Tuesday Tipplers

February 7, 2006


 According to Jancis Robinson, “cabernet sauvignon (is) the world’s most renowned grape variety for the production of fine, long-lived red wine (and has) been taken up in much of the Old and New Worlds, where it has been blended with traditional native varieties (and also) been used to produce pure varietal wine.”

 Flan set out to explore this “Mondovino” concept, particularly with regard to new and old styles of wine-making – all using cabernet sauvignon.  The list of pupil attendees was diminished since Cam, Sal, Tom and Joe could unfortunately not accommodate the change in date from Valentine’s Day.

 Tipplers were greeted with a break in tradition – the opening wine was Chateau Loudenne 2000 ($32.95), a Médoc cru bourgeois blend of 55% merlot and 45% cab. sauv. with tasters being asked to identify the “wine-type”.  Led by academic Pitman, the group had no difficulty in identifying a Bordeaux archetype (“mean”, “nasty”, “no fruit” etc).  Following this, the merry band was challenged in Part I to rate the following wines, which all contain cab. sauv. in various amounts, in terms of “old-fashioned or modern” style; nose; “size-in-the-mouth”; fruitiness; complexity / finish; and preference: 


% Cabernet Sauvignon


2003 Eventide (Wellington, South Africa)



1986 Opus One (Napa, California)



1990 Carrascal (Mendoza, Argentina)



1999 Infernaccio (Il Ciliegio, Tuscany)



2002 Liano (Umberto Cesari, Tuscany)



2001 Ch. Fonplégade (St Emilion, France)



 Curiously, the Opus One, Carrascal and Infernaccio were felt to be “old world” with the St. Emilion and the Eventide categorized as “new world” by the majority.  Tipplers were, as usual, eloquent in their descriptions of nose, taste etc.  A certain wee Scot proclaimed that the Carrascal reminded him of “knickers”.  Fortunately, the assembled were spared further details (e.g. taste?, smell?, new?, used?)!  The preferred wine was clearly the Opus One with a tie for second place between the Liano and the Carrascal.  The least preferred was a tie between the St. Emilion and Eventide!

 Part II of the tasting was to identify the wines given the bottles and, even when given all the information, the assembled again failed to do better than a majority identifying the Opus One!

 Flan again served his famous boozy (with a bit too much Irish whiskey!) trifle along with a nice ½ bottle of Muscat de Baumes de Venise (Domaine de Coyeux, $14.95).

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