In my last article I wrote about a wine, we all loved. After my friends made their way back home it did not take much time until the next visitors arrived. This time it was the family. It took ten hours with the car from France to Chemnitz. After a great week with several wines we decided to make a challenge with the best of the whole week. I think this is a model I will continue in the future.
- Christine: She likes wine, but is not as enthusiastic as the guys in the round.
- Audrey: She also likes to drink good wines, but is not very interested in talking about them. To enjoy them is enough.
- Jean-Pierre: A real wine lover with great experience and knowledge of French wines, experiencing also interesting bottles from other countries in recent years.
- Thomas: Founder and wine critic of WineInspector. Loves good wines from every region of the world.
How did we proceed? Everyone of us tasted each of the wines and rated it (Christine decided to create a ranking only; without giving any points). The average points decide on the final result.
The following five wines made their way into our glasses. The tasting notes are edited versions of the first tasting notes we made (published in one of our magazines).
So you have a mix of information (tasting notes of the magazine + the impressions of the evening). The awards are attached to show the potential of the wines, while the notes we gave at the tasting designate the form of the day. If one wine already got a higher rating in one of our magazine's than in the tasting he has still some potential and needs more time in the bottle or to breeze:
Campo al Mare Baia al Vento Bolgheri Superiore DOC 2009 (opened eight hours before the tasting):
This blend (90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot) matured for 16-18 months in French oak 500 litre barrels. Ruby coloured with flavours of thyme, sage, spices and plum. On the palate well-balanced with cherry, spices, plum and herbs. The plum dominated most of the time, the herbs came at the end. Medium to full bodied, soft tannins and an ordinary aftertaste. It was not as good as in March, when I tasted it for the March Edition.
Pago de Carraovejas El Anejón DO 2009 (opened one day before the tasting):
This blend has been made from 93% Tinto Fino, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Merlot. Like the Crianza it matured for 12 months in French oak barriques. It is deep dark red in colour and reveals a complex bouquet with wet wood, a hint of orange, cherry, graphite and sandal wood. On the palate it exhibits great depth, complexity and density: aromas of sandal wood, coffee, dark chocolate, graphite and plum, sustained by soft tannins. Full bodied, good extract and good length in the aftertaste. Still a bit reticent, but power and finesse already shine through. Was not as powerful as the last time, but had more finesse to offer. Needed more time to breeze actually.
Meroni Il Velluto Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2005 (opened 18 days before):
This blend (Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, Molinara) matured for 5 years in Slavonian oak barrels and is ruby in colour with brown reflexes. In the nose beguiling flavours of cherry, sandal wood, herbs and orange. On the palate black cherry, herbs and sandal wood, sustained by concealed tannins. Medium to full bodied, perfect-balanced and a long aftertaste. So much quality after almost three weeks and still needs time to breeze. Incredible.
Tenuta di Nozzole Il Pareto IGT 2009 (opened eight hours before the tasting):
This Cabernet Sauvignon (100%) matured for 16-18 months in French oak barrels and is ruby in colour with violet reflexes. In the nose terrific spice together with currant and jalapeno. On the palate well-balanced with jalapeno, mocha and caramel. Full bodied, well-integrated tannins and a good finish. Also needed more time, but showed its great potential at the far end of the tasting.
Casa Gran del Siurana Gran Cruor DOC 2007 (opened one week before the tasting):
This blend (90% Syrah, 10% Carinena) matured 18 months in new barrels of French oak and is dark violet in colour. In the nose black cherry, caramel, cassis, earth, truffles, mint and toast. On the palate dark fruits, black cherry and chocolate intermixed with earth, mint and truffles. Full bodied, nice extract, astringent tannins and a long finish. A monument in nose and mouth. One of my all time favourites with high density, complexity, finesse and intensity.
But now the results are final and the winner of the 1st "Big Five Challenge" is Pago the Carraovejas El Anejón 2009. Congratulations!
But to be honest: There were no winners and loosers in this tasting (concerning the wines). The tasters were the real winners, being able to taste five fantastic bottles. I can recommend them all. Furthermore this tasting did, what wine should be about: connecting people and making them think about what they consume. Even the individuals, who usually don't talk about wine, started to try to explain, why they like one example more than another.
If you want to do a Big Five Challenge too, but don't want to pay 40-60€ a bottle, simply make a "Litte Brothers Challenge". My recommendation (in the following lines I give you the magazine's tasting notes as an impression):
Campo al Mare Baia al Vento Bolgheri Superiore DOC 2009:
This blend (90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot) matured for 16-18 months in French oak 500 litre barrels. Ruby coloured with flavours of thyme, sage and plum. On the palate well-balanced with cherry and herbs. Medium to full bodied, soft tannins and a satisfying aftertaste. Good buy! Drink: 2015-2023.Rating: 91
Pago de Carraovejas Crianza DO 2010:
After this blend (95% Tinto Fino, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) has been matured for 12 months in barriques, it appears ruby in colour. In the nose still a bit passive. Firstly fresh and fruity with apple flavours, later orange, cherry and lemon grass. On the palate orange, plum, wild berries, lemon grass, mocha and dark chocolate. Full bodied, good tannins and a good finish. Best buy! Drink: 2016-2025.
Meroni Il Velluto Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC 2007:
This blend (Corvina Veronese, Corvinone Rondinella, Molinara) is garnet red in colour with raspberry red reflexes. In the nose black cherry and raisin. On the palate cherry, a touch of herbs and raspberry, sustained by good acidity. Medium bodied, well-integrated tannins and a good finish. Drink: 2013-2021.
Casa Gran del Siurana Cruor DOC 2007:
A blend of 30% Garnatxa, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 15% Syrah and the rest Monastrell. Dark violet in colour. In the nose intense plum, red fruits, green pepper and slight toast. On the palate very expressive with plum, cherry and orange. Medium to full bodied, good tannins and a long finish. Hint: Very open and expressive these days. Drink: 2013-2018.
I hope to can enjoy them as we did.....