Hunter’s Estate Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2006
€19.99, Superquinn, Londis, Centra, O’Briens
Brilliant; Very Good Value. Jane Hunter seldom lets you down. This has all the concentrated charm of the grape laid over an underbelly thick with nuance and style.
Stonier Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula 2005
€21.49, selected independents
Not sure why I always like this wine but I do. It's not obvious fruit like Hunters is above; it's not delicately perfumed; it's light in colour, powerful nose and palate of slight age and earthy fruit; lingers well. There's an honest 'difference' here worth celebrating.
Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir,
Vin de Pays des Coteaux du Verdon 2005
€17.29, Londis, selected independents
Not for me. Just has too little going for it.
Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir, Oregon 2005
€51.99, Tesco, O’Briens, selected independents
Excellent in almost all respects. It dances with a tremendous presence and depth of character. If I could get hold of wines like this at a lower price Oregon could command my world!
Fortius Reserva, Navarra, Bodegas Valcarlos 1999
€14.99, selected independents
Could Do a Lot Better. Being rustic and true to ones origin and terroir are pluses in my book. Being too rustic, like this wine is, is just lazy wine making. There has to be some skill in bringing fruit to the market as wine.
Musella Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore, Veneto 2004
NEW €21.49, selected independents
Ordinary. Too many better examples out there.
Cusumano Benuara, Sicily 2006
NEW €19.49, selected independents
Doesn't do it for me BUT, and I say this with a big BUT, I can see how it might do well commercially with a big bright cherry appeal showing a lot of heat and southern Italian roughness. Leave it age for a year and I might change my mind.
Portia Prima Ribera del Duero 2004
€24.99, selected independents
Not sure why but I seem to be turning into a Portia fan. Liked this a lot at the recent Rising Stars Spanish tasting and I like it again here. Instant impression is of a big size with tons of bouquet and rich fruits set well into a labyrinthine structure. Good bit of skill working with very fine fruit.
Dalmau Reserva Rioja, Marqués de Murrieta 1999
€90, selected independents
Can't say this is worth the money. Look it's an excellent style but so are many others. I would prefer to see more substantive and a more lively fruit. It sits down in a leaden sort of way.
Colonial Estate Single Vineyard Grenache Alexander Laing, Barossa 2005
€63.99, selected independents
This is ageing too quickly for my liking. It gives the impression that it won't last the evening let alone the year! Clearly it will last but I'm not convinced this is what the Malthus team wanted to make in the first place(?)
Petaluma Cabernet-Merlot, Coonawarra 2004
€36.99, Dunnes Stores, selected independents
Lighter than last time I tried this. Its an accurate and clean wine with little else other than a lot of new word technique thrown against the fruit.
Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra 2003
NEW €71.99, selected independents
I'm sorry but I just don't understand this price tag against this level of quality and fruit. The latter are too low and the former too high!
Santa Rita Medalla Real Cabernet-Carmenere, Maipo Valley 2005
NEW €16.49, selected independents
Smokey and interesting. I like this. It seems to be unaware that it comes from Chile!
Santa Rita Pehuen Carmenere, Apalta 2004
NEW €62.99, selected independents
No. Don't like the bouquet and or the palate. Its that thick cloying style of Carmenere which makes this grape so good as a blender rather than as a varietal. I've tried some new and brilliant Carmenere styles recently: this 'aint one of them.
Colonial Estate Single Vineyard GSM John Speke, Barossa 2005
€63.99, selected independents