Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chenevottes 2002 Michel Colin-Deléger & Fils

Well, we finished the Bonnes Mares 2002, so we thought we'd open something white from the same vintage. Long live Sunday Decadence.

Deep gold with hints of greenish brass. Nice brilliance.

Hot buttered honey, fresh rising dough, quince, heather with some sweet wild ceps. There's a nutty, marzipan-i-ness to it as well. Perhaps a whiff of pineapple.

Ridiculously juicy on the palate - layered quince, pineapple and perhaps a touch of guava with beeswax, manuka & heather honey and creamy butter. The texture is a touch gristy and gripping, though the oak is soft and never cloying. Again, there's that tang of fresh rising dough - maybe sourdough. It's really cracking stuff. Quite a lingering finish.

Proper white Burgundy may well be my dessert island wine.

Tasted fighting January Sunday boredom 24/1/10 at Luvians Bottleshop

Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2002 Domaine Louis Jadot

A decadent Sunday. We decided to buy something nice to eat and something nice to drink. Not a bad day at work.

Intense, brilliant dark Burgundy. Shines with the light.

The nose is dark black cherry with pulped forest fruit and edges of floral perfume (rose petals?). Incredibly sweet and heady.

The palate is proper masculine Burgundy - cherries squashed in a velvet glove with darker notes of wild herbs, forest floor and a bit of liquorice. Having some artisan and farmhouse cheeses which brings out that velvet tannic grip as well some more of the sweetness of fruit. Incredibly pure and structured. Possibly a little short on the finish but it's forgiven. It's nice that you can still find quality Burgundy at relatively good value.


Tasted 24/1/10 at Luvians Bottleshop

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chateau Calon Ségur 2003

Incredibly dark. Impenetrable. I'm almost surprised the tint is ruby and not purple.

Heady & deep on the nose. Woodlands with cassis, sweet darker fruits and strangely reminiscent of bonfires with a hint of copper. That bonfire & copper softens into whiffs of butterscotch with a bit of toffee.

Young, brash and overwhelming on the palate. It's huge, glycerol-y and utterly closed at the moment. Right now it's simply the sensation of an immense wine with some surprisingly mild tannins on the finish. With coaxing some of that sweet forest fruit begins to appear and the grip gains firmness, the tannins a touch more rasping. It's big but gently so. Soft. Needs a decade, possibly more.


Tasted 21/1/10 at Luvians Bottleshop

Saturday, January 16, 2010

comparative tasting part 3: Bordeaux Blends

Chateau des Trois Chardons 2005

Deep purple with flecks of ruby.

Very tight on the nose - boot polish and liquorice with candied cassis & violets coming through after a little coaxing.

So young on the palate, but with fantastic structure and texture. The fruit takes a wee while to come through, but when it does it's beautifully integrated. Incredibly tight-knit stuff and surprisingly drinkable now in spite of it. The balance is really impressive. Classic stuff.


Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains 2005

Incredibly deep purple - intense and brooding. Viscous.

Ridiculously savoury on the nose - smoked meat, dates, figs, blueberry & plum compote. It smells immensely rich.

Soft on the palate - velvet glove. Still a big wine though. Fat, fleshy plum fruit; gentle, sweet tannins. It takes awhile to come out - there's a bit of cocoa powder. More of a rounded palate compared to the Chardons' gripping linear structure. Might chalk that up to the 42% Merlot in the blend. Deeply hedonistic.


Tasted 16/1/10 at Luvians Bottleshop

Friday, January 15, 2010

comparative tasting part 2: Marsannes (with a hint of Roussanne)

My hangover's settling in and all I want is my bed. I will, however, taste wine and note it for posterity instead. After that I shall grab a (very) late lunch.

Chapoutier Saint Joseph Blanc 2006

Colour's gold with silver edges and the slightest hint of pink - no idea where that's coming from - my bloodshot eyes, perhaps?

Nose is a bit mute - peach notes that run into pineapple and a hint of the tropics. Then a flinty, smokey edge that suggests something more luscious, like honey must.

Fat and mouth-filling with fleshy white fruits - peach, melon and pineapple with a nice texture. The oak is noticeable, but pleasant. This could so easily be over the top, but it isn't. It's rounded, with a nice waxiness and wee touch of candied fruits. Quite bright as well. The finish has legs and it's really quite refreshing.


Qupé Marsanne 2007

Far more silver than the Saint Joseph. Nice brilliance.

Nose is a bit cheesy - kind of a pecorino or manchego undercut by a white fruit chutney. Interesting, though not terribly appealing.

Incredibly fat and somewhat unwielding - think there may be something wrong with it. Seems to be a bit of sulphur taint. There's that odd cheesiness to it. Will have to try it again sometime because I think there's something wrong here.

**? will taste again soon.

Tasted 15/1/10 at Luvians Bottleshop

comparative tasting part 1: Nebbiolos

I'm not generally a fan of 'comparing' wines. Wine is meant to stand on its own or with a meal - that's where the enjoyment comes from. Comparative tastings should only really be held for educational purposes. That said, this was a fun and illuminating way to spend the afternoon.

Bonny Doon Vineyards Ca' del Solo Nebbiolo 2005

Ruby with hints of that Nebbiolo rust - nice brilliance.

Intense cherry on the nose with a hint of tar, sage and wet stone. Perhaps a little green peppercorn.

Proper Nebbiolo on the palate - brilliantly rustic grip, bracing acidity, bunches of crunchy, soured cherries and that fantastic wet asphalt texture. Pebbles and purity with great balance. Bravo.


Fontanafredda Serralunga d'Alba Barolo 2004

Burnt ruby, nice depth.

Nose is smoky with flecks of black pepper, cherries and cranberries and a little whiff of bell pepper.

Bursting fruit on the palate - rich, toothsome and rambunctious. This is juicy stuff, again with incredible acidity and great texture. It's a bigger wine, but perhaps a wee bit lacking in the precision of the Bonny Doon. It makes up for it with exuberance.


Tasted 15/1/10 at Luvians Bottleshop

I think they're both brilliant wines but at the moment the Bonny Doon is showing better. Oddly, I prefer it because it strikes me as a great deal more 'old world' than the Barolo. Who'd have thought?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

two new wines with dinner

The howling gales, crashing waves and bitter cold require foods to warm you from head to toe. Rib-sticking nosh that provides a smile with every rich, indulgent bit. So I whipped up some cauliflower and stilton soup and followed it up with toad in the hole. For the first dish I tried something new; I asked the Twitter world what I should pair with it. They said Vouvray. So I grabbed something I hadn't tried before and hoped for the best.

Vigneau-Chevreau Vouvray Sec 2007

Deep gold in colour - looks old. Classic, classy chenin.

Nose is brilliant honeycomb & beeswax with lime and a hint of the tropical.

Rich, sinewy waxy texture. Gripping palate - deep, dry and moreish. Almost bitter, roast citrus fruits laced with baked honey - all in all brilliantly complex. Compelling wine for not a lot of money. Perfect with the soup. Will also last another decade at least.


Domaine Richaud Terre de Galets Côtes du Rhône 2007

Well, there's a lot of hype, banter, chat and lunacy orbiting the 2007 Rhônes these days. From what I can tell, it's all about the fruit. From what I've tasted, I'd say I prefer '06. There's a bit more balance and the secondaries come through a bit more. But that's neither here nor there.

The colour is deep purple, but not in a '70s rock kind of way.

The nose is ridiculously fruity. Not jammy, but pure unadulterated cassis with backings of blueberry. After a wee while the minerality and liquorice begins to show as well.

That wollop of fruit from the nose is every bit as intense on the palate. Incredible blackcurrant and blueberry with serious focus - it grabs you. Young, vibrant and almost humming. Then, in the middle, there's a bit of a blank spot, followed by that minerality, wet stone and black liquorice.

Good stuff. Interesting. Delicious with toad in the hole.

Tasted 13/1/10 at Shorehead

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Max 2004, Miles Mossop Wines

No real sign of fading at the core - deep right up to the rim, which is just beginning to ruby.

Nose is deep fruit - compote-y.

The palate's brilliantly pure cassis and blueberries with a hint of tar on the backbone. A touch of green pepper and spice. None of that horrendous burnt rubber what ruins so many South African reds. I like this, rather surprisingly. A bit simple, but lovely.

Tasted 12/1/10 at Luvians Bottleshop

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chateau Labérgorce-Zédé 1996

This wine won't exist in its current form for much longer. The former estates that comprised the original Chateau Labérgorce have been reunited. It's a shame; I love the name. It sounds like a ski run married an alien. Oh well. There's not much static in the wine world, to be fair.

Ruby creeps in at the rim, though it's still dark down to the core.

Soft nose - violets with a whiff of cherry stones.

The palate is delightful - elegant and charming. Soft, caressing tannins, cherry with a hint of plum on the mid palate. Nice length with floral, perfumed edges. Very feminine sort of claret - classic Margaux and cracking good value.

Tasted 11/1/10 at Luvians Bottleshop

Monday, January 04, 2010

Chateau Gruaud Larose 1990

It's important to remember patience with wine, especially a bottle with age and pedigree. This isn't out of pretence or ceremony but rather because you want to get the best out of something special.

I opened this bottle with some friends before Christmas. It's a wine I've visited a few times before and always thought it required more time. We fashioned a rudimentary decanter and poured some glasses. We sipped slowly once or twice and then left it for about twenty minutes.

Still youthful colour with good brilliance - deep, ruby & crimson at the core.

The nose starts off a little unappealing; stewed and reductive, suggesting perhaps some bret taint. After about 20 minutes it sheds the unpleasantness. Smokey, soured leather comes through with fleshy dark stone fruit and that earthiness that suggests classic Gruaud.

On the palate it lacks definition; tight, soured, stewed and old. Burnt orange and oven scrapings. So we set it down for awhile and watch Pete's new kittens fight, play and thunder through the flat. The Burmese is cuddly while the Bengal is not.

Returning to the glass is a revelation. The dust and cobwebs shrugged off and the fruit sheds its sour, burnt orange notes. The textured stones and minerality come through, the mouthfeel is fleshy with great grip - cherries and plums with bright juiciness. It feels like biting into something. At the core is that meaty, savoury and rustic Gruaud note - this is a St Julien treat, the region's most masculine wine. The wine is still young, needing time, patience and at least an hour's decanting.

Tasted 21/12/09 on Devonshire Rd

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Meo Camuzet Nuits St Georges 1er Cru Aux Murgers 2000

A wine shop in the lead up to Christmas is a manic place. The motion is perpetual and the customers constant. There's never enough space to move around and rarely are things sitting just where you left them. Then, all of a sudden, it stops. The last few hours are quiet. Shell-shocked staff tidy in the aftermath, hoping to replace the stock just bought. In the aftermath of one such day recently, a generous supplier who was helping out suggested we open something rather nice.

The colour is rustic and rusty - distinguished and deep to the core.

Sweet strawberry compote on the nose, a touch of leather, forest floor and dark flower petals. Heady and hedonistic.

The palate is wonderful - juicy fruit crushed with fresh herbs & spice. Rich and layered with with all notes and nuances caressing the palate as they should. Then, as with all great Burgundy, it becomes about the sensation, the ephemeral, the feel and memory of it. Brilliant stuff.


Tasted 17/12/09 at Luvians Bottleshop.