A tasting of wines made only by Masters of Wine (MW) from around the world may reflect a bit of boasting by the Institute of Masters of Wine. But being an MW is not a license to make wine; MWs know enough to interact with a winemaker intelligently and guarantee nothing more in this regard.
But the particular group of MWs showing their wares in this recent tasting has gone farther and they have made some delightful wines. Unfortunately, a number of these wines are not available in the U.S., much less in the Kansas City area.
But some are. And if you love rich, powerful Syrah, then Betz Family Syrah La Cote Patriarche 2011 from Washington State’s Yakima Valley (by Bob Betz MW) will stun you. It has as much power as any Syrah you will ever taste, but it has delightful balance too.
Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay 2012 (by Michael Hill Smith MW) is a crisp style of Chardonnay, not at all the fat and buttery style that Australia was known for not so long ago.
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Domaine Wachau Gruener Veltliner Smaragd Achleiten 2012 (by Roman Horvarth MW) looks like a mouthful to say, but it’s also a mouthful to taste — exotic, peachy, with spiced pear and apricot. For me, all these MW made wines were excellent, whether white or red, dry or sweet.
Zind Humbrecht’s Riesling Grand Cru Rangen Clos Saint Urbain 2011 (by Olivier Humbecht MW) was decidedly sweet but powerful and weighty as well. Villa Maria, an MW led winery in New Zealand, offered a delightful Chardonnay Keltern Vineyard 2011 (made by Alistair Maling MW) that was utterly charming.
Perhaps the most unusual MW made wine that we tasted is an old favorite of mine: Brokenwood Semillon ILR Single Vineyard 2007 from the Hunter Valley in Australia (made by Nick Bulleid MW). This is almost shockingly tangy and still quite youthful. It’s made in a style that is intended to last for decades. In my experience, it will.
Doug Frost is a Kansas City-based wine and spirits writer and consultant who for decades has happily educated the public about all things drink. He is one of only three people in the world to have earned the coveted titles of master sommelier and master of wine. He contributes a monthly wine column for The Star’s Food section.