Posted on June 13th, 2008
Some very pleasant surprises at “open wine” on Wednesday. This month we had it in Enowine, in Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
Highlights were an unplanned talk on Baron de Ley and tasting an Austrian Grüner Veltliner from 1983.
Enowine tasting cards
Instead of the previous open wine approach which involved buying a bottle and opening it, we all bought tasting cards for Enowine’s tasting system. At any one time they have between 40 and 50 bottles of wine open, kept fresh by an inert gas “Enomatic” system.
You use credit from your card to purchase small tasting amounts. It’s a great way to try a few wines to compare and contrast them.
Despite the horrible weather, my thoughts were still of summer and I opted to try some whites.
Becker Kronenbourg 2001, Alsace, €16.95
This one smelled of flowers and honey and tasted a little of Gewurtztraminer like spice at the end (Gewurtz is another grape variety grown in Alsace that generally has a distinctive spiciness). Overall, pretty good and similar to last month’s Meyer-Fonné ’04 from Alsace
Wild Earth Riesling 2006, Central Otago €19.95
This one is from Central Otago, in New Zealand’s South Island. I was expecting something similar to the Spy Valley Riesling from Marlborough at last month’s tasting, but it was very different. Softer, more mellow less of the zingyness from Clare Valley’s Grosset Polish Hill 2006. I would probably put it half way between Alsace and Clare Valley with the best of both worlds.
Sybille Kuntz, Dreistern Riesling, Mosel, €32.50
This is getting on a little in price, but you can definitely taste the difference. Lots of nice citrus flavours in balance with a chalky, minerally taste with a really long finish.
It’s pretty safe to say I’ve tried my fair share of Rieslings over the last month and the Sybille Kuntz Dreistern is up there with the best of them. I’d tried a “Sybille Kuntz Riesling” before, the Dreistern’s little sister and a little more affordable at €18.50.
Wither Hills Chardonnay, Marlborough, 2005 €15.99
Marlborough is known for its distinctive Sauvignon Blancs, but there are more and more Chardonnays from there appearing on the shelves.
This one is all about mango to smell and to taste. A lovely well balanced full flavoured fruity wine.
L de Vallouit, Saint Joseph 2002, €18.99
Saint Joseph, in the northern Rhône, is normally associated with Syrah, but this is a white and unlike any of the others I tried on Wednesday.
Instead of fruity, this wine is dry, herbal, savoury. In fact nutty is probably a better description, like ground almonds. A lovely finish too.
Cullen, Sauvignon-Semillon, Margaret River 2006, €22.99
Crisp, acidic and utterly forgettable.
Alexander Fontein Sauvignon Blanc, Coastal Region South Africa 2007, €13.99
Back in December, I tried a Delaire Chardonnay that I thought smelled of pine needles. This had a bit of the same thing going. Something like mint, eucalyptus or pine sap to smell. There was quite a woody taste to the wine, but overall it was quite decent and an alternative to the Sauvignon Blancs from Marlborough worth trying.
Seville Estate Pinot Gris 2004, Victoria, €18.99
Melons, melons, melons on the nose and in the gob. Soft ripe gala melons to be exact. Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio gets a bad rap from all angles and most of it is wine snobbery. I’m not embarrassed to say that I liked this one.
Baron de Ley Rioja presentation
After trying the whites, we were pleasantly surprised by a visit from Baron de Ley vineyards. They were upstairs having dinner and one of the guys popped down and gave us an interesting talk on how they make wine in Rioja.
Two bottles were opened, a traditional Rioja style and a more modern one.
Baron de Ley Reserva 2003 (€15.99)
A “Kate Blanchett”, elegantly and perfumed wine from 100% Tempranillo with typical vanilla and coconut on the nose. The wine spends 20 months in new American oak, and then 24 months in the bottle. Grapes are grown in the Rioja Baja, which is quite Mediterranean, and yields are low.
Baron de Ley Finca Monasterio 2001 (€24.99)
A bigger, richer and spicier curvaceous “Scarlett Johansson”, from 80% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a more “modern” wine, though the making of it is meticulous. Grapes are grown in Mendavia, are handsorted with up to 20% discarded.
French oak casks are used to store the wine for 18 months.
Thanks to Hakan & Elodie at Enowine
A special thanks to both Hakan & Elodie who set up the evening and arranged the nibbles and, of course, for the Baron de Ley talk.
Hakan was on hand for the whole evening to give help, hints and tips on all of the wines we tried, so thank you very much for that. It made for a really enjoyable evening.
This Monday 16th in Enowine: Icon wines
There are some big Bordeaux being tasted on Monday night in Enowine. Some different vintages from Lynch Bages (a “vertical” tasting) are being put into the enomatic system, so a great chance to try some reputable wines that are otherwise out of reach for most.