Showing posts with label New Zealand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Zealand. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Joe Karwig’s Rieslings. Reasons to Remember

Joe Karwig’s Rieslings
Reasons to Remember
Happy days with Joe (left)

We had joy. We had fun. We had Rieslings in the sun. And in the rain too! It is after all, one of the most versatile of wines and was a particular favourite of the late Joe Karwig as Beverly Mathews reminded us when she introduced an evening of Joe’s Rieslings at L'Attitude Wine Cafe last Wednesday. 

The rain of the day persisted in to the night on the nearby quays and streets. But the constant downpour failed to prevent a full house. “He was an incredible man,” Beverly continued. “He knew so much about wine and so much about Riesling in particular. He had these wines selected for an Autumn tasting and we thought it would be a shame not to go ahead with it.”

“It is a great demonstration of the styles of Riesling from the very dry to sweet, yet just a small sample of what they have in Karwig Wines, and the proceeds are going to the Cork Simon Community.”

She then introduced us to Joe's son Jurgen and asked him what were Joe’s favourite wines in general. Jurgen: “German whites were his main love and Italian reds. He loved the Old World wines in general.’

Marcus Gates of Karwig’s was introduced as “Cork favourite Australian” by Beverley, and he took us, enthusiastically, though the wines. He too remembered Joe: “I wish I wasn't doing this. I’d prefer to have Joe here.”

Furst Von Metternich Riesling Sekt trocken NV Rheingau
“Creamy mousse...brioche...great with Foie Gras…”, drooled Marcus as we sipped this 100% Riesling sparkling wine. “Made by a man who had 3 wives and 19 children and wanted to unite Europe”. This is genuine, made with the traditional champagne method. That creaminess, the bubbles and acidity worked very well with L’Atitude’s canape of Brie. Goes well too with pork belly, according to Marcus.
Full review (30/12/15) of this wine here.

Wohlmuth Kitzecker Riesling 2013 South Styria Austria
“This is from one of the highest growing areas in Austria,” said Marcus. “Very minerally, for sure. Makes you pucker! With peach, apricot and citrus elements in the mix, it makes for a lovely aperitif. Great with seafood. This is a baby and definitely another few years in it.”  Riesling is great with Asian and this was underlined when L’Atitude paired it with prawns. Both the flavours of the wine and the prawn improved when they met on the palate. Can't ask anymore of a match!
Marcus
Georg Muller Hattenheimer Wisselbrunned GG Riesling 2012 Grand Cru Rheingau
This has the VDP eagle displayed on the neck, “a guarantee of pure wine pleasure”, not a bad start. For many years the winery was a foundation for the benefit of the town of Eltville in the Hattenheim region. In 2003, it came back into private ownership. Peter Winter, a one-time boss and long-time friend of Joe Karwig, is the new owner and kept the existing name.

Jurgen was involved in a recent harvest here. “This vineyard is a top site. ..less juice per vine.. flavours more concentrated. It is more quality, less about quantity.” Marcus enthused: "Very complex, big mouthfeel..I’d like to see it in 15 years time. But it is drinking very well now, a cracking wine and one to watch.” My favourite too!

Woollaston Estate Riesling 2006 Nelson South Island New Zealand
“This is from rainy Nelson,” said Marcus. They are certified biodynamic now and were getting there ten years ago”. The petrol aromas dominated this one even though the excellent salmon ceviche (made by L’Atitude’s Chilean Francisca) helped moderate them.
Golden oldie
Dr Heinz Wagner Saarburger Kupp Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2010 Mosel
Back to Germany for the 5th wine, an off dry, made by the 5th generation of the family who have been here since 1880. “Very steep”, said Marcus. “Even steeper than Patrick's Hill. Some minerality but a little bit of residual sugar means it's off-dry (feinherb). But it is addictive!” Great match here with a skewer of pork, apricot and red onion, very enjoyable pairing indeed.


Willi Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Auslese 2011 Mosel
We would, naturally, finish on a sweet note though this, from the south facing slopes, is not quite a dessert wine. “You have peach, grapefruit, honey. You see very few ausleses in restaurants around here.” It proved quite a match with a piece of Bleu d’Auvergne, the sweet and the salty going nicely together.


