Highlights of Wine & Spirits Company tasting event09-09-2022
With an impressive line-up of niche producers and famous vintners alike, Wine & Spirits Company has successfully educated and entertained their customers during this tasting event. The celebrity-owned Château Miraval, the eccentric Jermann, the Garnacha champion Bodegas Borsao and the innovative Susana Balbo were some of the more memorable producers.
Château Miraval, made famous by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who bought the domaine in 2011, aims to make the world’s best rosé wine. Their flagship Château Miraval Rosé is a good example of a Provence rosé with lively red fruits flavors and a crisp acidity. Château Miraval Muse de Miraval – their super-premium rosé – is perfectly clean and refreshing, but lacking complexity and intensity.
I was more impressed with their rosé champagne Fleur the Miraval, a collaboration with Champagne winemaker Pierre Péters. The wine features fruity notes complemented with toast, milk chocolate and hazelnut aromas – hallmarks of a well-crafted Champagne with significant autolysis. However, is it worth a price of three figures? You be the judge.
The winemakers at Jermann like to do things their own way. “Nobody can tell me how to make quality wine” is how they responded to DOC regulations. Consequently, even their premium wines only qualify for IGP status, as Jermann prefers to set their own standards. When they started planting Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, this was frowned upon by fellow winemakers. These international varieties were seen as “intruders” by other winemakers who preferred the local varieties. Jermann sources the oak for their barrels from France, Slovenia or other origins they feel are suitable.
Their wines and their vision were presented during a masterclass. Jermann’s iconic wine Jermann Vintage Tunina features both international and local grape varieties. The wine is elegant with subtle gooseberry notes and the slightest hint of vanilla from ageing in French oak barrels. Their Traminer (known as Gewurztraminer elsewhere) is very fragrant with notes of rose petals and crushed coriander seeds. Jermann Where Dreams Have No End (reference to U2 song Where the streets have no name) is a big white with noticeable oak influence.
Bodegas Borsao is the result of several wine cooperations joining together in Campo de Borja. Specializing in Garnacha (Grenache), they produce full-flavored, high tannin red wines that are nothing like the easy drinking style some Garnacha-based wines are known for. They also have substantial plantings of Shiraz – they prefer the name Shiraz over Syrah as these vines are Australian clones. Their Shiraz wines have a ripe and jammy style.
Nino Negri is based in Valtellina Valley, Italy, close to the Swiss border. If you that can handle big red wines: try their Sfursat 5 Stelle. The wine is Nebbiolo based combined with the appassimento winemaking technique. In other words, this is where the famous grape variety of Barolo meets the production process of an Amarone. This wine has a whopping 16% ABV. An impressive feat of winemaking indeed – such concentrated musts are notoriously difficult to ferment.
Susana Balbo is the first female enologist in Argentina and has made important contributions to viticulture of Argentina’s flagship varieties Torrontés and Malbec. Most notable was her late-harvest Malbec: a sweet, rich, velvety red wine with jam-like flavors. I would love to try this with a Black Forest gateau. Their Crios Malbec is an accessible, juicier style of Malbec. The Susana Balbo Signature Malbec is more expressive, rich with some oak presence.
In short, this event was a great way to explore long-standing classics as well as modern products. The masterclasses in particular were well worth attending. Cheers and hope to see you during the next edition!
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