wa2.gif (4241 bytes)

abut9.gif (3095 bytes)

abut12.gif (3207 bytes)
abut10.gif (3636 bytes)

abut11.gif (4039 bytes)

Adnams tasting

The Mall Galleries, London
November 2000

Adnams is a well known independent wine merchant that operates as a side-arm of the eponymous brewery in Southwold. They've got a good reputation and their glossy brochure, bolstered by a separate fine wine list, in nicely produced and full of interesting stuff.

This was a rather mixed tasting. The Mall galleries are a lovely location, but the tasting was packed out to the point where trying to get a pour at one of the tables was an uncomfortable experience. This was compounded by the fact that there weren't actually that many wines to try. I tried almost everything, and on the whole was fairly underwhelmed with much of what was on offer.

My picks? The Forrest Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2000 is a stunner, one of the best of its genre, while the Hungarian 'Unpronouncable Grape' 1999 gets my vote for the best value wine in the tasting. Of the reds, the Cortes de Cima reds were impressive (if just a tad expensive), the Bagordi Rioja is quite lovely and the Stonybrook Estate Pinotage is also worth checking out.

The wines

Chaminé 1998, Cortes de Cima, Alentejo, Portugal
A blend of Aragonez, Trincadeira and Periquita, this is made in a very modern style, enhanced by a spell in French and American oak barrels. A cherry red colour, it displays a lovely sweet nose and cherry and liquorice flavours dominate on the palate. Good depth and nice softness to the fruit. Very good. (Adnams £7.40)

Cortes de Cima 1997, Alentejo, Portugal
Predominantly Aragonez with some Periquita and Trincadeira. Modern styled, tasty wine. Good deep red colour with an enticing nose of sweet fruit and cherries. Firm, characterful palate: rich and full flavoured with ripe cherryish fruit. Very good. (Adnams £10.50)

Bagordi Rioja Blanco 1999, Spain
An organic producer from Rioja whose wines I've previously been impressed by. This has a seductive, rich nose: rounded and sweet, with honey, vanilla and coconut which carry through to the dry palate. An unusual, complex white that really impresses. Very good+ (Adnams £5.95)

Bagordi Rioja 1998, Spain
Impressive, fresh young Rioja with a sweetly fruited nose showing caramel and vanilla notes. On the palate this is bright and fairly tannic, with bags of character. Another interesting but unusual wine. Very good+ (Adnams £7.30)

Bagordi Graciano 1998, Rioja, Spain
Graciano is a grape that's now rare in Rioja because of its low yields, not the quality of wine it produces. This is a lovely dark purple colour with a complex, cherryish nose. On the palate there is tart raspberry fruit and firm tannins. It's nice stuff, with high acidity. Very good. (Adnams £8.75)

Viña el Paraiso Chardonnay 1999, Mendoza, Argentina
Clean, modern-styled Chardonnay with good depth. Balanced, lean palate, and not too 'synthetic'. Very good. (Adnams £5.45)

Viña el Paraiso Syrah 1999, Mendoza, Argentina
Bright purple colour this displays lively primary fruit characteristics. It's a rather dull commercial red wine though. (Adnams £5.45)

Domaine de Beaujeau 1999, Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhône, France
From young Merlot and old Carignan vines, vinified at Mas de Gourgonnier. It's a firm, tannic red with bright fruit and good ripeness. Good (Adnams £5.75)

Terrasses d'Eole Viognier 1999, Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, France
From vineyards around Mont Ventoux in the South of France, this displays a modern, lifted, honeyed nose. It's full textured on the palate, but lacks a bit of the typical peachy Viognier character. Nice, clean wine; good, but not in the top tier. (£6.50 Adnams)

Vega Sindoa Chardonnay 1999, Navarra, Spain
A barrel-fermented Chardonnay with a nice, full toasty nose. It is sophisticated, nutty, characterful stuff with great balance and character. Very good+ (Adnams £6.95)

Montagny 'Les Logues' 1998, Caves des Vignerons de Buxy, France
Deep yellow colour with a nice honeyed nose. Quite complex on the palate with nutty, honeyed fruit. Nice complexity and balance; very Mâcon like. Very good. (Adnams £8.95)

