Notes from possibly the last sunny day this year in the garden,
rolling bocce balls (as unreliably as ever) and grazing on terrine.

2010 Los Vascos Grande Reserve – this Lafite owned property, absent
from our market for many years, came back as a one time buy. I’d
already tasted a bottle and grabbed a case, but this one showed even
better. Cab, carmenere, Malbec and a bit of syrah are the usual grapes
used – in this vintage in a ratio of 75/10/5/10. Every bit as good as
a cru Bourgeois Bordeaux and at a lower price. Lots of dark cherry and
even a hint of pepper. May have to lay away a liitle more of this
before it is gone.

1999 Tardieu Laurent Vacqueyras Vielles Vignes – this was still a big
wine with good depth of colour, a tarry nose and excellent length. No
rush but won’t get any better.

1995 Dom. Santa Duc Gigondas Hauts Garrigues – one of my favourite
Gigondas (I also love the 1998), but the first bottle had an initial
bottle must that made us wait a bit and cross our fingers for fear it
might not blow off and was in fact slightly corked, although I didn’t
get an immediate TCA signature. Unfortunately the TCA was in evidence
after some time in the glass, a slight case, but a spoiler
nonetheless. It was a good opportunity to assess just how much that
sort of light corking can affect a wine, so I opened another bottle.
It was instantly clear that the fruit in the nose was much muted by
the TCA, and this example showed some excellent bright fruit –
blackberry? – and vanilla. It also lacked the degree of ripeness that
had made pervious bottle shard to peg as a Southern Rhone. Good
fruit, excellent length and concentration. Nice wine with some time
ahead yet, I should think.

1998 Dom. Clos du Caillou CNduP – I hadn’t told the others what I was
opening (the two Rhones) so this was a bit of luck to have another
wine that fit right in. Good colour, nice fruit in the nose, more
cherry raspberry than dark fruit, and a hint of garrigue, and meat,
smooth across the palate and ready now, although it will hold for some
time. Great to be able to taste it – time to locate my case of this.

We finished with cheese, and I went into the cellar to find a wine to
accompany it. Having already had four 14%+ wines, I didn’t want to
pull a Port, so went for:

1994 Taurino Patriglione – this is the same blend of negroamaro and
malvasia used in their excellent Notarpanaro, but done in a more late
harvest style. Another dark wine with a slightly ripe pruny ripasso
sort of nose, and rich ripe flavours with some rusticity, lots of
weight in the mouth and good length, finishing quite dry in spite of
the up front sweet fruit. I love this style of Italian wine, but know
that it isn’t to everyone’s taste.