Tasting Notes for TheFicklePalate

(238 notes on 238 wines)

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Red
2005 Château Labégorce Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
A classy, mature Bordeaux with characteristic bramble, tobacco and notes of filter coffee. The tannin is softening out yet it still feels quite angular. It's lithe yet supple on the palate with a good perfume of dark fruits and a lengthy finish. Has a few more years in the tank. ****
White
A pure, crystalline nose of candied fruit, marzipan and praline. Characteristic nutty palate, with notes of chalk and citrus and tropical notes. This is all tied together with piercing acidity yet it's quite soft for a Savagnin, fresh and rounded. ***1/2
White - Sweet/Dessert
1997 Château Rieussec Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend (view label images)
From a half bottle: Fairly subdued on the nose, plenty of candied orange and apricot with a big hit of burnt caramel. Quite light on the palate but still mouth-coating and rich. I would have liked a little more concentration but a tangy, biscuity finish gave it some pleasant, almost savoury length. While very enjoyable now, I find it hard to see it developing much further from here ****
Red
Deeply scented black fruits pair with capsicum spice, lashings of espresso, dark chocolate and even a hint of liquorice. Tannin was pretty much all softened out but there's plenty of concentration and complexity here, the finish is long and persistent. Excellent ****1/2
Red
Sappy dark fruits, hints of smoked meat and balsamic notes. It's lithe, simple and enjoyable, great value ***
Red
This is surprisingly light bodied and spritely for a Tannat blend, plenty of bright, sappy red fruits and blueberry notes. Soft and supple on the palate with a pleasant spice coming through from the Syrah. This is pure juicy goodness and while it says it can be aged for up to 2 years on the back label, I'd recommend drinking as young as possible so it retains its freshness ***1/2
Red
A Gigondas masquerading as a Chateauneuf and still showing plenty of life; very rich and dense with lots of prune, earth-smoke and plenty of leathery character. The tannin is pretty crunchy but that just adds to the rustic charm. Great length, definitely pair with red meat to get the best out of it ****
Red
2012 Château Capbern-Gasqueton St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
Everything's here you'd expect; brambles and blackcurrant, lashings of toasty mocha coffee and bitter chocolate, a touch smokey as well plus it's all tied together with sappy acidity and soft, well-rounded tannin. It's fairly light in style but makes a great vin de plaisir for mid-term drinking ****
Red
This has all the hallmarks of classic Foillard; rich meaty, smokey texture, the acidity is a touch volatile but gives it an oily vine tomato feel. The tannin has all but softened out and it's in its prime drinking window right now. Finish is perhaps a little short but a cracking effort for what was considered a fairly catastrophic vintage across much of Beaujolais ****
Red
A refined, elegant, smokey Chilean Pinot with plenty of toasty oak lifted by a good dose of dark-fruited acidity. Long, lingering finish. My only criticism would be that the oak is so prevalent it's almost masking the purity of the Pinot, otherwise it's a very classy quaffer for mid-term drinking ****
Red
A juicy little number, silky smooth but with quite a bit going on; there's soft black fruits, hints of chocolate, coffee and garrigue spice. No tannin evident, drink as young as possible ***1/2
White
Some buttery character with a hint of espresso(!) but the lack of acidity and freshness shows this is starting to fade, drink up **1/2
Red
Despite the dark purple colour, this is light as a feather with bright, zippy acidity carrying juicy red cherry and a little spice. Soft but quite short on the finish, a vibrant, enjoyable quaffer, plus the label's pretty funny (as long as you're not a banker) ***1/2
Red
Simple and silky Southern Rhone blend with bold notes of sour cherry, garrigue spice and hints of vanilla. It's lacking in weight and texture but for an everyday quaffer, there's plenty to enjoy here ***
Red
2015 Beyerskloof Synergy Western Cape Pinotage Blend (view label images)
A fairly light, clean Cape Blend with good flavours of blackberry, coffee and tobacco leaf with a peppery edge. It's fairly simple and easy-going (tried against the more complex Kanonkop Kadette Cape Blend), it's lacking a little in intensity and is short and sweet on the finish. ***
Red
Intense notes of dark fruit, coffee and dried tobacco leaf; this tied with ripe, chewy tannin does make the wine quite dry in texture. You need a good piece of roasted meat to get the best out of this beast. On it's own however, it's lacking in freshness and vibrancy ***1/2
Red
Kanonkop's baby wine is a vibrant, quaffable Cape blend, dominated by bitter chocolate and sour cherry, with some of of those slighted charred phenolics you'd expect from Pinotage, however the balance of alcohol and acidity ensures keeps everything in check, plus it's great value for the quality on display here. Drink as young as possible ****
Red - Fortified
