Saturday, March 13, 2010

Three Wines as Seen Through a Fog

Yesterday was a day of excess both in terms of quality and volume. 

It started out with the Friday wine tasting session. We shifted from our regular hang out at Antonio's to Terra Mia Brick Oven in Heathrow. Ten members of the group were present and this means that I was (heavily) exposed to at least 15 bottles of wine within a three-hour period. It was brutal and did a poor job of preparing me for the upcoming evening. 

The wine that was the most memorable of the bunch was a 2004 Petrolo Galatrona from Fattoria di Petrolo.This 100% merlot from Tuscany was one of only two wines ( the other was the 2004 Montevitrano)

to receive a unanimous top score (super wine) in 2007 from all of the most important Italian wine guides. In 2004 the winery produced 8000 bottles of this beauty. Antonio Galloni gave this wine a score of 96 while James Suckling gave it a 97.This wine is hard to come by.

The bottle tasted yesterday was opened and recorked at approximately 10:00 am.  It was re-opened at 2:00 pm for the tasting.  When poured, it had a deep inky color and was not very expressive on the nose. It had a good mouthfeel but was tight and had tannin rising. We set it aside for a while and revisited it after approximately half an hour. At this time the chocolate that is a hallmark of merlot was very apparent. The wine drank beautifully and more than fulfilled the hype surrounding it. If you see this wine you should buy it. I have paid as low as $110 and as high as $190 per bottle.  The Ornellaias and Sassicaias get all the press but this super Tuscan gets my money.

So I am in good spirits.  I am going to The Capital Grille that evening with Tom D and Bill A.  Doctor Jeff is a surprise addition to the group and that is great because he will only add to the fun. We all took wines and the lineup was truly impressive.  One of the bottles that Bill took was a ZD Abacus X and that bottle has a

story behind it. Over a year ago Bill and I were hanging out at Vineyard's and we both ended up buying bottles of ZD Abacus X.  I opened one of my bottles and Bill was so impreseed by the wine that he said he would not open his bottle unless I was there to share it.  So that bottle had stayed in his locker at the Vineyard until last evening when he fulfilled that promise.  It brought a tear to my eye (well, not really).

The ZD Abacus was my second standout wine of the day. This is a solera-style wine which is made by blending wine from all previous vintages of ZD Reserve Cabernet into a product which combines the best qualities of an aged wine with those of a young wine.  The resulting product shows great complexity and has an incredibly long finish. There have been 11 bottlings (vintages?) of this wine to date. The wine is available for pre-order from the winery for $450 but can be obtained on a request basis from your local purveyor for around $330.

The third standout wine for me was the 2003 Penfolds Grange.  Grange is by far the most recognized of

Australian wines and has been consistenly rewarding drinkers palates since the mid-1950s.  While not receiving the accolades of the surrounding vintages (the '02 was awarded a 98 and the '04 a 99 by Parker), this wine performs admirably outside a drinking window which is expected to run, according to Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate,  from 2014 to 2030.  This Shiraz has been blended with 3.5% Cabernet from Coonawarra and was aged for 15 months in new American oak.

Ok. I am done now so let me go back and continue the recovery process.


  1. Wow, nice line up, I have the 96' ducru, guess it wasn't at it's best.

    03' was not considered a great vintage for aussie shiraz, but I consistently find some winners from that vintage.

  2. Great post! We are thrilled that you enjoyed and shared the Abacus X. We do call them bottlings( since its multi-vintage). We look forward to welcoming you to the winery again soon. Best, Teresa D'Aurizio Vice President, Sales