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Lunch with Vega Sicilia


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Monthly lunch notes:

Served with marlin and a really tasty shrimp/mussel sauce

2002 Balthasar Ress Schloss Reichartshausen Spatlese (Rheingau) – so much waxy tropical fruit in this one that one didn’t even notice the underlying petrol elements that were the tip off that you were tasting a Riesling until you dug for them. Excellent balance

2003 Paul Pillot Chassagne Montrachet Les Caillerets Prem. Cru – tremendous contrast between these two wines, yet both went so very well with the food! The nose was floral/citrus, and it was very smooth on palate, with an oiliness that presented better than it sounds, finishing clean. Significant oak, which I didn’t find obtrusive.

With a very tasty beef and pheasant game pie:

1996 Bonny Doon Heart of Darkness Madiran – marketed by Bonny Doon and sourced from France, this luridly labelled wine had captured the worst of Madiran in the nose – smelling it made you check your shoes to see what you had stepped in. It ended short with acid and some tannin but no discernable fruit. Strange one (of course you could say that about a lot of Grahm’s wines)

1996 Chapoutier Domaine des Beates Terra d'Or (Coteaux d'Aix) – from the stinky to the excellent – I had never tasted this wine, and was impressed. It is a blend of cab and syrah from Aix en Provence, and it is the cabernet component that dominates the nose. Clean, long and smooth on palate with a hint of spiciness – the syrah contribution? A very tasty wine I wish I owned.

With a killer main course of roast pork:

1997 Montresor Santomio – from Veneto, this IGT is single vineyard barrique fermented and aged 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet that showed a pleasant slightly warm fruit (raspberry?) driven nose, and sweet fruit on palate. Pleasant and ready to drink now.

2003 Quinta das Baceladas – this Portuguese blend also features cab and merlot with a little of the native Baga grape. A single estate wine, it was made with input from Michel Roland and Francisco Antunes of Caves Alianca. Big purple wine with an open ripe sweet nose, it was also sweet on palate with some soft tannin and finished quite dry. Good wine.

1990 Vega Sicilia Unico – hands down winner of the day! Youthful wine with not much age showing in the colour and a sweet cassis nose with a hint of exotic coconut. Elegant and sweet on palate, the wine just kept developing in the glass, particularly in the nose where it added significant complexity and depth over time. One tasted likened it to a 1983 Pichon Lalande, which is an apt comparison. This wine will develop for many years. A treat! Thanks, J.

With cheese:

2002 De Toren Fusion V – this Cape Bordeaux blend has always impressed me. Named for the cab, merlot, Malbec, cab franc and petit verdot that make up the blend, and given a year in mixed French and American oak, it is predictably Bordeaux in style, showing a big sweet slightly ripe nose, ripe tannins and good fruit. I was just glad it wasn’t my wine as I would not have wanted to try to follow a Unico……

1996 Rosemount Mountain Blue – this is one not everyone was familiar with – a 90% shiraz 10% cabernet blend that is one of the three flagship wines of this producer (Roxburgh chard and Balmoral shiraz are the others). Dark wine with good sweet fruit nose, slightly hot, tannins soft with decent length, now drinking well.

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