Very intense filter coffee and dark chocolate, but not overly sticky or sweet. There's a crispness from the black forest fruits and acidity that makes this quite fresh. Alcohol in perfect balance, this is an ideal accompaniment for a dark chocolate dessert ****
Red
Smooth with an almost creamy texture, this is all coffee mocha and rich chocolate, very well integrated alcohol. I don't feel it's coarse or simple as others have said, it's bold yet soft, very enjoyable ***1/2
Red
Sappy and mineral with all the earthy spice and vegetal character you'd expect from a Loire Cab Franc. Grainy tannin and hints of dark chocolate work well together on the palate, with a zesty sour cherry lasting long on the finish. ***1/2
Red
Juicy red fruits, butterscotch and a slight stalkiness on the nose. It's silky smooth, with a texture and flavour profile of milk chocolate and sweetened butter, but also a bit medicinal, particularly on the finish. A solid effort with all the typicity and hallmarks of a Chilean Carmenere ***
Red
Deep and smoky, with lots of dark cherry with hints of coffee and forest floor. This is still quite angular and structured (as is the Felton Road style), there's a strong backbone of acidity running through it and therefore several years before completely softening out. At the moment however, it's brooding, sapid, juicy NZ Pinot ****
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White
Gorgeous straw colour, this is pure, mineral Chardonnay in excelsis with lashings of rich, chalky, lemon curd and golden butter, that leaves your mouth watering. There's bright, piercing acidity but age has given it a toasty, nutty complexity that lingers long on the finish. Plenty of life ahead but very difficult to resist now ****1/2
Red
Dense and broad, black cherry preserve, filter coffee and dark chocolate all vying for your attention on both nose and palate. While still retaining some tannic bite, it's softened out beautifully, the finish being very long and unctuous. Not sure it will improve further but will certainly keep over the next 3-4 years ****
Red
2013 Château Toulouze Graves de Vayres Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
Bright zippy cherry, notes of smoke, violets and pencil shavings. It's inoffensive, a bit thin and not terribly exciting but for the price you pay, there's little to quibble about here ***
Red
Bright, sapid, plummy fruits, with a lightness of touch given by the acidity that makes the wine dance around the palate. For a Minervois, this is fresh and juicy with a gorgeous lingering blueberry-infused finish, delicious! ****
White
Looks can be deceptive; despite the innocuous colour of a white wine, this is oxidised Fino sherry-style cranked up to 11 with mouth-watering blue-veined cheese, damp forest bark and sea-water taking over on the nose. Plenty of characteristic sous-voile nutty character that you'd expect from Savagnin, but maybe just lacking more of an acidic bite to counter the richness of flavour. Another unique experience from the Jura! ***1/2
Red
Little is known about the Œillade grape variety, other than being a distant cousin of Cinsault and now almost close to extinction. This is just one of the 'forgotten' varieties that Thierry Navarre cultivates and there's plenty to get excited about here. Light and refreshing for a Languedoc red, very floral with layers of black pepper, pomegranate and sappy, juicy cranberry and lingonberry making up the finish. Youthful and vibrant, drink as young as possible; also works well lightly chilled ****
White
Very notable petillance both in the glass and on the palate. Waxy lime on the nose with a good dose of toasty oak character. Despite the bracing acidity, this still feels quite soft, some tropical notes (lychee). The finish is also quite thin and watery. Sadly, this lacks the concentration and intensity that would make it truly exciting. **1/2
White
Luscious and honeyed, this retains the crystalline purity you would expect from Albert Mann. Very tropical, plenty of dried pineapple and papaya which is further concentrated by the residual sugar. There is a soft herbal / gasoline character on the finish, this is ageing gracefully with plenty of life for the future ****
Red
This is a classic, silky Ribera, a brooding melange of dark chocolate, espresso and concentrated black cherry enveloped in a fine, soft tannic structure, and still holding a zesty bite of acidity on the finish. Will hold for several years but difficult to resist now ****1/2
Red
Vibrant and lively, this has a green pepper, leafy note alongside the zesty, crunchy strawberry fruits and perfumed violet. Fine-grained tannin, but also quite hot on the palate. This is no-nonsense, crowd-pleasing fun ***1/2
White - Sparkling
The back label describes the wine as having "taut freshness" and I can't argue with that! This has a weight and balance that certainly sets it apart from Champagne (despite the use of all three main varieties in the blend), crisp lemon zest, green apple and berry fruits pairing with the rich, biscuity texture and very fine mousse. A wine of great purity and concentration. Exemplary fizz! ****1/2
Red
Pure, mineral and very smooth, this is elegant Morgon bursting with sour cherry and sapid redcurrant. Tannin is non-existent, it's the acidity that drives this forward with a gorgeous mid-palate of herbs and menthol. No hard edges here, this is very pretty, very refined ****
Red
