|Much imported goodies|
Some imported goodies from the Negociants portfolioWhilst there is a whole multitude of importers bringing wine into Australia, I don't think any can really compete with the scale of Negociants, the import arm of family owned Yalumba parent company S.Smith & Son.
What sets Negociants apart is that perfect combination of range, fair-ish pricing and smart salespeople, the business carrying a reputation for having all the best brands and the connections to sell them. Suitably, when you see a Negociants imported wine tasting on the schedule you don't miss out, simply because all sorts of goodies can tend to turn up.
This particular tasting lived up to that promise too with a vast array of imported goodies open for taste, limited only by how many people seemed to be getting in between me and the open bottles...
Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Kabinett Riesling 2010 (Saar, Germany)
What an essay in purity this is. Considering the relative price of this (circa $70ish) this is something of a bargain. Wonderful wine. Wonderfully detailed and fresh. I wanted to take this home with me.
Extremely pure beeswax and lemon honey nose. Blossom and wax. Pure +. Super clear and vibrant palate is difficult to spit out. Perhaps a little contained on the finish but my what a lovely wine.
Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fumé 2009 (Pouilly-Fumé, Loire, France)
Showing the warmth of the vintage a fraction this year.
Nice gravelly edge to the nose with good smoky varietal characters. A little lean this year even. Solid palate but seems to be missing something. Enjoyable but not grand or persistent enough.
Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2010 (Martinborough, New Zealand)
Oh so polished and pretty wine this, particularly when placed in the same lineup as the Burgundies. Super refined and wonderfully silken palate is so very addictive. I'd drink this sooner rather than later.
Pretty and perfumed red fruit nose. Very pretty and delicate in context. Super polished and fine palate looks a little lighter this year but the form is excellent. Briary finish too. Much enjoyment here for drinking soonish.
Geantet-Panisot Bourgogne 09 (Burgundy, France)
Shows plenty of Burgundian stylin' but I'm looking for more than that in a $55 Pinot Noir. The Ata Rangi is so close and offers much more structure and enjoyment methinks...
Modern and pretty and lush. Open. Looks like high yielding fruit. Form is not amazing but has pleasure. Certainly what you'd hope for in a basic Bourgogne.
Domaine de L'Arlot Nuits-St. Georges 'Clos de Forets Saint-Georges' 1er Cru 2009 (Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy, France)
Such a masculine wine this one. Masculine, powerful and dense, with a real sense that this will be a long lived beast indeed. So it should be for a $140 wine perhaps, but you're getting what you pay for here.
Big warm and ripe nose this one with a proper sappy varietal action. Lovely firm bitter tannins the highlight of what is a quite ripe palate. So firm and almost angry in that intensity. Serious, ripe yet still with that old school structure. I'd buy some, but stick it away for years.
Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf du Pape 2009 (Châteauneuf du Pape, Southern Rhone, France)
I love CnDP, or at least I love it when it is as minerally and, well, not bretty, as this. Ripe, but not overripe, there is much red fruit love with this one.
Currants but with a whiff of violets and spice on the nose. Real licorice old vine wildness. Superb tannins but so dry and Mourvedre meaty. Lovely sinewy and very firm blocky tannins. Excellent firm style. Classic Rhone action with all the meaty trimmings. I think I'd drink this earlier than some other vintages as it is so generous already, though it is going to live. Big yes.
Guigal St.-Joseph Vignes de l'Hospice 2007 (St-Joseph, Northern Rhone, France)
I've loved this before (here) and it again didn't disappoint. If you like the Northern Rhone style this has to be held up as something of an archetype. Yes it is a $160 odd dollar wine but so very much here to like. Yum. Yes please.
Has that lovely softened slow cooked beef meats the polish of red fruit. Hint of apricot fruit over bacon fat and deep dark black fruit palate. Super smooth oak. Excellent intensity and grainy finish that is top shelf. Extremely fine and powerful. Top end wine indeed.
Poderi Aldo Conterno Il Favot 2007 (Langhe, Piedmont, Italy)
I've had much better vintages of this. Lacks a little freshness.
A little scorched earth 2007 desiccation on the nose. Lots of oak. Too much oak for the fruit really, making it a little one dimensional. Missing tannins through the finish. Disappointing and a little dull.
Drink: Now - 2018
Gaja Barbaresco 2007 (Barbaresco, Italy)
I've had several vintages of this wine and am yet to be really impressed. Oaky, dull and mono-dimensional. Priced typically Gaja stratospheric. You can pick up two and a half bottles of good single-vineyard Barbaresco for this ($300 odd) price...
Almost candied edge to the red fruit nose. Lots of oak too. Super smooth palate has a very solid oak veneer, a hint of desiccation and again a lack of real definition and length. Good but not great enough. Price is maddening. It will improve no doubt but difficult to warm to it at this level.
Château Certan de May 2008 (Pomerol, Bordeaux, France)
Looking less than fresh in this instant and anything but fragrant and luscious like it can be.
Rather ripe and slightly cooked nose. Looks jammy. Great mid palate texture but can't help notice that warm edge. Hardish. Will it pop out?
Château du Tertre 2006 (Margaux, Bordeaux, France)
Ah Margaux. Along with Pomerol, my favourite Bordeaux appellation. This isn't quite a superstar wine, but it does carry plenty of character already. Already quite forward, if still toughly tannic.
Evolved and meaty nose, with a little merde and spice. Almost metallic edge to the tannins that are tea leaf bitter. Very thick through the middle, but has the power to suggest it will get meatier and more complex over the long term.