Friday, January 14, 2005

14 January 2005 - Another "new" grape variety...

Fer, or Fer-Servadou. Grown in southwest France, Fer has been used in blend with other grapes, especially Tannat, in relatively known places like Madiran and Gaillac. I just tasted a 100% Fer from the village of Marcillac (Laurens, 2002), situated roughly between Madiran and Cahors. As of 1979, according to Jancis Robinson in Vines, Grapes and Wines (Mitchell Beazley, 1986), Fer plantings were down to about 750 hectares. Based on this one wine, I'm glad it hasn't disappeared. Very dark sort of purple/garnet color, intensely meaty/herbal smells, yet surprisngly gentle, if intense, flavors. The taste was expected, the texture, shocking -- so soft and silky!

The salesman knew I would buy this -- I can't resist something new and unusual. It's a big reason why I still love this business. After 26-27 years, still learning something new every day!

Monday, January 10, 2005

10 January 2005 - wine of the day

Hentley Farm Shiraz 2002, Barossa Valley, Australia. Murky black/purple color; meaty/peppery/crushed black berries/herb smells (and perhaps a whiff of bretanomyces) and flavors -- some grip and a slightly funky edge, and a load of character. Dazzling wine, and the slight funk blew off in a few minutes.

That makes three unusually good Aussie Shiraz in the last couple of weeks -- a good sign after what seemed like months of ordinary stuff. If not for the Hently Farm, the Leasingham 2002 Bin 61 (Clare Valley) would have been the wine of the day, and considering it'll sell for about $8 less abottle, it still rates high. The other top notch Shiraz recently tasted was Chateau Reynella 2002 (McLaren Vale).