Following on from A February Feast, part 1, here are some of the reds which really impressed me at the Tindal’s portfolio tasting in February. In my dash round the hall I only got to taste one wine from the Tyrrell’s table – as they have just partnered up with Tindal’s they were new to the portfolio and hence probably the busiest table there!
Craggy Range Martinborough Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2012 (€39.95, Searsons (online & Monkstown))
Although Central Otago gets most of the column inches nowadays, Martinborough remains one of the top regions for Pinot Noir within New Zealand. Like all Craggy Range’s …erm … range, this is a single vineyard bottling. The Te Muna Road vineyard is pictured above, and as this is New Zealand it is obviously bigger than some Burgundian Clos.
The 2012 is a serious wine, with concentrated red and black fruit, balanced tannins and a very smooth finish. I could see this still tasting lovely into the next decade.
Château Pesquié Ventoux Les Terrasses Rouge 2014 (€19)
Fred Chaudière’s family estate is considered to be among the best of the Ventoux in the Southern Rhône. Although Château Pesquié has a range of bottlings from the everyday to very serious (see some more of the latter here), it’s the Terrasses Rouge which stands out as a great buy. Certified organic from 2014, it consists of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, with minor traces of Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvèdre. Buy a magnum and book a day off!
Château Spencer La Pujade Corbières “Le Millésime” 2008 (€27.95, Searsons (online & Monkstown), Cashel Wine Cellar (Cashel))
Winemaker Sebastien Bonneaud loves his beret and loves his Carignan, being one of its fiercest supporters. This cuvée is an unusual departure for him in that it is made from 80% Mourvèdre and 20% Syrah. After fermentation the wine is matured from 14 to 16 months in 100% new 300 and 600 litre French oak barrels, as befits an upmarket cuvée (“Le Millésime” literally translates as “The Vintage”).
At over seven years old the oak is now very well integrated, and though its influence is felt it does not stick out or jarr at all. It’s big, round and powerful, but also elegant.
Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico 2013 (€26.95, Searsons (online & Monkstown), Nolans Butchers (Kilcullen))
Badia a Coltibuono – literally translated as “Abbey of the Good Harvest” – has existed for a millennium, with the monks gradually expanding their landholdings, until significant change arrived under Napoleonic secularisation in 1810. This Chianti Classico is made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo (which softens the edges). Wild yeast are used for fermentation and it then spends a year in cask before bottling. Chianti’s signature notes are all present – sweet / sour red and black cherries, tobacco (highlighted by the tannins) and vanilla from the oak.
Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva 2009 (€39.50, Searsons (online & Monkstown)
This was one of the highlights of the tasting for me. It has a noticeable family resemblance to the standard Chianti Classico above, but more depth of flavour and even smoother. The wine is made from the best selection of grapes, then the best barrels spend a further 12 months ageing on top of the standard bottling’s 12. A serious wine which is seriously drinkable!
Badia a Coltibuono Sangioveto di Toscana 2011 (€58.95, Searsons (online & Monkstown))
Sangioveto is the old local name for the Sangiovese grape, a nod to tradition for Badia a Coltibuono’s top red. Only made in the best vintages, with extra ripe fruit and maturation in French oak barrels, it is arguably Super Tuscan in style, even though it is a varietal Sangiovese – this is also hinted at by the IGT Toscana classification. Some might decry the break from tradition, but then Chianti used to contain 15% Malvasia Blanca!
This is a powerful but soft wine, lots of black fruit supported by soft tannins and 15% alcohol. Lovely to drink now, especially if decanted, but it would be worth stashing a few of these away for 2020.