Forrest Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2000, Marlborough, New Zealand
Wild, exotic nose, grassy and aromatic. This is a huge Sauvignon with masses of ripe fruit, nice texture, and good balance of fruit and acid. Stunning stuff in the classic Cloudy Bay/Marlborough style. Very good/excellent (Adnams £7.95)

Cullen Estate Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 1998, Margaret River, Australia
Organically produced and barrel fermented with natural yeasts. Classy white with a sophisticated toasty nose and seamless palate, with ripe, complex fruit. Really impressive stuff, but not cheap. Very good/excellent (Adnams £11.95)

The Unpronounceable Grape, Cserszegi Fuszeres 1999, Tolna, Hungary
Clever marketing to try to sell this wine made from a member of the Gewürztraminer family. It's a really attractive wine, with a lovely, bright, sweetly floral nose and a bone-dry, crisp palate. Lovely quaffer for a bargain price. Very good+ (Adnams £3.75)

J. L. Wolf Pinot Gris 1999, Pfalz, Germany
From Ernie Loosen's 'other' estate in the Pfalz, this shows a neutral nose with a hint of spice. On the palate it is lively, fresh and dry. Overall, though, I find it lacking a great deal of character, which is a shame. OK/good (Adnams £6.50)

Domaine de Villeneuve Châteauneuf du Pape 1997, France
A biodynamic wine from a slightly difficult vintage in Châteaneuf. It has a bright herby nose and earthy, herby, spicy fruit on the palate. Good concentration and structure; quite typical of the region without being top drawer. Good+ (Adnams £14.95)

Tim Gramp Grenache 1998, McLaren Vale, Australia
The light cherry colour is a bit unexpected in an Aussie wine. This shows ripe, herby, strawberry-tinged fruit. It's sweet and tasty, and despite the first impressions is actually quite complex. Very attractive. Very good+ (Adnams £8.95)

Stonybrook Estate Pinotage 1999, Franschoek, South Africa
Lovely, dense, tannic wine in a modern style. This lacks the rather rustic, funky character that many Pinotages express, and it is better for it. This is impressive stuff, with rich, ripe fruit and nice texture. Very good/excellent. (Adnams £8.95)

Murhpy Goode Zinfandel 1998, Alexander Valley, California
Quite light coloured but still full flavoured, with sweet, ripe berry fruits. Very good, in an approachable style. Perhaps a little overpriced? (Adnams £10.95)

Forgotten Field Red 1999, Vinhas da Quinta, Estremadura, Portugal
A blend of Periquita and Cabernet Sauvignon. A bright red colour, this shows fresh, bright cherry fruit. An easy drinker. Good. (Adnams £4.95)

Mountadam Estate 'The Red' Cabernet/Merlot 1996, Eden Valley, Australia
A bit of a monster wine, with a huge, sweet, ripe, menthol-laced wine. On the palate there is sweet minty fruit, and huge concentration. A little bit overdone? For those who like power, ripeness and concentration in their wines. Very good + (Adnams £19.95)

Adnams Selection White Burgundy 1999 (Mâcon Chardonnay)
This is quite an impressive modern-styled Mâcon Chardonnay, showing ripe fruit with some complex honey and spice notes. Good balance and concentration. Very good (Adnams £6.50)

Adnams Selection Australian Chardonnay 2000, Langhorne Creek, Australia
Pretty restrained for an Aussie Chard, with spicy, savoury character and good balance. Good concentration and moderate oaking. Very good (Adnams £6.50)

'Aurora' Manzanilla, Pedro Romero, Jerez, Spain
Extreme, marine-like nose of piercing, salty, nutty aromas. Complex and fresh on the palate. Delicious, but a little over the top if you are not used to the style. Very good+ (Adnams £6.95)

Adnams Fino, Pale Dry
Attractive nose with a salty, nutty character. Great balance and freshness on the palate. Good food compatibility. Very good+ (Adnams £5.95)

Adnams Amontillado, Pale Medium Dry
Soft and rich with a touch of residual sugar. Nice stuff. Very good, if not all that authentic. (Adnams £5.95)

Oloroso Secco 'El Alamo', Pedro Romero
Muted nose with a dry, bitter palate and some nutty richness. Good. (Adnams £7.95)


Contact details:
Adnams Wine Merchants
Sole Bay Brewery
Suffolk IP18 6JW
E-mail: wines@adnams.co.uk
Tel: 01502 727222 Fax: 01502 727223

Back to top