Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mas Cristine Côtes du Roussillon Blanc 2008

This tasting note is morally bankrupt. I kick over the spittoon of vinous detachment and neutrality, I turn a blind eye to scruples and sneeze in the direction of journalistic integrity.

The thing is, I have an interest in this wine. Not financial, sadly, but an interest nonetheless. I helped make it. In a disused corner of a seeming silent co-op near Argeles, we crafted it with blood, sweat, tears and the tools of the trade. I named the ancient press 'the battleship' as we rolled it out and hosed it down after crushing fruit. I took samples from frothing, fermenting barrels, scratching down temperature readings and specific gravity notations. I tasted the juice pre-ferment, closing my eyes and trying to imagine what the future held. Julien and Andy made sure I didn't screw up and in the late summer heat we all dreamt of the beer to come.

So this is a wine I am predisposed to like. This is a wine that I've put on the wine list at the restaurant because I MADE IT. So there.

Slivers of platinum run along the pale gold - there's a nice shimmer and brilliance to it.

Decadent on the nose - fleshy white fruit and honeysuckle with a hint of nettles. Beautifully heady.

Very more-ish on the palate - all that fleshy white fruit is there with lovely minerality providing an exquisite, rounded texture. It hits every part of the mouth. Judicious and careful use of oak gives it good grip also making it a hedonist's delight. It's supple, and while there's a touch of heat - as it is 14% - it's well-balanced and never overbearing. Good length as well. This is tasting brilliant now and it's only been in bottle a fortnight. I imagine it will get better over the next year and taste ace for at least another 5 or 6.

***** (did I mention I helped make it?)

Tasted 30/4/2009 at Shorehead

Monday, April 27, 2009

Marsannay "Les Vaudenelles" 2005 Domaine Bruno Clair

Bruno Clair make some stunning wines; indeed their Gevrey Chambertins and Morey St Denis are prized by Burgundy fanatics and wine lovers in general. Those are pricey however, and deservedly so. This is one of their entry-level wines from their home village of Marsannay. I'm always on the look-out for good value Burgundy. It can be hard to find.

I like the idea of good value wines from houses better known for their stratospheric prices. The Mâcon-Verzé from Domaine Leflaive or the Cuilleron Syrah Vin d' Pays are good examples. When those wines come from a vintage as hyped as 2005, it piques my curiosity.

I've had a long week followed by a long weekend. I cooked some sausage casserole and mash and looked forward to popping the bottle.

The colour is dark burgundy (funny that), with a hint of violet. The rim is beginning to pale.

Touch dusty on the nose, with raspberries and forest floor. There's a bit of maturity there, which is surprising. I was expecting more youth, though I suppose it is four years old now.

The palate is gripping but not harsh. The tannins have softened. The fruit still has that crispness to it, with a backbone of slightly tart raspberries and cranberries. It's not very complex but then it isn't necessarily simple either. It's a bit old fashioned - no overripe fruit or over-extraction - and all the better for it. Tastes great with the food (which I'm rather pleased with).


Tasted 27/4/2009 at Shorehead