wa2.gif (4241 bytes)

abut9.gif (3095 bytes)

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

abut11.gif (4039 bytes)


Waitrose Christmas press tasting
Part 4 Italian, Portuguese and Spanish reds (24 wines assessed)

October 2002  

See also: Part 1, Fine wines; Part 2, fortified wines; Part 3, white wines

Da Luca Primitivo/Merlot 2001 Puglia, Italy
60% Primitivo, 40% Merlot, aged in French and American oak barrels for 6 months. Substantial wine showing chunky, savoury berry fruit and good acidity. An attractive food wine. Very good (£4.99)

Emporio Barrel Aged Syrah 2000 Sicilia, Italy
Deep coloured. Very sweet forward vanilla- and cinnamon-laced nose. Palate shows rich, sweet berry fruit. Plenty of oak influence here. A crowd pleaser. Very good (£5.99)

Natural State Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2001, Italy
50% aged in French oak for 7 months. Inky red/purple colour. Vivid sweet fruit on the nose with a savoury edge. Very appealing chunky modern fruit on the palate with some spicy structure. Lovely modern wine with lots of intense fruit. Modern but very good. Very good+ (£4.99)

Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 1999 Tuscany, Italy
Slightly fading rim. Lovely nose of tea, leather herbs and spice. Expressive savoury, spicy palate with good acidity and spicy dry tannins. Classically styled and old fashioned in a nice sense. Very good+ (£9.99)

Tenuta Nuova Casanova de Neri Brunello di Montalcino 1996 Piedomont, Italy
Aged in 500 litre French oak barrels for 30 months. Wonderfully expressive nose displays vivid herb and spice notes. Expressive savoury, spicy palate with good acidity. A brilliant old world wine in a slightly old fashioned style. Excellent (£19.50)

Campagnola Vignale Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1998, Veneto, Italy
Grapes for this wine are left to dry on racks until February. Rounded, herby caramel-edged nose. This leads to a rich-textured dense palate with some sweetness to the herby cherry fruit. Clean and finishes dry. Very good+ (£12.99)

Tedeschi Monte Olmi Amarone Classico 1999, Veneto, Italy
Harvested by hand in early October and dried on racks until mid January. Red black colour with a fading rim. Intense sweet nose with rounded herbal fruit. Rich-textured palate is intense with ripe, sweet fruit, firm tannins and good acidity. Quite tight now. With good concentration this is intense and unusual. Very good/excellent (£26.50)

Altano 2000, Douro, Portugal
Tight herbal fruit dominates this wine, which shows good acidity and some Douro character. A bit light. Good/very good (£4.99)

Dourosa 2001, Douro, Portugal
Developed by Waitrose and Sophia Bergqvist at Quinta de la Rosa, part of this blend is aged in barrel, but most sees no wood. Really appealing nose with ripe, inky, liquoricey fruit. The palate shows lovely herbal fruit characters with plenty of Douro personality. Ripe and tasty. Very good+ (£6.99)

JP Ramos Trincadeira 2000 Alentejo, Portugal
Aged for 6 months in French oak barrels. Expressive, spicy, herbal fruit on the nose. The palate displays lovely sweet berry fruit with a spicy edge. Attractive modern-styled wine with some personality. Very good+ (£6.99)

Viña Fuerte Garnacha 2001, Catalayud, Spain
Made from 40 year old bush vines. Lovely rich juicy berry fruit dominates, with a sweet character and a spicy finish. Attractive commercial style. Good/very good (£3.99)

Monasterio de Santa Ana Monastrell 2001, Jumilla, Spain
Old-vine Mourvèdre (known in Spain as Monastrell) aged for three months in French and American oak barrels. Deep coloured. Brooding ripe liquoricey fruit on nose; chunky ripe fruit on the palate with a sweet spicy character. Modern and well made for the price. Very good (£4.99)

Marqués de Pagollanao 1999 Cigales, Spain
Appealing open herbal nose has some sweetness. Slightly old fashioned? Midweight palate has herby character and some southern spices. Unusual wine. Very good (£5.99)

Abadia Retuerta Rívola 2000, Castilla y Leon, Spain
A blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Very restrained on the nose, which is a little closed. The palate is herby and full with some well judged oaking and taut fruit. Not showing too well at the moment. Very good (£7.99)

Finca Sobreño Crianza 1999 Toro, Spain
100% Tempranillo (known here as Tinto de Toro), barrel aged for 6 months in American oak. Sweet herbal edge to the tarry, liqouricey fruit on the nose. Chewy, chunky palate shows a good concentration of slightly sweet, herby fruit with a spicy finish. A vivid wine that’s quite impressive. (£6.99)

Celler de Capçanes Mas Collet 2000 Monsant, Spain
A blend of Grenache, Tempranillo, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 9 months in a mixture of French and American barrels. The nose displays ripe black fruits with some sweet tarry notes. The palate is well judged with dense fruit, firm tannins and some spicy oak. It’s a nicely balanced wine that avoids being jammy or confected while succeeding in being modern and rich. Very good/excellent (£5.99)

Mas Igneus FA206 2000, Priorat, Spain
70% Garnacha, 20% Cariñena, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Syrah, aged in 2 year old barrels for 6 months. Classy label. There's an intriguing herbal, mineralic twist to the richly fruited nose. The palate displays dense fruit with good acidity and a chalky, mineralic edge. Nicely poised and classically styled, capturing some of the Priorat 'terroir' character. Very good/excellent (£9.99)

Cosme Palacio y Hermanos Rioja 1998, Spain
Fading rim. Herbal edge to the nose. The palate is a bit light but well balanced and nicely poised. Doesn’t show any of that old-fashioned American oak character which many Riojas at this price display, which is a good thing. Very good (£6.99)

Muga Rioja Reserva Seleccion Especial 1996, Spain
Impressive. As well as the usual Tempranillo, there’s 20% Grenache and 10% in total of Mazuelo and Graciano, with long ageing in new oak barriques. Lovely sweet ripe nose with deep brooding herbal complexity and a hint of coconut and spice. The palate is well balanced with more sweet herbal fruit character. Drinking very well now in quite a traditional style. Very good/excellent (£15.99)

Raimat Tempranillo 1998 Costers del Segre, Spain
Striking vivid fruit on the nose. The palate displays dense, rich, herb-tinged fruit with good acid and structure. Spicy, oaky finish: a crowd pleaser. Very good+ (£6.99)

Vega de Castilla 1999 Ribera del Duero, Spain
Slightly faded colour. Open, spicy, herbal nose. The slightly old fashioned palate is herby and spicy, with rather faded fruit. Nicely savoury. Very good (£6.49)

Marqués de Griñón Dominio de Valdepusa Syrah 2000 Vino de Mesa Toledo, Spain
The Syrah vines at the 42 ha Valdepusa estate were 9 years old in the 2000 vintage, and modern vineyard technology such as drip irrigation, Smart-Dyson trellising and partial root zone drying has helped fashion a wine of sheer brilliance, albeit in a very modern style. Inky red/black colour, there's huge rush of juicy, ripe, sweet raspberry and blackcurrant fruit. Pure and intense. The palate shows lovely intense, thick ripe fruit with liquoricey complexity, good acidity and huge concentration. Stunningly modern but brilliant with it. My only slight criticism is that the 15% alcohol makes it taste a tiny bit hot. Very good/excellent (£12.99)

Back to top