Wine Opus Launch   
12 wines tasted at the launch of a significant new wine book

12 wines shown at the launch of The Wine Opus, a new book from Dorling Kindersley that I was a contributor to. (In the USA this will be called Opus Vino.) They all feature in the book, and are all available in the UK from The Wine Society (

Saladini Pilastri Falerio dei Colli Ascolani 2009 Umbria, Italy
13% alcohol. This is a blend of Passerina and Pecorino from central Italy, and it’s a total bargain. Lively and fresh with bright, minerally citrus fruit with some grapefruit pith notes. Very crisp, bright and pure. 89/100 (£6.25 The Wine Society)

Pieropan La Rocca Soave Classico 2008 Veneto, Italy
Lovely taut citrus and herb nose with some waxy notes. The palate is quite lovely with some mandarin character and beguiling waxy complexity. Nicely savoury and quite beautiful. 93/100 (£21 The Wine Society)

Grosset Springvale Watervale Riesling 2009 Clare Valley, Australia
Intense, pithy, mineral nose is very limey. The palate is concentrated and intense with powerful citrus flavours and a nice spicy character. A bold, beautiful wine. 92/100 (£21 The Wine Society)

Kumeu River Chardonnay 2006 West Auckland, New Zealand
Very fine, toasty refined nose with real intensity. The palate is complex and taut with nice toastiness and lovely herby, figgy fruit. Rich but balanced, this is just lovely. 92/100  (£15.50 The Wine Society)

COS Pithos 2008 IGT Sicilia, Italy
A blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato, fermented in clay amphorae. Lovely aromatic, spicy dark cherry nose with some savoury, subtly meaty notes. A beautifully perfumed wine. The palate has spicy structure and fresh fruit with a bit of grip and good acidity. Thrilling stuff. 94/100 (£17 The Wine Society)

Viña Leyda Garuma Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Leyda Valley, Chile
Beautiful aromatics here: fresh, mineral and lively combining tropical fruit with grapefruit notes. These carry through to the palate which has a bit of green herbiness, but the defining feature is the lively citrus and grapefruit freshness. Great value for money. 90/100 (£7.95 The Wine Society)

Susana Balbo Brioso 2005 Mendoza, Argentina
13.5% alcohol. Very impressive: with its heavy bottle, I was expecting this Bordeaux-style blend (mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, with Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) to be a big, overripe blockbuster, but instead it is restrained and quite elegant. Spicy and minerally on the nose with a chalky edge to the nicely focused plum and blackberry fruit. Very focused and nicely savoury on the plate with blackberry, plum and blackcurrant fruit, finishing a bit gravelly. Some Bordeaux character here. 93/100 (£20 The Wine Society)

Ben Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz 2007 Barossa Valley, Australia
Rich, dense, fresh, spicy and meaty with some creamy vanilla oak playing a supporting role to the intense fruit. Nice texture with some subtle sappiness and hints of tar. Still bright despite the richness and ripeness of the fruit. 91/100 (£17 The Wine Society)

Josmeyer Gewürztraminer Les Folastries 2005 Alsace, France
Ripe, fresh, fruity and aromatic. This has some of the grapey, lychee characters typical of Gewürz, but also some savoury, herby citrussy notes, adding a bit of seriousness. It’s honeyed and off-dry – a distinctive wine. 91/100 (£14.95 The Wine Society)

Catena Alta Chardonnay 2005 Mendoza, Argentina
Current release is 2007, but there was a little bit of this left, and it’s drinking well now. Complex, bold, rich and toasty on the nose. The palate is bold, rich and dense with lovely fruit and some bready, toasty complexity. Has developed nicely over the last few years and is now peaking, I reckon. 92/100 (£17.50 The Wine Society)

Fontodi Chianti Classico 2007 Tuscany, Italy
Dense, spicy and savoury with nice dark cherry fruit, some plummy depth and firm spiciness. Lively and nicely savoury with good acidity. An impressive Chianti. 91/100 (£16 The Wine Society)

De Martino Legado Carmenère 2008 Maipo, Chile
A big, concentrated wine with intense blackcurrant and blackberry fruit, some lushness, real depth and a spicy, gravelly, chalky edge. It’s a bit of a blockbuster, but there’s some interest here beside the size. Brilliant value for money. 91/100 (£7.95 The Wine Society)

Wines tasted 09/10  
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