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On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Wakefield Wines Celsius Experiment

03 Apr 2020

(March 2020) ... I sat in on a tasting experiment with Justin Taylor of Wakefield Wines (Australia). The event was called “Celsius” and, as you can probably guess from the title, it had something to do with temperature.
 
Wakefield decided to create a program to talk about the proper temperature wine should be served at - by so doing they also had to prove that they were right. The only way to do so was by serving their own wine at an “off temperature”, and I don't care who you are, or how confident you feel, to purposefully “ruin” your own product takes a lot of guts.

“While we think everyone should enjoy wine however they like it, serving a wine at the optimum temperature unlocks a new level of appreciation for the nuances in aroma and flavour,” says Justin. “Winemakers putJustin Taylor - Wakefield a great deal of work into crafting and balancing the flavours of a wine, from when they pick the fruit through to the type of oak they use ... Serving a wine at the optimum temperature can help wine lovers fully realise these flavours right in the glass.”

I have long been a proponent that ‘reds can go into the fridge; if you prefer fresher, fruitier reds it is the easiest thing to do. White wines truly are a preference as to their serving temperature, but it is worth a few minutes of your time to try wines at a variety of temperatures.  

Wakefield WhiteAnd according to Justin variety matters: “Varietal is very important to the correct serving temperature. What it comes down to is the weight and body of a wine. Lighter whites, like Clare Valley Riesling or Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris, can be served much colder, at around 6°C, than a Chardonnay which we recommend being served at 12°C. The two are very different in weight and as such, should be served at different temperatures. For the reds, it’s a similar scenario. Pinot Noir, which is typically light and aromatic, should be served around 12°C, whereas our Wakefield Estate Shiraz and Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is best enjoyed around 16°C.”

While it took an Australian ruining his wine to prove something to me I already practiced, preached and suspected it was nice to be reminded ... and proven right; and I like to be right, just ask my wife.

The verdict on the Wakefield wines tasted …

Wakefield 2018 Chardonnay ($16.95 – LCBO #711556)Wakefield Red
Subtle butterscotch with good acid backing (rare in an Australian Chardonnay) – plenty of nice fruit with apple, pear and simple peach notes.  (*** ½+)
From my personal point of view, I liked mine chilled; the “proper” way is supposed to be warmer – but I like to see/feel fruit more than I like oak – this is one you ought to try at home and share your opinion [also check out the Two Guys debating the issue on the podcast].

Wakefield 2018 Shiraz ($18.95 - #943787)
Mainly American oak used in the making of this wine so there is lots of vanilla, dark fruit, dark berries and good spice; the tannins are non-aggressive and show finesse and elegance, not just power and alcohol.  (****)
This one definitely benefitted from its slight chill, the fruit absolutely pops and makes for a more enjoyable wine.

Wakefield 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 - #744235)
Aged in 100% French oak and loaded with dark fruit, cedar, cinnamon and powerful tannins … this is the wine that made Wakefield famous – store this one a few years or decant upon opening.  (*** ½)
I could see the benefits of a chill with the Cab, but the wine was not showing its best in either glass on this day – and for the signature wine of Wakefield I expect better (and I have had better – so I give them a pass on this wine).

 

Report from : Vino Nobile Anteprima 2020

02 Apr 2020

(February 20, 2020) ... MONTEPULCIANO – Throughout the Anteprima season in Italy I continue to use my usual rules of not scoring unfinished wines (aka: barrel / tank samples), but this year none of the Vino Nobile fit that bill, so I have a whole lot of scored and finished wines to tell you about. 73 wines were tasted in total, ranging from the current vintage (2017) to some Selezione and Riservas from 2015 (nothing older – because after 2015 is there really another vintage worth talking about?)

But first a word about the vintage … 2017 seems to have had a lot of problems, but nothing was insurmountable. A late spring frost took about 1/3 the crop so there was some natural selection in the vineyard – only the strong survive. The crop that did survive produced some good to very good results. If 2016 is describe as “excellent” then 2017 is one that is “good with difficulties”; there are fewer outstanding wines, as compared to 2016 (where 21 wines made the cut – whereas only 14 wines made it this year) but the ones that did are good and winemakers and producers worked hard at making them so – so in 2017 the good ones really do shine through … let’s get to the wines.

Below are the scored wines for current vintage of Vino Nobile.

Scored (Finished) Wines …

Nobile 2020 Antico Colle 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano ... (*** ½)
Cantina Chiacchiera 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½)
De’ Ricci 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½+)
Dei 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½+)
Fattoria della Talosa 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Alboreto” … (*** ½+)
Gattavecchi 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½)
La Ciarliana 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½+)
La Combarbia 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½+)
Metinella 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Burberosso” … (*** ½)
Podere Casanova 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½)
Tenuta di Gracciano della Seta 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½)
Tenuta Valdipiatta 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½)
Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½)
Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Redi” … (*** ½)


Vineyard Selection and Reserve Wines …

Bindella 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva “Vallocaia” … (*** ½)Nobile Glass
Bindella 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Selezione “I Quadri” … (*** ½)
Carpineto 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva … (*** ½+)
Fassati 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva “Salarco” … (*** ½)
Icario 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva “Vitaroccia” … (*** ½)
Le Berne 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva … (*** ½)
Le Bertille 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva … (*** ½)
Lunadoro 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Selezione “Pagliareto” … (*** ½+)
Tenuta Trerosa 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva “Simposio” … (*** ½+)


"Older Vintages" ...

As part of the tasting there were a number of "Annate Precedenti” (past vintages) I usually take this opportunity to discuss these cellar dwellers and find out how they are holding up; but this year it seems a large proportion of these wines were from the 2016/2015 vintage (hardly what I would call "old") - they are pretty much still young enough to drink or hold; I decided to score these as well as most likely they are still available in some markets (or even in some cellars – to show the strength of the 2015 and 2016 vintage; of the 24 wines tasted 14 of them got scored, in comparison 14 of the 28 current vintage wines received a score – there was also a 2013 wine that got tasted and scored in these old vintages (showing that someone was brave enough to put another something other than the beauty of ’15 & ’16 on the table – so kudos to them).

Az. Agr. Tiberini 2013 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva “Vigneto Fossatone” … (*** ½+)
Az. Agr. Tiberini 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Podere Le Caggiole” … (*** ½)
Cantina del Giusto 2015 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “San Claudio II” … (*** ½+)
Cantina del Giusto 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “San Claudio II” … (*** ½)
Nobile LogoContucci 2015 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva … (*** ½)
Dei 2015 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva “Bossona” … (*** ½)
Fassati 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Selezione “Gersemi” … (*** ½+)
Fattoria della Talosa 2015 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva … (*** ½+)
Godiolo 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (****)
Il Macchione 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½+)
La Ciarliana 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (****)
Manvi 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Arya” … (*** ½+)
Metinella 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Selezione “142-4” … (*** ½)
Montemercurio 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Messaggero” … (*** ½+)
Villa S. Anna 2016 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano … (*** ½+)

 

 

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