Time now for a toast to Joe as Jurgen and Marcus introduced a surprise: a 1988 Schlossgut Diel, Dorsheimer Goldloch. “There is a little bit of oxidation, just showing its age!”, said Marcus. “But still clear, vibrant, a nice little treat. Give it a moment or two for the aromas to open up. Would have been sweeter once but now drying, on its way to fading away.” And then we toasted Joe with the old Riesling and a “chorus” of clinks.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sauvignon Blanc. Graham Norton in on the act! Cono Sur's Silencio best in Chile

Noble Grape Sauvignon Blanc
Graham Norton in on the act!
And Cono Sur's Silencio best in Chile.

Sauvignon blanc is one of the best known and best loved grapes on the planet. The Loire Valley is regarded as its heartland but it thrives too in New Zealand, especially in Marlborough, and in Chile and indeed in many other places around the world.

And it is to New Zealand that West Cork born Graham Norton went to try his hand at making a bottle. Personality in a bottle or a personality with a bottle? The answer is somewhere in between.  


Cono Sur Reserva Especial Sauvignon blanc 2013, Valle de Casablanca (Chile), 12.5%, €13.99 Bradley’s Offlicence

According to the recent Wines of South America, Cono Sur (the first winery to be recognised as carbon neutral) is “one of the most consistent and reliable wineries in the country”. The country is, of course, Chile, and this is an excellent example and Very Highly Recommended.

The pale gold colour is bright and healthy looking and there are fresh aromas of white fruit and blossoms. Fruit flavours in the crisp and elegant palate, lively acidity and a decent finish too. Ideal as an aperitif or with seafood dishes.




Graham Norton’s Sauvignon blanc 2015, Marlborough (New Zealand), 12.5%, €12.00 at SuperValu from November 6th

Norton is a shareholder in the Invivo Winery and the wines for blending were brought to him in London. Winemaker Rob Cameron came too and together they came up with a wine that quickly won a string of awards.

Critics say:
“Fresh and lively… fabulous juicy finish”.
“Tongue tingling….full of punch and personality”.
“Savvie….full of lime zest.”
Norton says: “It’s lovely! Tropical fruit...a bit of zing...cheers to that!”

Colour is just about present with hints of green. Aromas are fresh, white fruit, some herbal elements too. There is a generous flush of freshness and fruit, matched immediately by balancing acidity (just like a Norton put-down!). Must admit this is an excellent drop indeed (unlike his red chair!) and Highly Recommended.

Emiliana Sauvignon blanc 2014, DO Valle Central (Chile), 12.5%, €12.95 Bradley’s
This is an organic wine by Eco Balance, made for “relaxed everyday enjoyment. Integrity, sustainability and an earth friendly focus inspires all that we do”.

This is light yellow, green also evident, clear and bright. Aromas include herbal elements, white fruits too (including grapefruit). It is fresh and fruity with a zingy acidity, a decent mouthfeel and a moderate finish. Very good value and Recommended.


More good news for Cono Sur and chief wine-maker Adolfo Hurtado. Their Silencio Cabernet Sauvignon, launched in Dublin 12 months ago,  has been named as the best red wine in Chile, gaining an unprecedented 98 points.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Craggy Range 2013. “The Vintage of a Generation”

Craggy Range 2013
“The Vintage of a Generation”
Craggy Range
New Zealand winemakers are calling 2013 the Vintage of a Generation and there was much evidence in support at the Craggy Range tasting in Adare Manor Hotel last week. Right across the range and not just with the outstanding wines from the Prestige Collection.

Okay, so this is a New Zealand winemaker and, yes, they have a Sauvignon blanc. It comes from the Te Muna vineyard in Martinborough. We started with this 2013 edition. Hannah Gordon, the company’s UK/Europe Business Manager, was our guide in Adare and she said it was not your typical NZ Sauvignon blanc: “It is slightly more classical, more elegant. It has had five months in oak, also some lees contact, so it has a nice richness, the acidity is calmed down. A great food wine, very versatile.”

The 2013 Chardonnay came from Kidnappers Vineyard in Hawkes Bay, the “warmest area in NZ but with a cooling sea breeze”. This too has had oak (nine months) but the influence is not overly much. There is a great concentration, an almost creamy feel and a long finish. Hannah said it is a great food wine, a Burgundy style. “The idea is to reflect the place and the name comes from the time when Captain Cook’s servants were kidnapped here.”
So now we were getting the picture, the “other side of the New Zealand story, learning from the Old World without copying”. And that was further underlined as the tasting progressed.


Back now to Te Muna Road which has a climate like Burgundy and is “the birthplace of quality Pinot Noir in New Zealand.” This 2012 Pinot Noir has “vibrant fruits..verging on creamy..a bit of classic earthiness to it, like the Old World”.


And then a step up again, this time to the 2013 Aroha, again a Pinot Noir from Te Muna Road but part of the Prestige Collection, a wine that could last 10 to 15 years. Hannah pointed to the dense fruit flavours. The texture and finish are all top class. Grapes from the two best blocks (16 & 19) were used for this gem. Aroha means love in the Maori language.



Sophia
In 1876 the floods in New Zealand’s region of Hawke's Bay turned some rivers into land. You may read about it here.  

Gimblett Gravels was one such place and is “the most famous single vineyard on New Zealand”.  And from these gravels comes a surprising wine. “It was the biggest surprise for us,” said Hannah as she introduced us to two Syrah. And another surprise, the most awarded wine in New Zealand is not a Sauvignon blanc but Le Sol, one of this pair of Syrah.

The 2011 Syrah is excellent, medium bodied with fruit and spice and a long finish. But that 2013 Le Sol (French for soil) is simply amazing. No wonder Decanter named it as the best Syrah in the new world.

“Syrah is the new story of New Zealand,” said Hannah. “This is our highlight wine, fresh, fruity (with great density of aroma), acidity, fine tannins, and very accessible even at this young age. This could age for 15-20 years.”
We would finish with a couple of Bordeaux blends, one of which, Sophia, “put us on the world wine map”. First up was the 2011 Te Kahu from the Gimblett Gravels and the name means Morning Mist. Fruit for sure but this is more elegant than fruit driven, with a persistent finish. The blend is 70% Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a very little Petit Verdot.

The 2013 Sophia, with 62% Merlot, brought us even more convincing evidence of the excellence of that year with “its spiced fruit character. It is fresh, acidic, with a fine tannin structure dominant but not too heavy, a beautiful wine”.

Jancis Robinson loves this one, even if not its “heavy” bottle: “Really well accomplished. Long and neat. Really lovely wine that lasted well in an opened bottle - a good sign”.
Lunch at Adare. Smoked Irish Salmon with Mango Salsa, Crab, herb & citrus creme fraiche
and Roast rump of Irish lamb, kohlrabi, crispy sweetbreads, butterbean puree.
Sophia, from the old Greek Sophia, means wisdom. We could all love (philo) this and become instant philosophers!

The love continued through the excellent lunch in the amazing Oak Room where we got a chance to sample some of the wines again and where we were introduced to Sophia 2004. Those that doubted, if there were any, joined the confirmed philosophers. Great wines in a lovely venue with excellent company - hard to beat on a Wednesday afternoon!

  • There is much more information on the wines (distributed here in Ireland by Tindal Wines) on the Craggy Range website. It is one of the very best wine websites that I've come across.
  • If you’d like to visit and stay at Adare Manor, you’d better hurry! Extensive refurbishment is planned for the leading five star hotel from early next year and it will be closed for up to 18 months.
  • Well done to Hannah and to Peter McCabe of Tindal’s for their input last week and to Anthony Tindal himself who left us in no doubt that he was a confirmed philosopher! Brian Lawlor, Food & Beverage Manager at Adare Manor, was on hand to make sure everything, including lunch, went well. It did!

    Just in from Ballymaloe's Colm McCann:

    Upcoming wine events at Ballymaloe 

    Bank Holiday Monday 26th October 2015, 8.00pm
    Wine dinner with John Wilson wine writer, The Irish Times
    In Ballymaloe House €85 including dinner and wines
    John Wilson, one of Ireland’s top wine writers, will present, over dinner, a tasting of a selection of his favourite wines from the new edition of his book ‘Wilson on Wine 2016’


    Thursday 12th November, 7.30pm

    A Unique and Fascinating Comparative Wine Tasting with Maximilian J. Riedel
    of Riedel Wine Glass
    In the Grainstore at Ballymaloe
    Tickets for the Riedel event are priced at €65 for individual tickets or €55 each for bookings of 2 or more. Each ticket includes €97.50 worth of Riedel VERITAS glass which each ticket holder can take home in a portable gift box

    Special rates also available for accommodation

    Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry, Co. Cork
    Tel: 021 4652531 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Sparkling and Still on Skype. Wine Geese on the World Wide Web.

