Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

September 30th MWG tasting: report

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Most of the wines in this tasting came from the September 30th Cellier release, though not the first flight (the release was whiteless) and not the Pauillac. Prices are in Canadian dollars and include 13% sales tax.


Grüner Veltliner 2009, Kamptal, Domæne Gobelsburg ($15.30, 10790317)
Chalk, sand and white grapefruit peel with whiffs of white pepper. Clean and bright. Zesty, even tingly attack. Good balance between acidity and substance. Fast-fade finish. (Buy again? Yes.)

Grüner Veltliner 2009, Terrassen, Federspiel, Domäne Wachau ($19.50, 10769420)
Lemon peel (a bit candied), wet quartz and a not unpleasant hint of soap or vinyl. Richer than the Gobelsburg and, initially, a bit flatter. Gained dimension as it breathed. Long, with an acid bite on the finish. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Grüner Veltliner 2009, Kamptaler Terrassen, Bründlmayer ($21.25, 10707069)
Still rounder and smoother. The acidity is there but more like a slow-moving underground river than a gurgling surface stream. Rainwatery at first but becoming white-fruity and layered over the course of an hour. Long. (Buy again? Sure.)

Grüner Veltliner 1999, Schenkenbichl, Jurtschitsch ($38 in 2002)
Richer looking: golden (in contrast to the other wines’ silver) and oilier. Complex nose dominated by honey, quince, mineral and subtle white pepper aromas. Off-dry and unctuous but enlivened by acidity. Initially shallow-seeming – I wondered whether it wasn’t a little over the hill – but gaining presence, amplitude and depth through the end of the tasting (nearly three hours). Very long. While Jancis Robinson notes that, with time in the bottle, GV “can start to taste positively Burgundian,” in this case I’d say the French analogue is more a late-harvest Pinot Gris or a sec-tendre Chenin Blanc. Not everyone was a fan but I found it  gorgeous. (Buy again? Wish I could.)


Morgon 2009, La Voûte Saint-Vincent, Louis-Claude Desvignes ($19.45, 11299415)
Red berries, vine sap, spice and hints of alcohol and, quoting another taster, “night soil.” Noticeable tannins, bright acid, lots of stuffing, somewhat muted fruit. A little introverted and disjointed though improving with time in the glass. (Buy again? Maybe a bottle or two to revisit in a couple of years.)

Moulin-à-Vent 2009, Domaine des Vignes du Tremblay, Paul Janin et Fils ($19.90, 11305141)
Red berries and vine sap, a little footy. Smoother, rounder, suaver than the Morgon but with a similar concentration and richness. Inky finish. Shut down as it breathed. (Buy again? Sure – a bottle or two to revisit in a couple of years.)

Chénas 2009, Vieilles vignes, Hubert Lapierre ($19.90, 11299239)
Appealing nose of red fruit, graphite and dried wood. Rich and balanced, structured with fruit-cloaked tannins. Kirschy finish. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Côte-de-Brouilly 2009, Cuvée Les Griottes, Château Thivin ($21, 11305088)
The least expressive nose of the bunch: cherry, spice and funk. Rich and fruity on the palate. Silkier, brighter and somehow purer than the others but also less tannic and deep. Good length. Probably not an ager. (Buy again? Sure.)


Buzet 2006, La Tuque de Gueyze, Les Vignerons de Buzet ($16.80, 11305563)
Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Dusty cassis, green pepper and a whiff of alcohol. Cedary and plummy on the palate, fluid and balanced but lacking depth – a bit one-dimensional in fact. Still, not bad for a sub-$17 Bordeaux clone. (Buy again? Probably not, when $3-5 more can get you a genuinely appealing Bordeaux blend.)

Don Reca 2007, Valle del Cachapoal, Viña La Rosa ($21.75, 11305619)
Merlot (52%), Cabernet Sauvignon (25%), Syrah (18%) and Carmenère (5%). Screaming green pepper along with green tobacco, earth and ink. Big, tannic, coarse. Green pepper and cassis flavours dominate with rubber droning in the background. Sawdusty finish. Unevolving even after vigorous aeration. How could anyone (looking at you, Wine Advocate) award this clunker 90+ points? (Buy again? Nope.)

