Lancaster Wine Fair 

8 December 2007

This was a new venture, bringing together some local specialist importers, the local Oddbins and one Italian producer.  Perhaps rather unfairly, I skipped over the stand of French Regional Wines, whose John Dickinson had organised the event, but it wasn't long since I had tasted the French Regional Wines portfolio  (see here).

Azienda Agricola Calvi di Calvi Andrea Mario

2001 Rui, Vino da Tavola, Azienda Agricola Andrea Calvi, 13%
The nose has soft red fruit, but feels very straightforward.  Decent palate.  Good, simple drinking.  But without any real interest.  83/100

2002 Spirit, DOC Oltrepò Pavese, Azienda Agricola Andrea Calvi, 13.5%
Pear drops on the nose give an impression of extraction and (unless suggested by the wine’s name) spiritiness.  On the palate, it’s dull and flat, but with a nice creaminess.  Overpriced (at £7.99) for a simple chardonnay.  83/100

2001 Neo, DOC Oltrepò Pavese, Azienda Agricola Andrea Calvi, 13.5%
A nice minerally nose with perfume dominating some red fruits.  Very fresh tasting, this has pure pinot noir flavours, giving way to a nice structure with decent tannins on the finish.  87/100

2001 Tre, DOC Oltrepò Pavese, Azienda Agricola Andrea Calvi, 13.5%
A very dark colour.  The nose has deep, cherry fruit.  Good structure on the palate, but as with the nose, this feels a bit tight on the palate. Maybe it just needs time, but I don’t find it particularly interesting at the moment.  84/100

NV Spumante Charmat Brut, Pinot Nero, DOC Oltrepò Pavese, Azienda Agricola Andrea Calvi, 12.5%
The nose has black fruit and peaches.  Very simple and dull on the palate, with almost a bitter note on the finish.  No interest here.  80/100

2006 Pinot Grigio, DOC Oltrepò Pavese, Azienda Agricola Andrea Calvi, 13%
A very rich creamy nose.  Very rich and full on the palate, but with decent palate.  Very good for the price (£4.99).  85/100


2006 Burgans Albarino, Rias Baixas, Martin Codax
For me, one of the strongest of the long-standing Oddbins listings, and the 2006 doesn’t disappoint.  Nice, crisp and clean with good fruit a very nice balance.  Though at £8.99 it’s now at the top of its value bracket.  Very Good Indeed.  89/100

2005 Quinta de Bons-Ventos, Casa Santos Lima, Vinho Regional Estremadura, 12.5%
The nose has ripe, raspberry, cherry and blackberry fruit.  Very easy on the palate: soft, ripe and with nice juicy fruit.  Very good value (at £4.99).  87/100

2003 Bodegas Palacio Rioja Glorioso Reserva, 13.5%
Sweet vanilla wood and red fruit define the nose.  The palate is nice and juicy with a clean, fresh character.  This is a good value Rioja with a nice tannic grip on the finish.  88/100

2006 Wakefield Clare Valley Shiraz, 14.5%
A green, sawdusty nose.  But the palate is quite different: nice and clean, with a good, full flavour.  Remarkably delicate and elegant, especially given the alcohol content.  87/100

2005 Footbolt Shiraz, D’Arenberg, Mclaren Vale, 14.5%
The nose has concentrated, jammy black fruit.  Ripe and full.  Very simple and a bit boring.  84/100

Trans-Danubia Wines & Spirits

Some excellent value, interesting drinking to be had from this new internet-based company: see their website

2005 Sauvignon Blanc, Egri, Varsanyi Pinceszet, 12.5%
Nice minerally nose.  Good, crisp, fresh flavours, with a nice balance of acidity and fruit, though the fruit doesn’t feel especially sauvignon-like.  Falls away a bit on the finish, but a very pleasant wine.  87/100

2003 Pécselyi Tramini, Lake Balaton, Mészáros Pince
This has a slightly odd nose with a sort of earthy note in front of the expected rose petal fruit.  Rich and full on the palate, almost delivering the goods of a good Alsace gewürztraminer.  To me, this seems more related to gewürztraminer than gewürztraminer, but none the worse for that.  A very nice wine.  91/100

2006 Cserszegi Fűszeres, Cegled Varos Bora, Klement György
And therein lies one of Hungarian wine’s problems when it comes to the British market: that really does look like a random set of letters from a chimpanzee practising his typing skills before moving on to write a Winter's Tale.  Cszerzegi Fűszeres (meaning something like 'Cserszeg spice' which doesn’t help that much) is the grape, apparently a cross between one of the traminers and the Hungarian irsai oliver.  Fortunately there’s no problem once you’ve got past the label: this has a lovely fragrant, minerally nose with a slightly muscat feel, though there’s more of a floral fragrance to it that the grapiness of muscat.  Very nice and fresh on the palate, with a lovely balance.  Lots of interest here.  Very Good Indeed.  90/100

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Egri, Száraz, minőségi vörös Bor, 12%
And again the Hungarian labelling has defeated me, as I don’t think any of that actually names the producer, sorry.  The wine has quite a perfumed, somewhat minerally nose with soft black fruit.  In the mouth, it has a nice, soft, open, fruity character.  There’s nice spice on the finish combined with a gentle tannic structure.  So nice to get a red wine with this much character and, for these days, such low alcohol.  Very Good.  88/100

2005 Bikavér, Egri, Ostoros-Novaj, 12%
Again a pleasingly restrained alcohol level, particularly given the full-bodied, ripe style: Bikavér is probably better known as Bull’s Blood.  This example has a very fresh, ripe, very fruity nose (and that should make it appeal to those who would normally pick an Australian red off the retailer’s shelf), combined with some very attractive cherry notes and a bit of warm spice.  Soft and gently fruity on the palate, this is an easy wine to enjoy.  But the simplicity of its initial impression, gives way after a few moments in the mouth to reveal some interesting depth and layers of flavours.  Very Good.  88/100

2006 Kekfrankos Rosé, Egri, Varsanyi Pinceszet, 12.5%
This has a remarkably strawberry nose – very sort of tinned/stewed strawberries.  Not unattractive, but its singularity and focus does put you off your stride a bit.  Still, it’s a decent rosé on the palate, if a bit unexceptional.  Fresh and clean on the palate with sweetish strawberry fruit flavours.  Whether it’s the fruit character or some real residual sugar, this feels to be off-dry.  Good/Very Good.  86/100

(More Hungarian wines tasted here and here)


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Last updated: 13 December 2007