November 24, 2008

Altaya annual tasting

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I attended the annual wine tasting hosted by Altaya Wines at the Grand Hyatt. Paulo is a friend and a member of our MNSC, so we all try to show our support, and get to taste some fantastic wines at the same time.  This was their biggest event so far - taking up the Residence area with two large tables serving finger food and the wonderful cheese selection from Classified - one of Paulo's other ventures.

There were 24 tables serving wines from around the world, and many winemakers or family members of the winemaker were there to pour their wines for us. The familiar faces were Pierre Perrin from Chateau Beaucastel, Rob Fisher from Fisher Vineyards, Don Weaver from Harlan Estate... There was also a strong contingent from Burgundy, including Nicolas Potel, Henri Boillot (both in person), and Alain and Sophie Meunier from Jean-Jacques Confuron.

I spent more than 3 hours at the tasting, going through many wines and chatting with friends and winemakers. There were just too many wines so my notes are a bit simple and blurry...

2004 Harlan Estate - waaaay too early to drink

2005 Henri Boillot Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Les Vergelesses - loads of minerals, flint, oak and sweet butter in the nose.

2005 Henri Boillot Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets - nose of prunes, grilled meats and smoke. A bit acidic.

2004 BOND Melbury - minty, pruny, with lots of oak and high alcohol. Pretty tannic right now.

2006 Fisher Whitney's Vineyard Chardonnay - still as sweet and ripe as I remember. Lots of buttery and toasty oak here.

2006 Nicolas Potel: Bourgogne Rouge Cuvée Gerard Potel, Côtes de Nuits-Villages Rouge Vieilles Vignes, Nuits-St-Georges - while these were decent wines for everyday drinking, they weren't as impressive as the 4 wines that followed...obviously!

2006 Nicolas Potel: Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Les Hauts Jarrons, Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes - these wines were obviously a class above the first three, and are amazing value for money.

2006 Nicolas Potel Grand Crus: Clos St.-Denis, Charmes-Chambertin - really, really nice wines, especially the silky smooth Charmes with the lengthy finish.

2004 Argiano Solengo - not that impressed. Still a bit tannic.

2005 Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge - classic Beaucastel and good to drink now.

2005 Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc - another beautiful Rhone white from Beaucastel that is accessible now.

2005 Kilikanoon Killermans Run Shiraz - not a bad effort that is typically Aussie Shiraz

2005 Kilikanoon Covenant Shiraz - aged in a mix of American and French oak, the vanilla and tropical fruit of the American oak really shows through here.

2004 Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz - nose is more subtle here as this is aged in French oak.

2003 Le Pupille Saffredi - a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this was only so-so...not quite sure why this is a famous wine...

Quinta do Noval Colheita Port 1995 - I love all tawny Port, so understandably I went back for a few more pours of this one. Lots of typical nuts, caramel and a bit sharp from the alcohol.

2002 Suduiraut - my favorite of the trio tonight. Nose of celery, straw, honey, apricot, orange marmalade. There is enough sweetness here to make it interesting.

1998 Suduiraut - a bit bland on the palate as there really wasn't enough sweetness. Nose of cotton candy, apricot and marmalade.

1982 Suduiraut - not sure why some people were so wowed by this wine. Maybe because they had heard that 1982 was a great year for Bordeaux, without realizing that it wasn't exactly a good year for Sauternes... There's not enough botrytis here, even though Suduiraut produced one of the best wines in this vintage due to early harvest. Nose of tangerine and acetone, but pretty dry on the palate.

The event wound down around 9:30pm, and the winemakers converged on the Pawn for drinks...

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