Cono Sur, Reserva Especial, 2011, Cabernet Sauvignon

I liked this, big refined Cab Sav from Chile.

Winery Fact sheet:


Benziger Family Glen Ellen Winery Tour & Tasting, Sonoma Valley

A very pleasant tour through their “Demeter certified Biodynamic” vineyard and extensive new eco-Cellars. We also witnessed the start of the crush and their new super duper optical grape sorting camera-laser machine.

There is an interesting desplay at the entrance to the vineyard with explains their BioDynamic philosopny which takes an originally organic ethos to a new level through all aspects of the business (

The wines we tasted were:

new 2012 Signaterra “West Rows” Chardonnay

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We tasted this sheltering from the sun under a tree in the vineyard – more like a Sauvignon Blanc than a traditional Oaked Chardonnay, this was a crisp drop with a hint of Melon nose. $32.

2012 Signaterra “La Reyna”Pinot Noir

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Light, cherry fruit with a hint of spice. €49

2011 Oonapais Sonoma Mountain Red

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Names after one of their plots this had tints of Leather and Coffee. $49

2013 Frank Johnson Sauvignon Blanc

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A typical ‘agrume’ Sauvignon Blanc: Lemon, Lime and Apple orchard. $26

2011 Winemaker’s Bend

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A blend of 6 varietals from the various plots, more leather and coffee with a plum nose. Lesley’s favourite. $42

2011 Signaterra “Three Blocks” Cabernet Sauvignon

The star for me: black fruits with a dry finish and great mouthfeel. $49.





Clos Roche Blanche, Sauvignon No 5, 2011, Touraine

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We stayed in Chateau d’Artigny near Montbazon, once home to and fitted out by Francois Coty.

That night we dined in the plush l’Origan restaurant and had the mini tasting menu.

The friendly Maitre d’ recommended the No 5 Sauvignon over the No 2 and it was delicious.

A complex wine with lots of minerality, flinty, metallic well balanced with citrus and gooseberry notes, great blast of grass.

A rare find. Didier Barouillet is the winemaker at Clos Roche Blanche. Worth more investigation.

The bar service at Chateau d’Artigny is brutal but we met some nice Americans from Fargo and had a pleasant nightcap with them as a result.

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Clos Roche Blanches No 5 R

Pic Saint Loup, Gerard Bertrand, Grand Terroir, 2011

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John brought this to dinner, a very mellow, fresh tasting blackberry fruity wine named after a mountain near Montpelier in Languedoc.

Gerard Bertrand, wine notes here, owns 6 wineries in the Languedoc (including Chateau l’Hospitalet / Maison Bertrand) and was once Captain of Stade Francais.

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Ibéricos. Crianza, Rioja, Torres, 2011

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Oakey Tempranillo from Miguel Torres who produce consistently acceptable quality wines.

Not as big a Rioja bang as I’d expected.  Apparently, this is their first Rioja – with Torres notes here.

So perhaps a little more to do to bring it up to Torres benchmark.

Good article from the Independent Wine Review on the 2010 vintage here

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La Croisade, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, 2011, Unoaked, Cotes de Gascogne

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This is a Superquinn Special and I liked the fact that this was unoaked.

Citrusy – but not tropical – notes.

Other reviewers have described this as a Kiwi Style Sauvignon.

Not so, a bit too fruity and flabby for my own taste Crusade. Though good value on sale as a drinks party wine.


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Graf Josef, Gruner Veltliner 2011

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A dinner gift from The Calders.

They say the Gruner Veltliner (GV) is a second fiddle grape to the mighty Riesling but more than a third of growth in Austria is GV and it’s a very tasty drop indeed.

The Corkscrew described it thus:

“Displaying spice, refreshing citrus, apple and lightly exotic flavours, Graf Josef Grüner Veltliner is classic Austrian – elegant and sprightly with a touch of flair. Great to drink on its own”