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September Wines of the Month: Azores Wine Company Terrantez do Pico 2017 & S C Pannell Old MacDonald Grenache 2017

My September Wines of the Month are young but sophisticated, surely with long lives ahead.  With terroir in spades, they scream right variety, right place.  Azores Wine Company Terrantez do Pico 2017 and S C Pannell Old MacDonald Grenache 2017 are, without doubt, among the best wines I’ve tasted this year.

For members of the trade, importers Red Squirrel’s and Liberty Wines’ tastings this month provide an opportunity to taste these beauties.  Let me know if you list them and I’ll add your details to this page for consumers keen to check them out.

Azores Wine Company Terrantez do Pico 2017 (IG Açores)

Azores Wine Company Terrantez do Pico

Azores Wine Company Terrantez do Pico 2017

This exceptional Wine of the Month was my pick of the Azores Wine Company’s 2017 releases. Like its predecessors, I expect it to age very well (click here for my notes of a 2010-2015 vertical tasting of Azores Wine Company Terrantez do Pico ).  Bristling with energy still after day two, I couldn’t bear to tip it away, so decanted it into a smaller bottle and came back to it after a weekend away.  It was quite stupendous on day four! As I’ve come to expect, AWC’s Terrantez do Pico has a spicy, tannic edge and a briny, earthier saltiness than the Verdelho (saline) or  typically rock salt flecked Arinto dos Acores.  Flavours of salted lemon, roasted lime and salsify add to its idiosyncratic profile. Quite unique, with terrific palate presence and mouthwatering length and drive through the finish.  12% 803 bottles produced.  £50 at Red Squirrel Wines (2016 vintage).

S C Pannell Old MacDonald Grenache 2017 (Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale)

McLaren Vale Grenache

S C Pannell Old MacDonald Grenache 2017

I thought it would be tough to outdo the 2012 vintage of Pannell’s top McLaren Vale Grenache, a personal favourite.  The 2017 is mesmerisingly spicier, more savoury, with a unique Australian thumbprint of dusty peppertree – dry twigs and leaves (snap and crackle), which I enjoyed enormously about it.  It’s more Eau de Cologne or aftershave than ‘perfume,’ with Imperial Leather cedar, clove and sandalwood, Mourvedre-like saddle soap/leather and orange peel and vermouth-like herb nuances to its creamy, sweet, yet restrained – very much on the backfoot – red berry and cherry fruit.  Pithy, striated tannins – quite the filigree fretwork – are present but dynamic.  Lingers long and lifted, with peppery grunt, tinder box tension and a persistent undertow of mineral-sluiced acidity.  A triumph!  The grapes were hand harvested early, on 4th March and come from Old MacDonald vineyard’s 75 year old vines in Blewitt Springs. They were fermented in small open-top fermenters with 20% whole bunch. The wine spent 11 days on skins before gentle pressing. It was transferred to a 4,500 litre, eight-year-old French-oak vat for maturation before being bottled without filtration nine months later.  14.5% Liberty WinesRRP £39.99.

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