Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore DOCG 2006

Cleaning out the Wine Closet I found another Santa Cristina. I already reviewed the Toscana IGT 2009, the Cipresseto 2007 Rosato Toscana and the Umbria IGT 2011. This time the oldest Santa Cristina of the bunch, a Chianti Superiore DOCG 2006. The Chianti is made with 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot for balance. 13% ABV.

Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore DOCG 2006

Color: Dark ruby-red.

Nose: Spicy with fruity jam. Black fruits like blackberries, blackcurrants but even strawberries found their way into this wine. It smells sweet and thick, as I said, jam-like. Deep and brooding, very typical for a wine from a warm climate. All in good balance. It has body and there sure is some flesh on the bone, musty and meaty.

Taste: Nice first sip with earth and a lot of depth. The fruits are all present too, but this time around even hint of plum are present in the “confiture”. A little bit of acidity balancing the whole out, and giving it a bit of zest and life. Some soft tannins and chalk, but nothing much. Tannins and a hint of vanilla from wood. The wood also adds structure to the wine. Good finish and even a while after swallowing, a nice taste remains in my mouth. Good balance and maybe not the most complex of wines, but who cares, just enjoy it.

I thought earlier that I ended a trilogy of Santa Cristina’s claiming that the red from Tuscany was easily the best. This Chianti Superiore, shows us again that as far as I am concerned the reds are the way to go with Santa Cristina. This Chianti is maybe even the best of the bunch and did well with some ageing. Recommended.

Points: 83

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Short Stories: Chateau de Mendis Premiéres Côtes de Bordeaux 2003

Hey another short story. So no introduction, no research (or nothing to research), just a short (tasting) note about something (in most cases, a wine I had with dinner), so without further ado…

Chateau de Mendis 2003Color: Extremely dark ruby-red

Nose: Nicely spicy and warming. Oozes hot earth. Spicy and somewhat woody. Nose is nicely balanced. Again lots of earth, dusty, meaty and with deep red fruits, mainly cherries. Very pleasant nose. I don’t know why, but smelling this, I have a craving for Pizza.

Taste: The mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I expected from the nose. It still is warming and has quite the body. Fruity again with some added acidity (but not much). This most definitely is a wine that needs to breathe. It was aged for quite a bit and has developed well. I imagine this wine wasn’t made for keeping. The soft tannins are there, on the tongue, but not as much in the taste. Again a bit meaty, but in no way unforgiving. Will do well with most foods. Meat and cheese and anything in between.

Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, but blended with a little bit of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. 12.5% ABV.

Points: 84

Casa La Teja D.O. La Mancha Tempranillo – Merlot 2009

Next up is this rather cheap Spanish Wine. My mother made us a very good Moussaka with the recipe she used came the advice to combine it with a Tempranillo from the La Mancha region. So looking around on the many shelves in my “cellar” I spotted this Wine. This is a blend of Tempranillo (85%) and Merlot (15%). How unusual. Casa La Teja is a brand owned by Coop. Jesús del Perdón, and when Jesus loves it, who am I to think otherwise.

Casa La Teja 2009When looking for information about this cooperation, I can find that it is located in Manzanares, and I am led to the www.yuntero.com website. On this site I cannot find this Casa La Teja wine, so I don’t have a lot of hope this will turn out to be something good. Let’s have a go then.

Color: Deep ruby red.

Nose: Very fresh and fruity, the Obvious vanilla-like black currants and cherries, but also the smell of fresh apples. Very likeable and light. Easy, young and very pleasing. It gives off a feeling of warm, dusty soil and silence. Fleshy, buttery and bold. After this a little more on the black or rather red fruits and some more acidic freshness start to play a role. When it gets more air from swirling in the glass a more typical and fleshy Tempranillo smell oozes out of my glass. It’s not very complex but very enjoyable nevertheless.

Taste: Again easy, yet very refined. As the smell predicted, this is not very complex, but it has great body and harmony to it. Not very heavy on the acidity and certainly not a lot of tannins (at first). Given some time to breathe and develop a little, same more tannins emerge, but still not a lot. The apples return as well. Dark cherries, sweet cherries, and come to think of it, it is actually sweeter than I expected. Fruit Sugar and syrup with a hint of licorice. Great easy drinker this is. Lots of blackberries in the finish (the sweet and the sour).

Very easy drinkable and will do good with everything. Good birthday wine, because it will do well on its own. As I said before, the first time I had this was with a very tasty Moussaka and it accompanied that well, so this turns out to be a rather unknown wine, of pretty good quality that is very versatile to boot. Buy by the box.

Points: 84

Villa Antinori Toscana IGT 2007

The history of the Antinori family dates af far back as the 12th Century, when Rinuccio di Antinoro produces wine at the Castello di Combiate near Croci di Calenzano, outside of Florence. The particular wine I’m reviewing today, Villa Antinori, was first made in 1928 and at that time it was a Chianti, but a Chianti that could be further aged. Much later, in 2001, Piero Antinori, reworked this wine into a Tuscan IGT. The wine itself is a Super Tuscan blend: with 5% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and of course 55% Sangiovese. After the malolactic fermentation the wine was aged in French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels for one year. ABV is 13.5%.

Villa Antinori Toscana IGT 2007Color: Dark ruby-red

Nose: Spicy and fresh, seems young although it does have some ageing under its belt. Some warm very aromatic Tuscan soil, nice! It has its roots firmly in the ground. Warm summer wind late in the evening. Nice red fruits, cherries, blueberries and slightly herbal with a little bit of wood to give it some more character. Nicely balanced wine. Lovely wine with sometimes some whiffs of field flowers.

