Blind tasting notes, theme = international joint ventures. Odd theme and several people had to have it explained to them that a French winemaker owning a winery in the US or Chile didn’t make it a JV – you needed to have co-ownership – classic example might be Opus One (Mondavi/Mouton)
2010 Antica Chardonnay – not a JV, but rather a winery owned by Antinori in the Atlas Peak area. Some colour, lots of citrus notes, a clean balanced wine with good stuffing. California Chard the way it should be made, not stirred with a big oak oar!
2010 Doisy Daene (sec) – I’ve often enjoyed the dry wines made by Sauternes/Barsac producers, usually made from sauv blanc excess to their blending needs for the sweet wines. This one had a notably grassy nose, good but not excessive acidity, good fruit flavours and decent length. Pleasant!
2002 Luce della Vite – A JV between Frescobaldi and Mondavi, originally (not sure when Frescobaldi took over sole ownership, but we agreed it would be consider in theme as we didn’t know otherwise!). A blend of merlot and sangiovese made in Brunello, this immediately struck me as Italian and sangiovese based. While the colour showed some maturity, it has a way to go yet – sweet fruit, lots of oak, warm, still with tannin, I felt it wasn’t an entirely successful wine as it didn’t add anything to what a sangiovese only wine would have been; quite the contrary. A difficult vintage and interesting that the sangio shows more despit the fact that it was only 25% of the blend.
1995 Luce della Vite Lucente – this is their second wine made from grapes not used in the Luce. It was made in this vintage with 85% sangio and 15% merlot, the opposite of the previous wine. Still shows good colour and paradoxically, it showed more merlot character in the nose despite not having much content. Dusty plum and cocoa nose, and a fair bit of acidity. Probably better a few years ago.
2005 Masi Tupungato Corbec Appassimento La Arboleda – this is a very interesting wine, although not technically a JV. Made from merlot and corvina (I guess both – and should have shut up for the rest of the night and cruised on that victory, but of course didn’t). Made in the recioto style, dried grapes and mats, and given the often over the top style of Argentine Malbec combined with the strong ripe flavours of semi-dried corvine, this could have been another over ripe RP darling, but it wasn’t. Warm nose with hints of spices, ripe fruit but not over ripe, full and lush in the mouth, with soft tannins indicating it should go on for several more years.
2010 Los Vascos Gran Reserve – again, not a JV, but also a wine I always buy by the case – the combination of modest price and much better than modest quality is persuasive. Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, Syrah and Malbec, but mostly cab, and 50% new oak barrels (Lafite, the owner, can afford them!) results in a dark wine with a big meaty sweet earthy nose, ripe and smooth in the mouth and becoming almost elegant in the finish.
2006 California Cult Classics Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard – this started as a JV between a local chap and Signorello Vineyards. The latter located and obtained good fruit and shipped it to BC where the other partner made it into wine only a few miles from where I live. Done in a big Californian style and not for the faint of heart. This was the second vintage. Very dark wine with chocolate, rubber, tar and dark fruit nose, huge concentration on palate, jammy but balanced and very long finish. I won’t touch this again for a few years.
2010 California Cult Classics Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard – a different style, also dark but with a less ripe nose, still lots of concentration on palate, medium length and quite good.
2007 Sasseti Livio Pertimali Brunello – not even close to being in theme but who cares, I love this producer! Typical and excellent Brunello with a dried red fruit and saddle leather nose, lots of stuffing and punctilious balance. Needs time.
2004 Osoyoos Larose – a proper JV between Gruaud Larose and Constellation Brands in Canada. The wine is 68% Merlot 21% Cabernet Sauvignon 5% Petit Verdot 4% Cabernet Franc 2% Malbec in this vintage and very claret like with a predominantly cabernet nose of cassis and tobacco with slight green hints, balanced and smooth on palate with sodt tannin, probably at peak now but no rush. Very good.
1985 Grahams Port – I didn’t nail this immediately as Grahams as it wasn’t as sweet as Grahams often (mostly?) is. Medium colour, an interesting melange of berry and toffee flavours, long sweet finish. A very attractive Port at this point. Time to hunt down my stash of this!