Lagone 2007, IGT Toscana, Aia Vecchia ($20.45, 11305635)
Merlot (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (35%) and Cabernet Franc (5%). Cassis syrup and sandalwood. Suaver than the Don Reca though initially quite tannic and a little disjointed. Smoothed out with exposure to air, showing good balance and length. Well made and true to type but also anonymous, with little sense of place. (Buy again? If looking for a $20 internationalized Bordeaux blend, maybe.)

Finca Libertad 2006, Mendoza, Bodega Benegas ($24.95, 11305934)
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Spent 18 months in new French oak casks. Smokey, peppery, meaty nose: grilled sausage, pimentón, raw beef with hints of cassis and mint. Mouth-filling but not heavy, fruit-forward but not fatiguing. Tannins and oak kept in check. Velvety texture. Long, fragrant finish. Cries out for a charcoal-grilled steak. (Buy again? If charcoal-grilling steaks, maybe.)


Capaia 2007, Philadelphia (Western Cape), Capaia Estate ($33.25, 11307825)
Cabernet Sauvignon (37%), Merlot (26%), Petit Verdot (18%) and Cabernet Franc (19%). Spent 15 months in new French oak barriques. Leather, cassis, ink and menthol. A wine of considerable heft, though nimble and fluid. Structuring tannins and acid are clad in fleshy fruit. Long savoury finish. (Buy again? Maybe, if in the mood for a New World Bordeaux blend.)

Sophia 2007, Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, Craggy Range Winery ($58, 11305491)
Merlot (81%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Cabernet Sauvignon (7%) and Malbec (2%). Spent 18 months in 50% new French oak casks. Pomegranate juice, vanilla and chocolate with hints of humus and ground coffee. The proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove: a mass of tannins wrapped in a mass of pure fruit. Big but poised and finely balanced. Plush, layered and long. Needs at least a couple more years in the bottle. Internationally styled but with undeniable class: would make a excellent ringer in a flight of new wave St-Émilions and Pomerols. (Buy again? Probably not, but then I’m not a Merlot fan.)

Don Melchor 1995, Valle del Maipo, Concha y Toro ($87.95, 10755941)
100% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 12 months in French oak casks. To the eye, nose and palate, obviously an aged wine. Pale rimmed, muted red-brown. Tertiary aromas and flavours: leather, sweat, dried wood, aged tobacco, old tomato plants, compost, earth (you have to dig to find the core of sweet fruit). Tannins fully resolved, the tightly wound velvet of youth now an unfurling skein of silk. Our bottle was uncorked two hours before the flight and decanted just before serving. As the wine only improved in the glass, decanting earlier might have been advisable. Interesting and impressive in its way, but not a wine that knocked anyone’s socks off. Probably done a disservice by being served after so many vibrant young wines and just before a fine old Bordeaux. Alone in the spotlight, it would likely show better. (Buy again? Not at that price.)

Pauillac 1994, Château Pontet-Canet ($33 in 1996)
Cabernet Sauvignon (63%), Merlot (32%) and Cabernet Franc (5%). Some fading at the rim but very little bricking. Complex only-in-Médoc bouquet that doesn’t need to yell to get your attention: cigar box, graphite, cassis, plum, tar, smoke, a hint of caramel. Austere but graceful and lithe, the tannins mostly resolved. In contrast to the preceding wines, the fruit is lean, dry, less dominating, more a unifying element in a spectrum of savoury flavours. The fruit fades on the long finish as cedar and minerals intertwine over a faint tannic astringency. Not particularly deep yet a wine that doesn’t reveal itself fully with the first sip or even – to judge by how it evolved in the few minutes after opening – the first glass. This is in a good place now and probably won’t get better; drink up in the next two or three years. (Buy again? Sure would if I didn’t already have a few bottles stashed away.)

Written by carswell

October 4, 2010 at 11:16

2 Responses

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  1. I love the wines from Jurtschitsch…. sadly we don’t see them here often.


    October 6, 2010 at 13:21

  2. […] last time I saw one of Weingut Jurtschitsch’s bottles on an SAQ shelf was in 2002. In the intervening years, a new generation has taken over the winemaking, the estate has been […]

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