An ethereal trio of wines
There are moments without words that only sensations can define. The art of wine is one such moment; a masterpiece created by the talent that few possess in which dedication and ability blend in a magical, mystical marriage with nature.” So reads the website of Ca' del Bosco, and I will submit to you three wines from three countries that will transport you to this heavenly state.
So let us start our journey with a small area in the north of Italy that is famous for its sparkling wines, it is called Franciacorta and let us say that it is to Italy what champagne is to France.
During my visit to the Vinitaly wine show in April I visited with the Ca' del Bosco group and became convinced that they produce a very fine range of sparkling wines.
We have just unloaded our first shipment of Ca' del Bosco Cuvée Prestige which is a blend of 75 per cent chardonnay, 10 per cent pinot bianco and 15 per cent pinot nero.
This wine, like champagne, is fermented in the individual bottle and so at a certain stage the bottle has to be opened to remove dead yeast cells and other sediment.
This tedious task is called disgorgement and at Ca' del Bosco it is done in a unique and patented system that is free of oxygen.
With less stress, there is less need for additional sulphites and the wine is purer, more appealing and longer lived.
Law allows up to 185 milligrams per litre but they use less than 53 to stabilise their beautiful bubbly.
Robert Parker writes: “Cuvée Prestige offers a sophisticated and stylish presentation with exotic fruit, baked bread, peach cobbler and Golden Delicious apple. It offers a great sense of richness and creaminess. 91/100.” $43.30.
Last week I was the dinner guest of a visiting supplier of some of our finest wines.
He decided to have a little fun and asked the sommelier to pour me a taste without showing me the bottle.
I immediately said that it was a very fine Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon, but I was conflicted about the producer.
I told my host that I was reminded of the Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 that Parker rates 94/100 and comments “full-bodied with dense chocolatey crème de cassis notes, liquorice and a touch of minerality”. We sell this for $95.00.
However it seemed even more exquisite than the One Point Five although, for me, it had not reached the absolute flawlessness of the Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2010.
Again to Parker: “100/100 stunningly rich with classic fragrant notes of blackcurrants, blackberries, vanilla, graphite and spring flowers.” $293.50.
I was then shown the bottle and, to keep the same reference, Parker rated it 96/100 and described it as “lead pencil shavings, crème de cassis, subtle smoke, wet rocks and background oak”.
Wine Spectator suggests drinking it between 2015 and 2028 and we have stocks going back to the eighties and nineties.
As I sipped this wine, along with my good friend Robert who actually supplies us with it and the Shafer, it was an experience that I suspect will remain with me always.
A wine of this calibre is literally capable of doing this. Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 sells for $135.05. You should try it and understand why the original, indigenous Wappo inhabitants called this hallowed valley “Napa” or “land of plenty”.
I would not venture to say what is the finest New World red wine, or the best from France, but I feel a degree of confidence in telling you that we have just unpacked our small allotment of the finest New Zealand red and, as the vintage that we have has been rated 100/100, we would not be able to find anything better.
The wine is Te Mata Coleraine 2014 and it is a “Bordeaux style” blend of 60 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 28 per cent merlot and 12 per cent cabernet franc from the oldest winery in the country.
Although it is a baby, the perfume is of violets and dark roses and the deep, floral fruit and rolling waves of ripe berries, cassis, mocha and cedar evoke grandeur and charm. Just thinking about it, I had to open a bottle in the office and let some of our team taste it.
To be honest, it will not really open up for ten to 15 years and its main attraction for now is just to get some to put in a temperature-controlled environment and wait.
At this time the winery is suggesting that the 2000, 2001 and 2002 are at their best, and more recent years should be given more time.
It is one of the world's most collectable wines and we received 60 bottles.
There will be no more, as the winery always has a waiting list for each new vintage. $67.60.
• This column is a paid for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George's (York Street, 297-0409). A selection of their beers, wines and spirits is available at www.wineonline.bm