Sparkling and Still on Skype.
Wine Geese on the World Wide Web.
Dermot Sugrue, at home in Wiston, talks to the tasters in Cork
A Decanter Gold Medal winner was among the wines featured at a novel international tasting based at L’Atitude 51 (Cork) last Friday as part of the nationwide Culture Night. The work of three of the younger generation of Ireland's Wine Geese was celebrated with the winemakers talking about their vineyards (in Sussex, South Africa and New Zealand), telling us all in L’Atitude about their various wines as we sipped them in Cork and watched the winemakers on Skype (big screen, bien sur).

Beverly Mathews, Colm McCann and Maurice O'Mahony, who organised the 2013 series of Wine Geese visits, were behind this venture, the first public internet wine-tasting in Ireland, and the speakers on the other side of Skype were Dermot Sugrue (Wiston Estates, Sussex), Marion Smith (Elgin Ridge, South Africa) and Fleur McCree (Little Beauty, New Zealand).

Dermot, a Limerick man, had wanted to be a winemaker since he was 16 but it was some thirteen years later before he started a Viticulture and Winemaking Course in England's Plumpton College. His progress was astonishingly rapid thereafter, much like the English sparkling wine industry, and his Wiston wines are regular award winners.

Wiston Estate vineyards are on pure chalk soil, just like in Champagne… This gives finesse, aging potential and a certain Je ne sais quoi. They are showing so beautiful, though still so young. And are in the top restaurants in the UK."

We tasted two. First up was the Blanc de Blancs NV. This has been voted the best in England. “It has a sense of richness that belies its youth. It is one hundred per cent Chardonnay, mostly 2011 plus reserve from 2010 and has spent 18 months on its lees.”

He described the Rosé 2011 as “a freak of nature”. The year was unbelievably warm, a poor Spring but a great Summer that extended into September eventually yielding very ripe grapes. “An accidental Rosé, our most successful wine, still very young and so exuberant early on.

“That exuberance is now fading and it is maturing into a sour cherry type. From over one hundred English sparkling wines, this Rosé has won one of just Decanter three golds.” It may be a freak of nature but Dermot hopes to replicate it in 2014. This year has been similar in many respects to 2011 and fingers are crossed for the harvest next month.


Marion, in the vineyard
Next stop was Elgin Ridge in South Africa and here we met Marion Smith (right) from Ballyjamesduff - her cousins still run the family farm there. The farming goes on at Elgin Ridge and Marian is the largest breeder of Dexter cattle (the native Irish breed) in the Western Cape. Sheep “mow” the grass between the vines. Elgin Ridge is organic.

The Dexters
But there were no vines there when Marion and her husband Brian arrived about eight years back. The farm had lain idle for some time and that made it easier to go organic. “We are living the dream and have wonderful workers here.” 

As she spoke the vineyard behind rapidly fell into total darkness. “I miss the long bright evenings sitting out in Ireland”, she said and invited anyone visiting in the area to drop in and see them. Be sure and take a look at the website. It is a gorgeous place, so many animals.

We tasted their 282 Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyard is 282 metres above sea level and the vines benefit from the cool afternoon breeze and the proximity of the ocean. It is a different style of Sauvignon Blanc with a beautiful freshness.

Fleur McCree, whose ancestors (the Cox family) hail from Passage West, is a serious winemaker but is always game for a laugh. We were thanking her for getting up early in Marlborough until she pulled the curtain behind her and showed us the Tower Bridge in London. Fleur spends much of her time on the road selling her gorgeous Little Beauty wines.


Marlborough is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc but this time we were tasting Little Beauty’s Pinot Gris. “We have a tiny strip of Pinot Gris. ..The bad weather doesn't get to the East Coast … We have huge sunshine hours and not much rain… Hot by day, cold by night is good for Pinot Gris.”


"It is a prolific grower, too much so, too much fruit is no good! You must discipline the variety, quite hard - cut the bunches by hand! It is also thick-skinned and that stops the sunshine getting through. So open up the canopy to aid ripening. The fruit is hand harvested and it is gentle handling all the way after that".


