“Bright yellow-green. The enticing nose offers aromas of stone fruits, white truffle, fennel, crème brûlée and spicy vanillin oak. Broad, creamy and seamless; the lush texture is perfectly supported by harmonious acidity and lifted by noteworthy inner-mouth perfume of white flowers and sweet spices. Super-concentrated but also well balanced, this long wine leaves behind lingering flavors of molasses and rum. This was only the second vintage for this bottling, but the oak was very judiciously used and the wine has aged remarkably well. Starting in 2015, the winemaking regimen at Pievalta changed, and oak is no longer used to age the wine; by contrast, roughly 55% of the 2004 was aged in small oak barrels.”
“The 2004 Pintas Vintage Port is a field blend from very old vines (some 80 years or so) coming in at 110 grams per liter of residual sugar. Very different than its 2003 sibling in character, this shows more complexity from the get-go, as it is less dominated by sugar and better balanced. Tightening fast on the finish, it is beautifully constructed, serious, nuanced and gripping. As it airs out, it fleshes out a bit and becomes much livelier. It has the verve and zest that the 2003 lacked. The next day it was still powerful and tannic on the finish. You can approach it now but give it some air. Notwithstanding the tannins, it was also more expressive. This is young and still evolving. It should have a reasonably long life ahead.”
“Ruby-red. Cabernet Sauvignon aromas of cedar, graphite, tobacco and green bell pepper dominate the nose. Enters ripe with almost stewed plum and black cherry flavors, then turns slightly fresher and livelier, with saline, savory notes of aromatic spices, cedar and coffee complicating violet flavors. Boasts outstanding balance, suave tannins and length; undoubtedly a great wine, but the Nero d’Avola identity is almost completely lost, which I think is a shame (and makes me lower my score); those who don’t mind a lack of somewhereness in their wines will rate this higher than I did.”
Full medium red. Vibrant, expressive scents of cassis, black cherry, licorice and violet. Densely packed and quite firmly built, conveying terrific juicy intensity and a restrained sweetness to its youthful dark fruit flavors. Some peppery acidity gives this very penetrating wine a slight leanness. With its firm vertebral column, this wine still needs time to gain in pliancy. Incidentally, this was the first vintage of the Nicolás Catena Zapata to include some Malbec vinified with whole clusters, and that no doubt explains its peppery element.
Deep red-ruby. Enticing aromas of dark plum, red cherry, graphite and milk chocolate, with hints of tar and potpourri. Then distinctly sweet but not overripe or heavy on the palate, with lush flavors of dark plum, redcurrant jelly, tobacco and coffee complemented but not overwhelmed by sexy vanillin oak. Very powerful, almost brooding wine, finishing with fine-grained but noteworthy tannic bite, spicy tar, balsamic and licorice character. There is a leafy aromatic quality to this wine that is due to the higher than usual Malvasia Nera content (almost 10% of the final blend).