Taste: Very supple and extremely easily drinkable and delicious. Again some terroir, but not as much as the nose had. Well integrated blend, everything seems to fall in place. Nice depth. Not very tannic, though there is some drying sensation on the tongue and it’s only slightly acidic, but the acidity increases after some more breathing. Breathing also gives the wine something of a bite, bitterness that is, from the wood. The finish is all right and half-long.

This first accompanied food and when that became to spicy, it easily overpowered this wine. The wine itself seems quite light at first, but it did pick up after more breathing. Recommended drinking window for this wine is said untill 2014, so if you have this lying around it’s now probably at it’s best, but I feel still can handle another couple of years…

Points: 83

Santa Cristina Toscana IGT 2009

This is a widely available inexpensive blended wine from Cortona (an Etruscan settlement) in Tuscany, Italy. The first bottle of Santa Cristina saw the light of day in 1946 right after the second world war. The wine then was made by Marquis Niccolò Antinori. In 2006 a new winery was opened.

The wine is made of 60% Sangiovese, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. 13% ABV. The various grape varieties of the blend are fermented separately and aged partly in oak and partly in stainless steel. Harvesting of the grapes takes place in September and October, Merlot being harvested first. Ageing takes place from the end of winter through spring and by the end of spring the wine was bottled.

Color: Dark ruby-red.

Nose: Creamy, with notes of hot dry earth. Soft notes of raspberries and other ripe red fruits. Ripe because it comes across as soft, and doesn’t have a lot of sourness to it. Lots of strawberry jam.

Taste: Again the strawberry jam and it does have some acidity. Nicely blended to a balance. It’s quite light and lively, but on the other hand nothing really pops out, and it does have a short finish. As I said, easily drinkable, but also easily forgotten. Still I like this, just don’t expect too much. Nicely priced also.

It’s blended to a soft wine, that is very easy drinkable, and will go with anything. Just stay off game. The nose is light and balanced, but very nice, you can imagine the surroundings in summer, where the grapes are grown. It certainly shows where it comes from. The taste however is a bit more anonymous. It’s well made, and it will not repel anyone, as there are no obvious faults. The only thing that disappointed me a little was the finish, it breaks down a little, and is quite short and again anonymous. One to have a lot of fun though and it isn’t going to break the bank. good with food and for carelessly sipping away on the couch.

Points: 80

Château Les Tresquots Médoc 2003

Very typical Bordeaux blend. This one comprises of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The ABV is 13.5%. The grapes were harvested by hand and the wine was put on oak casks for one year.  The grapes that grow on vines are 30 to 40 years old. grow in the heart of the Médoc region near Bégadan, where the D3 crosses the D103 (for those who were there). Saint Estèphe is just up river.

For what I read, people weren’t too happy about this one when is was younger, so it was no problem to let this lie for a couple of years. I left it for almost 10 years, but now it was time to have a look how it is doing.

2003 was a very special year for the region. The 2002 harvest was very dry and the winter that followed was cool and wet. In march it was already warm (and dry) so growth started early. The following period stayed dry which means low yields. The summer, well, heat wave! So in June, July and August, the grapes got roasted.

Color: Very dark, with deep sparkling red. Almost doesn’t let light through.

Nose: It might be heavy, according to the text above, but for me this is quite lively. Grape skin, hot earth, dry but with a lot of depth. Elderberries with some acidity. Yeast and a little hint of sterile wood. Altogether very balanced. I might be biased by now, but this oozes hot weather.

Taste: Deep, this has some tannins. Thick grape skins and plums. Lots of ripe cherries. Not the red ones but the sweetish black ones. It’s not bitter nor woody, but it does dry the mouth quite a bit. The fun is to be had taking big gulps and the effect this has on the palate. Finish is quite short and a bit anonymous. This is very much recommended with food (meat).

In the end not very complex, but with a lovely nose. And I like the shift toward the black cherries. Especially the taste is ‘simple’ but it doesn’t overpower you, nor does it have any other flaws, apart from the tannins that dry your mouth extensively. Considering early report about this wine, I can say that ageing this is a good idea.

Points: 81

Chateau Saint-Paul 2005 Haut-Médoc

I used to drink a lot of reds and for the last six years or so I love to drink a lot of whites. Alsace was probably what set that off. But as you might have guessed, being the frequent reader you are, I drink foremost Scottish Single Malts nowadays. But it’s not all Scotch that lights our world, so I’ll definitely have to try some different things here too. This time the first red wine on Master Quill.

Haut-Médoc is the large southern part of the Médoc district of Bordeaux in the south-west of France. The famous wines from this region are Margaux, Pauillac, Saint-Estephe and Saint-Julien. You might have heard of those.

The wine of choice for today is Chateau Saint-Paul of the 2005 vintage. Saint-Paul is a Cru Bourgeois from the Haut-Médoc (St. Seurin de Cadourne). 2005 was a good year for Haut-Médoc, as it was for the whole of the Bordeaux region. The soil is mostly gravel, chalk and clay. The wine is made of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. ABV is 13%.

Color: Ruby red.

Nose: Meaty and sour. Red and dark fruits, berries, black currants and blackberries. Plums maybe? Dust and moist dirt. Floral. In fact it tasted quite thick and sweet (raisins), which it probably is not, still it reminds me a bit of sniffing a ruby port.

Taste: It has depth and is a little sour and powdery. Definitely some wood in here too. Wet leaves, but not earthy. Elderberries, but not bitter. Good tannins which do not take over the wine, still you’ll know from your tongue. It isn’t overly complex, but is has good balance and is a very nice wine to drink. Medium body and medium to long finish.

This one is at it’s best decanted for an hour or so, maybe two. When I tasted this from the just opened bottle, it was quite closed, but a few hours later it showed a lot more. So age this maybe a little longer, decant it properly, then this will be at it’s best.

Points: 85