Friday, October 14, 2011

Aldo Conterno Barolo 2004

I bow to whimsy more than occasionally. Today that whimsy is a bottle of something I've been wanting to try for sometime, and a grey October Friday seemed the perfect time to do it. Autumn and Barolo go together like, well, like Autumn and red Burgundy - they are almost perfectly suited. That rusty, rustic crunch sits well with the falling leaves and slow-cooked stews of the season.

Stained-glass red - pale, rusty and bright.

Dusty nose with dried strawberries, raspberries and cranberries. It tugs at the nostrils and gets the mouth watering. There's hay and leather on the edges as well.

My goodness. Stunning palate that starts softly but quickly shrieks with juicy, crunchy, soured red berries - cranberries, raspberries and strawberries - all so juicy that you wince, squint and blink a bit. Then, beneath the juicy fruit, the dust, leather and tar-like tannins assert themselves, balancing that juiciness with a firm grip that goes from silk to suede to a prickly hint of sandpaper. Structure, charm, grip, fruit, earth, poise and balance, this pretty much has everything I wanted it to, and perhaps a bit more. Still incredibly youthful.

There is no hint whatsoever of the 14.5% alcohol.

Fantastic stuff.


Tasted at Shorehead 14 October 2011

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Chateau Margaux 1990 from Imperial (600cl)

Fortune smiled upon me this morning when a restauranteur friend of mine invited me around to taste the remains of something remarkable. It's important to resist the 'awe' factor of such wines - to not let their reputation and price precede them and potentially cloud your judgement. As a self-confessed Bordeaux cynic, my guard was up, but it's difficult not to be intimidated/impressed by a six litre bottle worth somewhere in the region of £8,000. Especially from such a legendary estate.

I should note that this had been opened and decanted the night before, though seemed none the worse for it.

Mature colour, but no amber - red rust and deep leather.

Quite a lot going on here. Cedar, licorice, saddles and Christmas spice. Glazed game, compote blueberries and currants - both red & black. Sugar-coated dust, pipe leaf tobacco and candied violets. All this on the nose and it's all intense, pervading and powerful. It's also quite addictive - I keep shoving my face in the glass.

Still young. Piercing, fresh, juicy berries - cherries, raspberries, with real crunch to them. Bright, vibrant and incredibly focused. The grip and tannins begin to take hold mid palate, at first softly, like suede or velvet, though growing more assertive by the finish, which is dark, tight and suggests a very, very long future ahead. Beautifully layered.


Tasted at The Seafood Restaurant, St Andrews, 4 October 2011