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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Is lean really good?

I was recently sent 11 wines from the Rias Baixas region of Spain by the Spanish economic and Commercial Office to review but i'm not sure that my opinions will be welcome. All the wines are commercially available in the Irish market and they retail from €15.50 to €29.00. Overall, I had expected that these would be lovely, especially in this current heat wave but sadly this was not the case.
Indeed, the wines all showed a remarkable degree of green character and general lack of fruit, which is surprising given that 10 of the wines were 100% albarino. This is a variety characterised as being riesling mixed with viognier - zingy green apples and ripe peaches. There was plenty of green but not enough ripeness.
I tasted the wines blind in three flights of 11. The first flight was a random selection order, the remaining two were random selections by region of origin. I marked the wines out of 15 - 5 for aromatics and 10 for palate.
My top wine was the Maior de Mendoza 2011, which averaged 11.3. The main reason it did so well is that it had a good balance between fruit and acidity. This is important as overall I found all the wines verging on tart. However, at €21.00 per bottle this a fair whack to pay for a lean wine.
Indeed, my overall impression was poor - I found the wines did not have an appealing character as such and that the prices asked are far too high. Interestingly the most expensive wine, at €29.00 rated 10th overall in my scoring - just how much is fashion worth? With an average retail price of €19.14 it seems to me that you're paying more for fashion than for wine.
For me, I'll stick to off-dry or sweet Mosel riesling. There's a better balance and an elegance that was missing from most of these wines and the value for money is better as well.

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