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Friday, February 23, 2018 32° Partly sunny

The Grand Wine Experience of 2017


By Gene Gonzalez

CHEERS TO 2017 From left: Mcraewood Shiraz; and Lustau Pedro Ximenez

CHEERS TO 2017 From left: Mcraewood Shiraz; and Lustau Pedro Ximenez

Every late November, foodies and vinophiles look forward to the country’s biggest tasting of wines and the past years have included  some well selected spirits  paired with a huge buffet of “friendly” food. I immediately had to scribble on a note pad lest I be overtaken the effects of a huge variety to sample. Here are some of my tasting notes for the year’s event:

Trivento – This was my first stop being a Malbec fancier.

Golden Reserve – Being one of the top 15 Malbecs of the world, lots of umami with a flowery violet notes, pungent and sweet spices, plums, berries, coffee, and pipe tobacco.

Eolo – Brought in just for the event, layered flavor of black cherry, charred coconut, and ripe blue berries with round tannins. I hope we get an allotment of this.

Trivento Methode Traditional – This sparkling champagne method style got our palates happy with a bubbly that had a pleasant stone fruit acidity with an interplay of fresh peas and nectarines with a fragrant custard finish. This will be my New Year wine for downing enjoyable glassfuls of.

Ramon Bilabo – I love the easy drinking style of these wines especially for those who feel that wine should cost no more than what is on your plate. Of course, the premium wines of this line can hold their own against other Spanish makers.

Ramon Bilboa Grand Reserva 2010 – sensual, sandalwood notes, ripe fruit, and blackberry aromas with sweet spices, balsamic, and creamy notes due to 30 months in American Oak.

Mirto 2005 – Aromas are complex from dark toast, sandalwood, blackberries, great layers of fruit, leather, and spices. At 2005, has longevity.

Ramon Bilbao Rosado 2016 – Salmon-colored bone dry made from garnacha tinta, light citrus with subtle notes of green plum’s nectarines. Great with paellas, arroz, and marinated tapas.

Arzuaga – I tasted the Crianza 2014 and Reserva 2011. I felt that the Crianza was rich and great for drinking now with good value. Soft, hazy, caramel, and book notes of violets. Spicy and cacao notes come out at the very end.

Piramminia – Saw winemaker Mark Conroy showing dark his Iron House, a true Shiraz classic with a deep chocolate blueberry and black pepper notes.

Piramminia petit Verdot 2015 – This is the wine to watch for as he gave me a tip because it is the best among a 20 years horizontal.

The Cover Drive – This is one of the late Jim Barry style wines. A coonaword Cabernet, Medium, Spicy, Elegant, and Cranberry notes but lacks the depth of a true Jim Barry style.

Mcraewood Shiraz – Another Jim Barry style wine that seems to go on the Medium Bodied, good blueberries on the palate but rather thin.

Henscke Harry’s 7 – This was a great favorite when it first came out. A Mataro – Viogueir blend to show what seems to be a Rhane style with its liquorice dried fruit, pepper, and plums with a silky mouth feel!

Menagea Trois Zinfandel – Quite exciting to try a Zinfandel with Berry and Cola notes on this full and generous red wine.

Francis Coppola – Tried the highly publicized Director’s Cut and the Claret. Both were a little too different from when I tried the first releases of a couple of decades ago.

Foppinano Vineyards Petit Sirale 2012 – Elegant, medium bodied, fresh with ripe cranberries, and aromas of ripening berries. Pungent spice with Cola notes.

Napa Angel by Montes – Just had to have a survey of this Cab Sauvignon as it is on its phase out lots of sweet berries and menthol.

Hakushika – having had a good load, I decided to take a water break and try out some sake. I ended up with a Jinro Mango freeze that came from a granite machine, but now it was time to try out a couple of interesting sakes from this very old prestigious brand since 1667.

Hakushika Ginjo Namachozo – wonderfully fruity, refreshing with light pineapple, candy, and floral notes. This needed some marinated fish or Isakaya dishes.

Hakushika Goka Sennenju – ripe fruit rich with light oxidized notes. This sake would be great with fatty Toro, raw, or ripe marbled wagyu. I could also consider using this instead of white vermouth for a Martini. After this shot, I just had to sit down and nurse a cold Sapporo on draught for the gin attempt.

Fever Tree Booth – Using their premium drink mixers such as tonic waters, ginger beer, and sparkling lemon, Premiere Wines and Spirits set an array of Premium Gins for sampling. Aside from the botanist, my top two favorites of the night G Vine from France made from grapes, vine flowers, and cardamom. The other one was a German gin called monkey 47 from the Black Forest in Germany with a character of cranberry, ginger, cloves, blackberry, and elderflower.

Lustau Pedro Ximenez – This sherry made from the sweetest grapes called Pedro Ximenez was my ender before I took my private taxi. This ultra sweet wine redolent of butter caramel, molasses, figs, dates, and prunes was paired with a square of chocolate cake… I wish there was an ice cream on hand.


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