.

On the nose:
Delicate notes of black fruit, chocolate and a bit of toast.

In the mouth:
It has enviable delicacy and lightness itself, with balanced tannins and acidity without excessive plus a intense black fruit with chocolate and tobacco.

No hype and no pretenses. A good wine, with its own profile, to be consumed with specific moderate spiced food. It doesn’t disappoint, and fulfills well its role.

Tasting Millésime Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

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Here in Brazil, I’ve been drinking the Aurora Reserve edition – Cabernet Sauvignon and Tanat. They’ve shown to be a very good wine, even better when you consider the price range: R$25 (€9.50).

I did try the “Pequeanas Partilhas” but it didn’t impress me, so I didn’t bother even mentioning it. Now I tasted the special edition Millésime, a top-line from Aurora winery. They made this wine from 5 harvest only – 1991, 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2008. This particular vintage has been aging for 10 months in American and French barrels.

This is an Aurora’s Millésime Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, produced in Serra Gaúcha, Brazil. It’s priced at R$54 (€20). The tasting took place in my parent’s house, on 16/11/2012.

It’s a clear, deep garnet colour, with a orange-ish halo in the borders.

It’s a clean smell, with pronounced intensity and notes of ripped fruits, blackberries, blackcurrant, coconut, oak and cedar.

Dry with a medium to high acidity, and elegant tannins. Medium to full body, with medium to long lenght. Jammy fruits, blackcurrant, oak and vegetables (green bell pepper) on the palate.

Still a good wine, showing more herbaceous and vegetables notes than fruits, but a nice fruitty nose. 89/100.

Tasting Elos 2007

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Once I’m in Brazil, I felt almost obliged to taste something national.

I always had in mind that Brazilian wines are not good, mainly because of the value rather than the quality. Now is time to check.

I got into a nice wine shop, in a beautiful shopping center. The attender, very friendly and helpful, seemed desperate to help me – what I allowed. I told him I’d like to prove a good brazilian wine! As any other salesman, he brought me the top line ones, which I politely declined. I was looking for something honest, as honest are the Argentine and Chilean wines in the 40 to 50 reais range (15 to 20 euros). He suggested me with a Elos 2007, Lidio Carraro, which tasted in my parents’ house in São Caetano do Sul, SP, Brazil.

The Wine:
Elos 2007, produced by Lidio Carraro in Terras de Encruzilhada do Sul, Bento Gonçalves, Brazil. It has 13% of alcohol and is made from the Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, without stating the percentage. It cost me R$65 (€ 25).

On the eye:
The color was not very clear. Suggested to be a deep yellow-brown, but actually was a little hazy, almost bricky.

On the nose:
The aroma was somewhat unclear, without much definition. Medium intensity, with subtle notes of blackberry, raspberry and a bit of cooked red fruit jam.

On the mouth:
Dry, medium acidity, medium body and low tannins. Little fruit on the palate (blackberries, jammy) and vegetables (cabbage, asparagus).

Could be a good wine, on the boundary of the medium, but considering the price, I rate it average, verging the border of a good one. Acceptable. (EM-78/100)

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Tasting Scottish Highland Whiskies

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These whiskies were tasted during an Irish Whiskey Society meeting, where different whiskies and whiskeys are tasted every month.

Scotland is devided in 5 whisky regions: Highlands, Lowland, Islay, Speyside, and recently the re-instated Campbeltown. This month’s taste covered some Scottish Highland distilleries.

Here is my notes, taken during the tasting, on 25/10/12:

10yo – 40% – 40€

Malted barley and cereal in the nose.
A touch of fruit peels and raisins.
There is oaken sweetness and richness
in the palate, with a slightly menthol note,
and a medium-length finish.

14yo – 43% – 59€

Sweet potatoes and malted barley on
the nose, with some aniseed hints.
On the palate there’s vanilla and
faintly sherries. Mineral texture, if not
creamy, with a nicely long finishing.
The water didn’t add much on it.

12yo – 40% – 42€

On the nose, a saline sensation
after the fruitness. Easy drinking
sweet’n’dry on the palate. A pleasant finishing,
leaving a subtle honeyed aroma and neutral oak barrel.
Not a complex dram, though.

15yo – 43% – 45€
Light gold coloured,
and sweet malt on the nose,
with honey and hints of wood.
Medium body, honey
and salty palate, with hints of vanilla,
butter and smoke. Hint of salt and honey
with a decent finishing.

14yo – 46% – 46€

Light brown-deep yellow colour,
salty, spicy and fruity on the nose,
lingering prune and sweet dried fruit.
Sweet, citrus and silky splendid long finishing.

Old Pulteney
17yo – 46%

Fresh on the nose with fruits and dried fruits
with some salted hints. Sweet on the palate,
with some citrus peels and liquorice. Notes of
malted barley and cereal sweetness.
Long finish brings menthol and silky oak.

Glenglassaugh Revival
6yo – 46% – 48€

This one was my favourite! Aged on Oloroso barrels,
it’s sweet with notes of honey and barley malt on the nose.
Ripe plums, raisins and orange peel on the palate,
with walnuts, spices, sherry and caramel.
A rounded and creamy finishing.

Tasting Girlan St. Magdalener 2010

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This is another wine I brought from Italy to some friends, and I’m posting my impressions even before they’ve tried the wine! Sorry guys, but I couldn’t wait to try this one: after so many unexpected events they eventually arrived!

This wine is made from Schiava grapes, a reference in South Tyrol viticulture, and it charms by its freshness and bright ruby red colour. It’s lightly tannic, low in acidity and slightly alcoholic – 12,5%. With delicacy, comes aromas of red berries on the nose, intense strawberries, and a hint of cherry, gooseberry and floral, and a discreet persistence. It goes divinely with cold meats and smooth cheeses.

Aged in barrels of cement, it’s ideal for the end of summer / beginning of autumn season. Made to be consumed fresh, could be served between 14ºC and 16ºC.

So if you are not feeling like Summer anymore – definitely not here in Ireland! – you can keep it until next year, but it would pleasure you equally if you drink it now!

Tasting CR&F Aguardente Velha Reserva

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Another one from my trip to Portugal. Almost impossible, on holidays, don’t give yourself some treating! After those marvellous diners, divine wines and lovely desserts, the only things you need is a good expresso and a taste of a digestif! As I like to go beyond the standards, I surprisingly found this CR&F in a little restaurant in Lagoa. After having one at that night, I had to buy a bottle and do a proper tasting…

This Reserva brandy is made by Carvalho, Ribeiro & Ferreira (CR&F), in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, the same place were Porto wines are produced. The first thing that comes to your attention is the bottle, a unique design and semi-handmade production which gives its own distinctive identity.

Very clear ob the appearance and showing a beautiful medium-amber colour, after allowing the alcohol aerate a little bit, the clean aromas of nuts, almonds, nectarines are quite pronounced. In the palate it reiterates the nuts, opening to hazelnuts and a medicine-like taste which could recall liquorice and juniper, in a very dry sensation, medium body and length.

A very good brandy aged for years in national oak barrels, it has soft flavours and rich and complex aromas. A well balanced and potent brandy!


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