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Cadman Fine Wines: new merchant reviewed

Cadman Fine Wines is an impressive new wine merchant, with a fantastic website and a compact, hand-selected range of largely modern European classics. I tried a selection of the wines they sent me, and my full notes are below. I should add that I have no commercial connection with them; I just like the concept (focused buying rather than a scattergun, must cover everything approach) and their selection seems pretty good.

Millennium Dolç 2002 Terra Alta, Catalunya, Spain
Xavier Clua’s amazing sweet Garnacha was harvested on 7th November, put into barriques on 30 December and bottled in April 2004. Just three barriques of this oddity were made, and it is remarkable stuff. It has a vivid, spicy, sweet nose with a distinctive aroma of smooth blackcurrant jam. It’s remarkably rich and pure. On the palate it is vivid, bold and spicy with a great conentration of sweet blackcurrants and blackberries, with a tannic, spicy backbone. Good acidity provides focus. This is a profound effort: quirky, but utterly delicious. Excellent 95/100 (£19.99 Cadman Fine Wines) 04/05

Millenium 2001 Terra Alta, Catalunya, Spain
Xavier Clua Coma’s red wine shows a rich, almost lush spicy nose of dark fruits with a tarry, oaky overlay. It is very sweet and forward but with a more serious minerally note underneath. The palate shows sweet, spicy, slightly stewed ripe fruits, which hides a fairly stern tannic structure but ripe tannins. May evolve in very interesting ways: this is modern but interesting. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£18.99) 03/05

Meroi Sauvignon 2003 Colli Orientali del Friuli, Italy
Very rich, exotic, in-your-face nose of sweet, rich, herb-tinged melony fruit with a distinctive vanilla and cream edge, coupled with some spiciness. The palate is bold, rich and dense with powerful creamy oak and deep herby fruit. The acidity is there to keep things fresh, but this is a striking rich wine with big oak impact. I’m not totally sure about it, although I suspect some will love it. Complex and full. Very good+ 89/100 (£14.99 Cadman Fine Wines) 02/05

Meroi Ros di Biuri 2002 Colli Orientali del Friuli, Italy
Minimalist label is appealing. Dark coloured wine with a lovely tightly-focused nose of bright red and black fruits with a roasted, tarry, minerally edge. Fresh and bright. The palate is cool climate with dense, spicy, slightly mineralic fruit braced by high acidity. Modern, focused and sophisticated with good acidity. Food compatible. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£19.99 Cadman Fine Wines) 02/05

Gérard Neumayer Tokay Pinot Gris Coteaux des Chatreux 2002 Alsace, France
Tight but appealing nose of honeyed, smoky fruit with a sweet herby character. There are some savoury straw-like notes as well. The palate is dense with a spicy edge to the rich-textured fruit. Good acidity keeps things fresh while a slightly sweet fruity character provides plumpness and weight on the palate. Just off dry, but savoury enough to be very food compatible. Lovely fresh finish. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£11.99 Cadman Fine Wines) 03/05

Château La Rousselle 2000 Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
High-toned spicy, roast coffee edge to the restrained dark fruits nose. The palate is savouy and quite classic with some sweetness to the ripe fruit, but the overall impression is that of a tight, savoury wine with good structure, acidity and an earthy, spicy edge. Nicely proportioned this is a food friendly style. Very classic. Very good+ 88/100 (Cadman Fine Wines) 03/05

Primitiu de Bellmunt 2000 Priorat, Spain
Quite an evolved, baked, earthy spicy nose, which is tight and dusty. The palate is savoury and very spicy with a rather bitter, drying finish. Nice earthy, spicy character, but I wonder whether this is showing as well as it can. Very good+ 88/100 (£27.49 Cadman Fine Eines) 03/05

Fattoria Le Fonti Vito Arturo 2000 IGT Toscana Sangiovese
Since 1994 Paolo Caciorgna has been consultant winemaker at Le Fonti, and this fairly serious wine is from a single vineyard replanted in 1991. It’s modern, yet it’s classic, at the same time, showing a distinct sense of place. A slightly faded red colour, the nose is vivid and bright with spice and complex dusty red fruits. There’s some tar, here, too, together with acid freshness. The palate is intensely savoury and initially very tight, with firm tannins, a dusty earthiness, and high acidity. There’s new oak present, but this meshes well with the intense spicy fruit. Nothing stands out awkwardly. With time in the glass it opens out: fantastic stuff, very Tuscan, but modern with it in the best possible way. Very good/excellent 94/100 (£19.99 Cadman Fine Wines)  04/05

Fattoria Le Fonti Chianti Classico Reserva 2000 Tuscany, Italy
Subtly tarry, spicy dark fruits nose with an earthy, herby seriousness. The palate is savoury, tarry and spicy with quite a rich texture and some earthy notes, coupled with good acidity. It’s chewy, spicy and minerally with a tannic finish – slightly awkward at the moment, but this is a fairly serious wine in a semi-traditional style. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£16.99 Cadman Fine Wines) 05/05

Château Louvie 2002 St Emilion, Bordeaux, France
An attractive nose of savoury blackcurrant and red fruits with some earthiness and subtle roasted oak. The palate is balanced with blackcurrant fruit sweetness (not too much, though) good acidity and noticeable (although not obtrusive) oak. Savoury and spicy. Balance is the key here: a delicious claret. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£14.99 Cadman Fine Wines) 05/05

Château Veyry 2001 Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux, France
Subtle rounded edge to the firm dark fruits nose. Quite tight and tannic with a good density of dark fruits and good acidity. I like the structure here, which is coupled with classy oak and dense dark fruit. Roasted, slightly coffee-ish edge. Quite sophisticated and modern this is a very savoury food wine that needs time. Very good+ 89/100 (£19.99 Cadman Fine Wines) 03/05

Contact: www.cadmanfinewines.co.uk 

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