Monday, October 22, 2007

Stem Wine Group Tasting – October 22, 2007

I stopped into the Stem tasting after the Port tasting (earlier that day) even though I was pretty Old World wined out (that and some bad blue cheese that was just not sitting right). Stem’s portfolio is about ¾ Old World (Europe) with 90% of that coming from Italy with a little Spain and Greece thrown in for variety. The other quarter is split fairly evenly between Australia and the U.S. (California). Also much of the Stem list is well above my usual “like to purchase” mark of $20. During my brief tasting I found a few wines as good buys, a few pricey-tasties and a wine for $22.95 that over-delivered compared with its price.

Good Buys …

From Puglia (Italy) comes this Ca’del Duge 2006 Primitivo IGT ($11.95) with monstrous fruit and biting tannins: this one needs some time to settle down and will last comfortably for 5 years plus – and even though you’ll have to buy 12 you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy them.

From Greece comes two good buys, one red, one white, both from Ktima Lantides. The 2005 Icon Riditis ($14.95) is a fruit driven white with lots of melon and a hint of spritz on the tongue, while the 2005 Icon Agiorgitiko ($14.95) its red companion, boasts candied red fruit with a little bite on the tongue … and what an awesomely delicious nose. [All three above wines available in 12 packs]

Pricey-Tasties …

How’s about a $95 Barolo from 1997, the ‘Villero’ DOCG has a rich fruit and licorice nose with touches of nutmeg and spice. A palate ripe with black fruit, herbs and spices … a 10 year old wine that’s still going strong and will for years to come.

Another wine that’ll stand the test of time is the 2004 ‘Dromos’ IGT ($74.95); big bold and spicy red fruit kick start this one in the front palate, while chocolate notes persist in the back. There’s good oak integration in here and plenty of tannins making it an ideal candidate for some aging or a decanter, if indulging now.

Australia has their share of pricey reds and this David Franz Lehmann 2002 ‘Alexander’s Reward’ – Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon ($54.95) is one that’s good for the price. Franz makes both a stand-alone Shiraz and Sauv, both at the same price, but the combination of these two is more than the sum of its parts. Black fruit, hickory, chocolate and pepper hit the nose; there’s a lush start in the mouth as it integrates all those aromas into flavours then as it pushes through it finishes with a peppery-spiciness … delicious. Needs time to smooth out further, but this one’s quite tasty now. [The above three wines are available in 6 packs].

For $22.95 this is a Steal …

It’s from California, incorporates Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Tempranillo and is “Rock Solid” in taste. Bishop’s Peak 2004 Rock Solid Red is just what you should be looking for in a California blend … interesting grapes and interesting flavours at a price you can afford. This one has rich red fruits, like cherries, along with some mocha that riddles the nose. In the mouth it’s smooth and easy drinking with enough tannins and acidity to give it some longevity, and the pepper and candied red fruit make it interesting going in, through and down … this was my pick of the night in the value to taste ratio category. [Above wine available in 12 packs].

Contact Stem Wine Group for ordering details,

No comments: