In House Tasting with Stevens Garnier

Posted on: July 1st, 2013 by Andrew 1 Comment

An interesting tasting with Ed Brewer from Wine Importer Stevens Garnier. We have been customers in a sporadic way of this firm for many years and have recently been wooed by some of their Portuguese wines which are now the mainstay of their business as the company is wholly owned by Sogrape, a leading producer of Port and Table Wine in Portugal.

Our brief to Ed was to come up with a few interesting lines from Portugal and elsewhere so he duly obliged with a selection chosen from across his list.

First up, Portugal and this was a bit of a revelation to me. We have had little call for these wines and so had got out of the habit of tasting them on a regular basis but with a mini resurgence of interest we are happy to reacquaint ourselves with some of them:

1)      Duque de Viseu Branco 2011

This was a revelation to me- just the kind of white wine I like with an appealing floral nose and a good weight on the mid palate. Quite clean on the finish and with some herbal complexity. This is well made and will appeal to anyone who is looking for something a little different.

2)      Vinha do Monte Branco 2011

Similar to the Duque but slightly finer and more elegant in style. Again I like this kind of wine but it is slightly less commercial and more appealing to the purist

3)      Duque de Viseu Tinto 2009

Lovely appealing fruit with plenty of weight and good balance.  A little old fashioned, showing almost Burgundian flavours, complex and long.

4)      Vinha Monte Tinto 2009

Like its white brother, a little more refined and less expressive than the Duque, but will probably open out in the glass.

Italy next and Ed had a couple of just above entry level wines from Sicily under their Canapi label.  These were a Fiano and Shiraz.

1)      Fiano 2011 Sicily.

I love Fiano and this was a real crowd pleaser with big, ripe fruit flavours coming through but without sacrificing the unique Fiano characteristics.  Delicious and easy to drink

2)       Shiraz 2011 Sicily

Sicily grows a lot of Syrah (Shiraz) and this is a fine example with all the right ingredients in the right order.  Good fruit, hints of spice and some notes of leather and tobacco topped off by a smooth ripe finish.

From their French portfolio we already take some Loire wines,  Pouilly,  Sauvignon and Pinot Noir,  so anything else would be incremental.  As they are stockists for Cauhapé in Jurançon I was keen to try their Sec,  a wine I have always been fond of.  Sadly the 2010 was tired and flabby so I am eagerly awaiting the 2012

However the Cremant de Bourgogne he produced was a nice glass of wine,  if a little pricey for the quality.

As agents for Finca Flichmann in Argentina,  Ed was keen for us to try something from their extensive range. I was less so but was impressed by:-

Misterio Malbec 2011 Flichmann

This was a new range and the malbec really impressed for such a well priced wine.  Creamy soft fruit with plenty of body only let down by a slightly dilute finish. However,  given the price I think it will work well.

Finally, a wine region new to us, Brazil. Brazil has a thriving wine industry but exports very little here so it was interesting to try their Aurora range. The Chardonnay failed to impress but the two reds were good.

1)      Aurora Merlot 2012

Ripe soft fruit gives way to a bit more grip on the mid palate, making this more European and complex than one is first led to expect.  Rather good.

2)      Aurora Pinot Noir 2012

This was more conventional in that it followed the pattern of  South American Pinot. Ripe and with pronounced Pinot character but easy drinking and not massively challenging. OK

Overall a good strike rate from Ed;  we did look at a number of others but were less than convinced – Chile being the region that showed the worst in my view despite a passably smooth Carmenere. Is it time we all moved on from those obvious Chilean flavours or am I being elitist? Whatever,  some of the above will assuredly be hitting our list in the not too distant future. Watch this space.

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One Response

  1. Such a great list of wines! I’ll have to see if my Temecula wine club will be offering any of these this season. Thank you.

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