Claret tasting at Narelle and Frank’s

Chateau Puygueraud (Cotes De Francs) 2004
Serafino (McLaren Vale) CabSav 2006
Chateau Haut-Madrac (Haut-Medoc) 2006
Chateau Beau-Site (St.Estephe) 2005
Grand Vin de Bernadotte (Haut Medoc) 2005
Brooklands Valley Verse 1 Cab Merlot (Margaret River) 2007
Clos Floridene (Graves) 2005
Chateau Les Trois Croix (Fronsac) 2005
Distell Merlot (South Africa) 2002
Chateau Les Trois Croix (Fronsac) 2004
Grosset Gaia (Clare Valley) 2004
Te Mata Estate Awatea (Hawkes Bay) 2005
Chateau Cos Labory (St.Estephe) 2003

Some were better than others but all were good (which is unusual for a tasting).  Read on if your interested in some personal notes…

Chateau Puygueraud (Cotes De Francs) 2004
– simple fresh somewhat tannic Bordeaux, savoury but surprisingly closed, unexpressive and lacking florality for the vintage and unusual for Puygueraud.

Serafino (McLaren Vale) CabSav 2006
– sweet mint toffee oak, sweet alcoholic, young disjointed and a quite a bit dolled up with oak and acid.

Chateau Haut-Madrac (Haut-Medoc) 2006
– classic cabernet blackcurrent flavours, very fresh with clear acid spine.  A modern minor Bordeaux.  Nice wine for drinking over the next few years.  Better than I’d have expected for the vintage and price level.  Good discovery.

Chateau Beau-Site (St.Estephe) 2005
– dense 4-square claret, savoury and tannic, plenty of extract, but muted flavour and nose (cork influence ?)

Grand Vin de Bernadotte (Haut Medoc) 2005
– another dense young claret, good structure but rather closed, hard to assess.

Brooklands Valley Verse 1 Cab Merlot (Margaret River) 2007
– expressive aromas including some tobacco, quite attactive and appetizing.  Palate is a slight disappointment in comparison – sweetish, well balanced, but not complex.  Halliday likes this sort of thing, he’s too impressed by winemaking over terroir and character.

Clos Floridene (Graves) 2005
– polarised the audience, depending on tolerance of reductive (sulphide) characters.  Lovely gentle but rich open wine.  Good flavour and balance, sensual rather than intellectual.  Perfect cafe wine, good drinking for 5 years, no need to cellar.

Chateau Les Trois Croix (Fronsac) 2005
– big dense, plummy fruitcake, very much a right-bank Merlot from a good vintage.  Ripe soft tannins.  Attractive now with the capacity to gain complexity for 5 years and last for 10+.
“Good full ruby. Sexy dark fruits, leather, smoked meat and earth on the nose. Silky and suave in the mouth, with good chewy depth of fruit. Layered, sweet and interesting. Finishes with sweet tannins and very good length. An excellent showing for this Fronsac property owned by the family of ex-Mouton Rothschild winemaker Patrick Leon.” 87-90 points
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2006

Distell Merlot (South Africa) 2002
– an interesting comparison, commercial New World merlot, aromas of tomato leaf, flavours of cherry tomatoes.  Out of its class here.

Chateau Les Trois Croix (Fronsac) 2004
– less weighty and ripe than the 2005, without deep fruitcake characters, but nice freshness, and it will gain complexity.  Nicely shows the difference between the 2004 and 2005 vintage, both good but 2005 can produce exceptional ripeness.

Grosset Gaia (Clare Valley) 2004
– pristine wine making, clear as a bell fruit.  Lovely elegance but for the price it lacks stuffing and complexity, the fruit is simple showing a good deal of New World Merlot cherry tomato flavours.  Maybe this wine will develops complexity age but I don’t have a lot of faith in it.  I like elegant wines but I’m not in sync with James Halliday here.  I feel he overrates clinical winemaker wines and he rates it highly (same score as the Brooklands above)
From the first vintage, in 1989, Grosset Gaia has stood apart from mainstream Clare Valley style thanks to its extra degree of finesse.  This has been achieved without any diminution in flavour or varietal typicity; if this were not enough, it has also been a model of consistency in quality terms.  (No surprise here, as it applies to all of Grosset’s wines.)  Bright and clear purple-red, the 2004 Gaia (94 Points, $53) is on the light end of medium-bodied.  It is very fresh (only 13.5 per cent alcohol and, given Grosset’s disdain of cork, sealed with a screwcap) and harmonious with fruit, oak and tannins precisely fashioned and balanced.  It will live far longer than one may imagine, most probably showing no hint of tiredness before 2030, which is no reason not to open a bottle tonight.

Te Mata Estate Awatea (Hawkes Bay) 2005
– ripe but surprisingly closed, except on the finish where it shows class, an elegant wine in a ripe vintage, very Bordeaux-like.
This is quite possibly the best Awatea this stalwart has released to date. Classic Bordeaux-like style with regional Hawkes Bay gravel and ripe cassis fruits, some floral notes too. Terrific density and glide through the palate, savoury liquorice, really intense ripe berry fruits and a polished trail of fine tannins through the finish. Superb! 94/100″
– Nick Stock, Wine Business Magazine, June 2008

Chateau Cos Labory (St.Estephe) 2003
– odd jumble of aromas, with stewed ripe fruit overlying the more classic herbal berry Cabernet characters.  A wine that shows the character of the super hot 2003 vintage in Bordeaux.  Dry chocolate tannins.  Like a dry, non-syrupy, version of a modern souped up Napa Valley cabernet.  But it’s still characterful, lots of flavour, it just lacks the refreshing quality that Bordeaux should have.  Drink now, or age it into a leathery wine.

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One thought on “Claret tasting at Narelle and Frank’s

  1. Pingback: Claret tasting at Narelle and Frank's « Wine Reviews & Comments | The Bottle and Cork - Napa and Sonoma Wine blog

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