Montes “M” vertical 2001-2010 tasting with Aurelio Montes

Dec 04, 12 Montes “M” vertical 2001-2010 tasting with Aurelio Montes

Posted by in Chile

Chilean winery owner Aurelio Montes was in town the other day on a quick visit to promote his wines. Montes is a Chilean winery, that even with a production of 7 million bottles a year, is considered a small to medium sized winery in South America. Aurelio brought along a vertical of their iconic wine, Montes Alpha M 2001 – 2010 for us to try. Montes makes a variety of wines but the one that Aurelio is most proud of is their “M” series. A Bordeaux blend, it is comprised of 80% cabernet sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% merlot and 5% petit verdot. Aurelio compares his wines to those of the Left Bank and told us that it was recently blind tasted in Los Angeles against some of the best Bordeaux in the world. Surprisingly for many, it came out second only to Chateau Lafite. Not bad for a New World wine that’s only been in production for a short time. Before we tasted through the wines, Aurelio advised us that although all the vintages are good, the even numbered years are a bit weaker when compared to the odd numbered years. So, without further ado, my notes on the Montes Alpha M 2001 – 2010, a really good tasting in my opinion… Montes Alpha M 2001: A round and polished wine, licorice and black fruits on the nose with excellent acidity and a lush nose. An intense but not jammy palate with round tannins and a long finish. After awhile notes of freshly brewed tea began to show on the finish. Montes Alpha M 2003: Blackberries and a hint of mint on an integrated, well structured wine, the tannins were not as soft as the 2001 but I didn’t think that was a bad thing. Long finish with a minty freshness to it. Montes Alpha M 2004: This was the wine that came second to Lafite. The year was cooler then average which gave a wine with less intensity in colour, ripe red fruits on the nose...

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Villa Maria wines and the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Oct 16, 11 Villa Maria wines and the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Posted by in New Zealand wine

I went to a performance of the  London  Philharmonic Orchestra the other night as a guest of Villa Maria wines. I remember Villa Maria from my days at Oddbins but haven’t really had an opportunity to try their wines. I see them occasionally in the supermarket but that’s about it. Villa Maria has been supporting the London Philharmonic Orchestra for the past 4 years and lays on a hospitality bar for the LPO, when they perform at the Southbank  Royal Festival Hall.  It was a civilized way to start the evening, mingling with members of the orchestra and other guests, nibbling on canapes and sipping on Villa Maria wines.There were a variety of wines on tasting including the rose, the sauvingon blanc and the 2009 Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot/Cabernet, a Bordeaux blend. The 2009 was an easy going, very drinkable red wine and perfect as an aperitif, although at 13.5%, you do have to be careful you don’t drink too much of it with canapes. We were there to hear Yannick Nezet-Seguin from Montreal conduct the orchestra. I do enjoy attending such events and one of the highlights has to be the 87 year old pianist, Aldo Ciccolini. He was amazing, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K466 with such energy. I hope I have even a 10th of Aldo’s pizzazz when I’m in my 80’s. I thinks it’s great that Villa Maria supports the arts, especially in light of the recent budget cuts. A big thank you to Villa Maria for inviting me to the performance. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Clos du Val Merlot 05, Cab. 05 – Napa Valley

Getting a winery tour or tasting can be difficult with some wineries requiring reservations up to 3 months in advance! Fortunately, many have tasting rooms that don’t need any such thing. Driving down the road, you just look for the little A-board signs sitting by the roadway, inviting you in for a taste. Clos du Val was once such winery. I’ve had their wines before and vaguely remember enjoying them. The hostess was a very friendly sort, although she did ask me for ID to prove I was old enough to drink. Let me tell you, she made my day! Clos du Val was set up 35 years ago by the Frenchman Bernard Portet. His mission was to produce classic estate-style wines and to that end, I think he has succeeded. I tasted and bought the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2005 Merlot. The 2005 Napa Valley Merlot is a Bordeaux blend, as are most of the wines from Clos du Val, primarily merlot with a bit of cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon added to give it structure and balance. California merlot can be flabby and jammy but this blend was most definitely not. Pleasing aromas of plum and blackfruits, a rounded, full bodied mouthfeel and juicy blackberry, licorice and sweet spice flavours. Well balanced acidity was another big plus along with a nice long finish. A smoothly elegant merlot to have on it’s own or with a meal. The 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Bordeaux style blend of cabernet sauvignon, cab franc and merlot. It’s big and meaty with plenty of tannins in there to help it age gracefully. Lots of currants, blackberry and cassis with a generous bit of spiciness and cedar to finish it off. One of the perks of dining out in Napa is that all the restaurants allow you to bring in your own wine for a reasonable corkage fee (usually between $15 – $20). I took one of my purchases with me to dinner at...

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