The idea of the night was to present wines that have a pedigree of achieving 100 points from Robert Parker. Most of the wines presented were awarded 100 points in other vintages, some were in the high 90’s, one wine was a 100 pointer. I guess presenting wines that are all 100 pointers would be quite cost prohibitive.
Now before anyone decides to jump in and start discussing the merits of RP, points, ratings, etc, I simply state that for me, I normally glance at points in reviews, and follow it up by reading the tasting note itself. I have had my fair share of highly pointed wines that disappointed and also wines that are “low pointed” that surprised and loved. In the write up below, I have listed points for interest sake and rough retail price to give you an indication of where the wines sit in terms of value.
The Ventoux Wine Company represented all the Chateauneuf du Pape wines and Untapped Fine Wines represented the rest.
Opening bracket of 2 white wines was served with Seared Scallop, cauliflower puree, house cured-bacon and salsa verde.
2011 Castell d’Encus Ekam. Costers del Segre, Spain. $105
A field blend of 85% Riesling and 15% Albarino. Interesting to note that grapes were handpicked in small 10kg cases with 30% of the grapes picked with noble rot.
Excellent mouthfeel with lots of vibrant energy on the palate. Almonds, crunchy Granny Smith apples, figs. Slight taste of honeysuckle in the background. Great minerals. Good clean finish. Excellent wine and worth seeking out. RP 90 Points.
2010 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape “La Fontaine”. $115
100% Rousanne. Spicy, ginger gratings, lemon pith. Whole poached nashi pears. Well structured wine that begs for food. With food, the wine settles down nicely. RP 93 Points.
Next bracket was 2 wines from Argentinean producer Achavel Ferrer, served with Mushroom fricasse on brioche, shaved Manjimup truffle, goats cheese, beetroot coulis.
2009 Achavel Ferrer Finca Altamira. Mendoza, Argentina. $250
Both these wines are made from Malbec and come from single vineyards.
The winemaker describes this as an extrovert wine. I found this very expressive with rich, opulent fruit. Sweet blackcurrant and a wonderful earthy, mushroom backnote. Beautiful tannins. Long, long savoury after taste. Excellent wine. RP 99 Points.
2009 Achavel Ferrer Finca Bella Vista. Mendoza, Argentina. $250
The winemaker describes this as an introvert wine. Found the statement surprising as I found this wine to be bigger and more powerful than the Altamira. Sweet fruits of ripe cherries, along with stewed rhubarb, dark chocolates, thyme and mushroom risotto. Big wine. Much preferred the previous wine. RP 98 Points.
Next up were 2 Chateauneuf du Papes. Same wine from 2 different vintages. Served with a Trio of rabbit, potato dauphinoise, carrot, celery.
2006 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape “Les Origines”. Served from a magnum. $220
Initial impressions were that this is an impressive wine. Blackberries, iron fillings, meaty, long aftertaste. Ground coffee. With a bit more air, this become quite blocky on the front of the palate and the flavours fall away quite quickly. RP 94 Points.
2010 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape “Les Origines”. $110
Has a similar taste profile to the 2006, but with the volume turned up a notch. Blackberries, ground coffee, iron fillings and deli meats with a long aftertaste. A strong & powerful wine with good tannins. Needs age and food to tame this. Really liked this and put myself down for a few bottles. RP 95 Points
Final 2 wines reds were served with Juniper braised Venison osso bucco with broad beans & quince.
2008 Benjamin Romeo Contador. Rioja, Spain. $1,100
A blend of 86% Tempranillo and 14% Garnacha. From 11 different vineyards with ages ranging from 75 – 110 years old.
Rich and powerful wine. Slippery, glycerol like texture. Dark fruits, along with dark chocolate, mint and fine, dusty tannins. Well balanced. Liked it, not loved it. At this level of pricing and what was tasted, I would say this is one for the trophy hunters. RP 98 Points
2010 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape “Vielles Vignes”. $220
Oh wow! What a wine. Blackberry, blackcurrants, liquorice, fennel, graphite. Deli meats. Big and powerful wine with many layers. Kept on changing in the glass. Needs time in the cellar to integrate nicely. Glad to have a few stashed away. RP 100 Points.
The team at Steve’s did an excellent with the food. I really enjoyed the first 3 dishes and found them to be perfectly matched to the wines. The venison osso bucco was unfortunately a little bit dry. There was a certain lightness about these dishes that I appreciated. Sometimes at wine dinners, you can walk away all full and bloated, not this time. Perfect amount of food was presented.