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Wine Value Archive

© Copyright 1997 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.


Fortified Wines

Fonseca 1994 Vintage Porto ($24.99/375 ml)
Opaque purple verging toward black. Complex stone fruit, floral notes, some oak, and an aromatic edge oddly reminiscent of maple syrup. Massive, hulking tannins on a huge structure, but fresh plum and mixed-berry fruit punches through, making it surprisingly accessible for a Port so young. Adds leathery and menthol nuances after a couple of hours in the glass, but stays quite closed. Importer: Kobrand Corp., NYC. (Jan. 15, 1997)

Fonseca Bin No. 27 non-vintage Porto ($7.99/375 ml)
Very dark ruby color. Ripe black fruit and stone fruit aromas. Sweet and rich, a bit on the hot side, but goes down smoothly. Unexciting, but warming and pleasant, and that's not bad! Importer: Kobrand Corp., NYC. (Jan. 15, 1997)

Emilio Lustau non-vintage Jarana Light Fino Sherry ($8.99)
Clear, very pale gold color. Light, nutlike scent, more reminiscent of pecans in its delicacy than the traditional walnuts. Crisp and dry, pleasant mineral qualities and subtle nutlike flavors on the palate, clean and consistent in a long finish. Importer: Europvin USA, Emeryville, Calif., a Christopher Cannan Selection. (Jan. 15, 1997)

Emilio Lustau non-vintage DeLuxe Cream Capataz Andres Sherry ($9.99)
Clear, dark bronze. Rich, heady stone-fruit and walnut aromas, consistent on the palate with intense sweetness held in balance by a lemony acidic "grip." Walnuts, pecans, prunes and apricots, full and complex in a long and delicious finish. Exceptional value. Importer: Europvin USA, Emeryville, Calif.; a Christopher Cannan Selection. (Jan. 13, 1997)

Lustau Solera Reserva non-vintage Dry Oloroso Don Nuño ($13.99)
Clear, dark bronze color. Deep, rich stone fruit and walnuts, classic but intensified Sherry aroma. Full, dry stone-fruit flavors with a lemony "grip," rather startling in that the nose suggests a sweeter wine. Excellent mixed-nut flavors persist in a very long finish. Importer: Europvin USA, "Selected by Christopher Cannan," Emeryville, Calif. (Nov. 9, 1996)

Emilio Lustau non-vintage "Jarana" Light Fino Sherry ($7.99)
. Clear straw color, with a light, pleasant nutty aroma that's more like pecans than the usual walnuts. Fresh, crisp and dry, with a subtle complexity that's easier to experience than to describe. Very good Fino, and as is typical of the style, it won't retain its freshness long; it's best to keep an eye out for this wine and grab and enjoy it as soon as your retailer gets a shipment in. Importer: Europvin USA, "Selected by Christopher Cannan," Emeryville, Calif. (May 13, 1996).

Emilio Lustau East India Solera Sherry ($8.69/375 ml)
Very dark reddish brown color, almost opaque. Luscious aroma, juicy figs dominating the typical Sherry nuttiness. Very sweet flavor, figs and dates and a hint of walnuts; lemony acidity to give it "grip," but a little soft by Sherry standards. This is an unusual style; the back label indicates that it undergoes a special process to emulate the heat and humidity suffered by Sherry casks lashed to the decks of sailing ships in the 16th century India trade. I assume that means that they "cook" it before release. Not bad, but definitely idiosyncratic. Importer: Europvin USA, Emeryville, Calif. (April 3, 1996)

Emilio Lustau non-vintage Papirusa "Light Manzanilla Sherry" ($7.99)
Very pale gold in color. Light pecan and citrus aroma, much like an excellent Fino. Fresh, dry and full flavor, follows the nose; clean and tart, a spectacular aperitif. Importer: Europvin USA, Emeryville, Calif. (Feb. 17, 1996)

Hidalgo non-vintage Manzanilla "Le Gitana" ($8.99)
Very pale gold, lighter than any Sherry I've seen other than fresh Fino. Full, pleasant scent of walnuts and hints of stone fruits. Light and dry on the palate, follows the nose, fresh and appealing. Made a wondrous (and unexpected) match with Roquefort cheese. Importer: Classical Wines from Spain, Seattle. (Jan. 20, 1996)

Emilio Lustau non-vintage "Los Arcos" Dry Amontillado ($7.99)
Clear, bright amber. Heady walnuts and pecans in the aroma, leading to a full-bodied and dry flavor, mixed nuts backed by bright, lemony acidity. Delightful aperitif and a great value. Importer: Christopher Cannan Selection, Europvin USA, Emeryville, Calif. (Jan. 10, 1996)

Emilio Lustau non-vintage Palo Cortado "Peninsula" Sherry ($11.99)
Clear, bright-copper color. Rich and forward aroma of pecans. Dry, full-bodied, pecans and stone fruit flavors, with a firm, lemony acidic "grip." Label describes it as "a full-bodied dry Sherry between the Amontillado and Oloroso types," and that seems accurate; it's no dessert wine but a stylish aperitif. Importer: Europvin USA, Emeryville, Calif. (Dec. 18, 1995)

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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