“The aromas are herbaceous, stone fruits (peaches, nectarines). It is almost creamy, hints of mild spice. Notice that textured element when you lick your lips and inside your mouth. It is an interesting wine from a sensation perspective, oily and concentrated. It is better served not so cold as it then expresses itself better, not so shy. It is a very popular variety, very approachable.” It sure is. One of the best of its kind as far as I am concerned!


“What would you pair it with?”, somebody queried.
“With your cornflakes,” came the rapid reply. “One of your five a day!”.  She did go on to say Asian, particularly Asian with nuts, peanut Satay is her own favourite. She also recommended Pork belly with chilli and garlic etc or maybe pork roast with apricots.

And then she pulled that curtain, bringing this innovative long distance tasting to an end.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Superb Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc. Check this Cuvée Grêle 2013!

Superb Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc
Check this Cuvée Grêle 2013!
Gavin Quinney at
Chateau Bauduc June 2014.
Mention Sauvignon Blanc these days and the next sentence will almost certainly contain the words New Zealand and maybe, just maybe, the Loire. New Zealand is well known for its distinctively aromatic pungent style while the traditional Loire style is often described with words like minerality and acidity.

New Zealand, where it is by far the most widely grown grape, is not the only New World country producing good Sauvignon Blanc. Chile is another, excellent examples coming from the cooler coastal areas of this long and narrow country. And there are quite a few more, both old and new world.

But let’s go back to France again and search that little bit harder. In Bordeaux (which may have seen the birth of this grape). I know many of us are under the impression that all Bordeaux whites (now increasingly rated higher by Mr Parker) are all a blend of SB and Semillon in all kinds of proportions.

But there are quite a few one hundred per cent Sauvignon Blancs in the area, including the pair below. And do note that Bauduc is available in Ireland via Curious Wines!

Chateau Bauduc, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Bordeaux, 11.5%

Lovely fruit flavours here with excellent balance, crisp and dry with a little tingle and a lovely long finish. This gem, somewhat fuller than the Loire style, has been the house wine at Gordon Ramsey’s and Rick Stein’s for over a decade, showing you don't have to be in the Loire to make excellent French Sauvignon Blanc. Very Highly Recommended.

We are lucky to have this one at all. Vigneron Gavin Quinney notes on the back label: “We call this our Cuvée Grêle (hail) as we lost half our crop on 2 August, just before the September harvest.”

Chateau Rochemorin, Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Pessac-Leognan Bordeaux.

Came across this beauty in an one star Michelin restaurant in Arcachon (Le Patio) and absolutely enjoyed, even if it came in at fifty euro a pop. Enjoyed it even more when I found I could buy it in Podensac for €11.95.

In the Loire in 2013, I bought more red than whites and this year, in Bordeaux, I bought more whites than red. Pessac-Leognan is, according to Oz Clarke, “one of the most exciting areas in France for top-class white wines” while Hugh Johnson says it has Bordeaux’s “finest barrel fermented dry whites’. High praise indeed.

The highly respected Andre Lurton is the man in charge here and impressed even Jancis Robinson with this one who described it as racy and lively and “giving white burgundy a run for its money”.

It spends 10 months in oak barrels (35% new), on full lees with bâtonnage. Believe it or not  it can age 12 to 15 years but is excellent after 2 to 5 years. I’ll have my purchases wiped out by Christmas, at the latest!

Lots of white fruit on the nose, it is rich and fresh and beautifully balanced. Well worth seeking out if you are on hols in France. Not sure if you’ll find it in Ireland though I see that Wine Online are offering the 2007 version.

Other Sauvignon Blanc recommendations
New Zealand: Fiona Turner’s Tinpot Hut and Fleur McCree’s Little Beauty are both excellent Marlborough examples. Also worth a try is Tim and Judy Finn’s fresh herbaceous Neudorf from the Nelson area.

Chile: Aresti’s Trisquel Sauvignon Blanc and Cono Sur’s Single Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Valle de Casablanca.






Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sauvignon Blanc Still Sings


Sauvignon Blanc Still Sings
Marlborough New Zealand
Very recently, one of Ireland's top wine writers admitted that he had been avoiding Sauvignon Blanc for a few years despite never really disliking the variety. But now he is back and enjoying one of the most popular of what are termed the “international” varieties.

