Well, another year, another wine festival! It was great once again — and here’s what I learned (and liked the best).
1. Chile still needs a lot of work
I tried, but — sorry – this year’s host country Chile was disappointing. Most of the red wines were too tannic and herbal, whereas some of the Pinot Noirs were very nice, but too expensive. Chile’s best wine of the night was the 2007 Don Melchor from Concha y Toro, but at $90+…sorry! And I didn’t get to the whites.
2. Spain continues to puzzle me
Lots of highly rated red wines, but — again – pretty herbal and tannic for my tastes. Even Riojas, which I like, were pretty tough. Nothing I can really recommend.
3. California dreaming…
Say what you want, but Cali still makes the best fruit forward red wines in the world. Mondavi, Kendall Jackson, Louis Martini…all showed beautifully! I strongly recommend Martini’s Cabs, with the ’09 Sonoma ($19.99) and especially the ’09 Napa ($29.99) absolutely stunning for the prices!
4. Nothing wrong with Australia!
Boy, you have to love Auzzie wines for the fruit! Yes, they can be jammy and overipe sometimes, but when they get it right — which is most of the time — wow, is it great! Inland Trading Company is a perfect example. Their ’09 Shiraz Reserve by Cimicky was gorgeously ripe and balanced. Same with Evans and Tate’s ’09 Redbrook Cabernet Sauvignon, which is as good as most California cult Cabs!
5. Rhone is strong in the 2009 vintage
Lots of hype for the vintage, and many wines lived up to it. I particularly liked Beaucastel/Perrin and Delas Freres. The Vacqueyras Les Christins and Chateauneuf du Pape from the former and Crozes-Hermitage Les Launes and Hermitages Marquies de la Tourette from the latter were stunning wines.
6. Antinori is back!
I have loved this Italian producer in the past, but lately…the price quality ratio just hasn’t been good. But all that changed! The ’08 Bolgheri Guado al Tasso was almost as ripe as the Cabernet wines from Cali. And their new Antica brand made in Cali — especially the 2010 Chardonnay — was great as well!
7. Giesen from New Zealand is the real deal
I tried the Sauvignon Blanc last year and loved it…this year the 2010 Brothers Pinot Noir was even better! A Cali/Burgundy cross in terms of style, it was really well made and at $29.99 is a sensational deal!
7. BC — a great wine from Creston?
Finally, BC representation was weak in general. Burrowing Owl reds were herbal and tannic. But there was a revelation– Baillie Grohman from Creston BC! The 2010 Pinot Noir was very similar to the Geisen, fully ripe, and 24.99. How do they do it?
That’s it for this year — another great festival to be sure!