Rich and inviting, plenty of (slightly jammy) dark fruits, black pepper and sweet, earthy garrigue spice. The balance is impeccable: it hides it's 14% very well and the smooth, fine tannin and good acidity keeps things supple, mineral and fresh. Drinking very well now ****
Red
About as pure an expression of Cab Franc as you can get, this is fresh and vibrant with a lift of sour cherry on the nose alongside the traditional, earthy character. Very fine tannin and sappy acidity is the perfect match for the crushed mint and perfumed red berry fruits on the palate. Very soft, smooth finish, this works well with or without food but best served lightly chilled to get the best out of the aromatics. ****
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Red
Bright, sappy red berry fruits on the nose but also some greenness that reminds me of unripe Gamay. Juicy, mouth-watering acidity combines well with the redcurrant and cranberry. It's enjoyable enough on its own, there is just a lack of concentration and intensity of fruit which makes it feel less lively than it really should be ***
Red
A densely fruited Priorat that still has enough acidic lift to stop it becoming soupy. Dark blackcurrant and bramble on the nose, good lashings of ground coffee and dark chocolate, with prominent but fine-grained tannin. It's not as expressive or silky as some of its contemporaries but it's a juicy quaffer for mid-term drinking ***1/2
White
Frick makes many of his wines in an oxidative style and this is no exception, so while some may immediately claim its faulty, I'll be as objective as possible; amber gold in colour, an intriguing, honeyed combination of rotting apple puree, apricot jam and golden pastry prominent with a good dose of residual sugar lending texture and body. It's not overly complex but there's good, persistent length. For those who know the producer and appreciate the style (as I do), then you're in for a treat ****
Spirits
Rich, complex nose of strudel, cinnamon and Christmas spice with hints of burnt sugar and toffee apple. This needs a touch of water to soften the alcohol and open up the phenolics. Mouth-coating, with a long penetrating finish, this is serious Calvados. ****
Red
Fresh, supple, thirst-quenching Pinot from the makers of Daumas Gassac. Vibrant sappy raspberry, sweet vanilla and green notes of strawberry leaf combine to give a pure, enjoyable quaffer which is best enjoyed on its own. Drink as young as possible ***1/2
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Red
Soft nose of perfumed red fruits, smooth and easy-going but there is a purveying greenness on both nose (reminds me of greengage and prickly spice) and palate which takes over and somewhat numbs the freshness of the fruit. Best served chilled, it does possess a bloody, gamey character which lifts it above the average Touraine Gamay **1/2
Rosé - Sparkling
Dark pink, almost copper orange in the glass, a good dose of soft, sappy cranberry and raspberry with a decent whack of acidity. It's pleasant enough but lacks the vibrancy to set it out from the crowd. This was the '15 vintage bottling so perhaps the new release will prove more exciting ***
Red
This is a joyous juice monster from Chateau Plaisance in Fronton. The nose is bursting with sappy raspberry and cranberry with a sweet coconut edge. Negrette can be quite heavy so this is given plenty of lift with at least 30% Gamay in the blend. Silky smooth and very quaff-able (only 11.5% abv) this certainly has a spring in its step. ****
White
This displays all the nutty hallmarks you'd expect from a sous voile Jura Chardonnay, there's notes of apricot kernel in abundance on the nose with hints of marzipan and bruised apple. This all carries on through the palate with a pleasant balance of rich lemon curd and zesty acid, delicious! ***1/2
Red
Ripe, dark, chewy black fruits dominate here, there's hints of menthol and smoked meat on the nose, good tannic backbone pairs well with the vanilla softness on the finish. You can barely notice the 14.5% alcohol, this manages to balance richness and vibrancy seemlessly and at great value ****
Red
Inky beetroot colour, light and floral, this is 80% Zweigelt and this reflects the sappy notes of raspberry and sour cherry and the Pinot Noir that makes up the blend lends a slightly meaty texture and soft tannic structure. The joy of this wine is in its simplicity, very easy to enjoy with or without food ****
Red
This light bright juicy red blend (Duras, Braucol & Gamay) certainly feels Beaujolais-esque. Funky nose of forest floor and sappy red fruits, very mellow tannic backbone, fresh and vibrant, Fpr the price you pay, this is joyously irresistible, can be enjoyed with or without food ****
Red
This possesses all the juicy richness you would expect from a Spanish Merlot but the nose offers plenty of funk; green pepper and earthy spice. This and the fine-grained tannin and meaty texture creates a serious beast of a wine. Soft and easy-going it ain't. This is all punch with lots of personality ****
Red
Tightly wound and tannic on first opening, after a good long decant the smoky texture, black cherry and cassis notes start blossoming with hints of violet and bramble. A classic Bordeaux blend supercharged and at a fraction of the price, this has plenty of weight and structure to hold for the next 5-7 years. ****
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