Many of us, including myself, my motto being variety is the spice of life, regularly try the lesser known grapes. But it would be a mistake to totally ignore the internationals. By coincidence, I've been trying a few Sauvignon Blancs recently. Last summer, enjoyed some terrific ones in the Loire area but the three here are from Chile and New Zealand’s Marlborough (where the variety does particularly well).
First though, there was an example of why our aforementioned writer and indeed anyone with a wee bit of wine knowledge may be turned off and that bottle came as a gift that had been bought via a supermarket offer. It was a Chilean but had so little to offer, no discernible aromas, very little flavour, no finish worth talking about, that it was poured down the sink with some gusto.
Viento Monte, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Chile, 13%, €10.30 Karwig Wines
That Chile can produce decent Sauvignon Blanc and at a very good price is well known and indeed well illustrated by this bottle. It has a pale yellow colour with green highlights and an intense aroma of citrus, green apples and the typical (maybe a little less than normal) hint of grass. On the palate it is crisp and refreshing, quite a light mouthfeel and a very fresh finish. Recommended. I'm told their Chardonnay is also excellent. Must try that soon!
Greyrock Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2012, 12.5%, €13.80 Karwig Wines.
Greywacke is getting much attention recently but, for a tenner or so less, this Greyrock is well worth a try. By the way, they also produce a sparkling Sauvignon Blanc!
This 2012 still example is light gold, again with green tints and the nose has that fresh grassy element. On the palate, it is fresh and fruity with a mouthfeel that is both intense and lively, very refreshing,almost bubbly, and then a good dry finish. Highly Recommended.
Little Beauty Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2011, 13%, €18.99 Wine Alliance stockists
Sauvignon Blanc is the flagship grape of New Zealand, accounting for the majority of the harvest in Marlborough where it grows best. And this Little Beauty is one of its best!
Little Beauty’s Fleur McCree was at a tasting in Cork last year and told us that the different blocks around the vineyard ripen at different times yet the intense fruit is preserved and there is “a build-up of layers of flavour to enhance the experience. Mango, Passion fruit at the start followed by Citrusy flavours mid-palate and then basil at the back of the tongue”. Really top notch, distinctive (somewhat more refined than your usual SB from here), and Very Highly Recommended.
* Note that you are now more likely to find the 2012 version of Little Beauty in the shops.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pamper Your Pinot Gris

Pamper Your Pinot Gris


Little Beauty Pinot Gris 2010 (Marlborough NZ), 14%, €21.99 to 22.99), Wine Alliance stockists

This Pinot Gris comes from less than two hectares of vines. “Pinot Gris loves the stones, the water, and the sun", said Little Beauty's Fleur McCree during one of last year’s Wine Geese events. 
It just takes off in these conditions and that can, in the wrong hands, lead to quantity over quality. So it has to be reined in. Bunches are removed. Must be done by hand as machines can’t decide which bunches to discard. “Concentration in Pinot Gris means quality” and it is “the most pampered variety in the vineyard”.

Worth the effort though.  Here you have lip smacking flavour, oily, yet drier than their Riesling. Don’t over-chill it and use with nuts, pork, crab and so on. Very Highly Recommended.

Chateau de Petit Thouars, Cuvee Amiral 2009 Touraine (France), 12.5%, €15.00 at the chateau.
“Many great men of our family served in the French Navy” and so the top wine at the Chateau, near where the Vienne and the Loire meet, is called Amiral. It is a press wine made from the Cabernet France grape. All the refreshing characteristics of this variety are present here, even if the wine has spent some two years in previously used oak.
As you’d expect, it is a medium dark red with red fruits prominent in the bouquet. On the palate, it is fresh and light and rather smooth, terrific concentration and with a slight spiciness plus a pronounced dry lengthy finish. This is tailored for a long keep but only if you have proper storage available.
Highly Recommended, possibly Very Highly Recommended in a few years!

Pegões Stella Rosso 2009 (Setubal, Portugal), 13.5%, €10.99,  Wine Alliance stockists
This was one of the first red wines that the then newly formed Wine Alliance brought in from Portugal. It was a winner then and is a winner now.
Made from the local Castelão (50%) and the international Syrah (50%) grapes, this rich easy drinking red is good on its own and even better with red meats. It is full, fruity and spicy, with a soft supple texture, carries flavours of black cherries and plums and is very well balanced.
Six months in American oak barrels followed by four in bottle before release. An excellent Highly Recommended wine.