Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pascal Bellier Cheverny 2008

I know nothing about this wine. I know scraps and bits and pieces about Cheverny, a Loire Valley appellation, but absolutely nothing about the grower. Apparently this is a blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Chardonnay.

Just thought I'd crack open something a little different.

Silver-lined gold - quite pale and youthful.

The nose is gooseberry grass and oatmeal with hints of passion fruit and grapefruit.

Quite green on the palate, but not in a bad way. Mouth-feel is mealy and gristy, with that oaty texture coming through. It serves to bring out some of the juiciness. Some of the fruit and phenolics seem kind of all over the place. Good minerality though. I think it probably needs food - lemon roast chicken or maybe BBQ'd trout with dill and lime. I don't have either of those right now. Pleasant though.

Tasted 16 May 2010 at Luvians Bottleshop

Coume del Mas Banyuls Quintessence 2007

I help at this winery, so my banter is not by any means objective, nor should it be taken as such. Doesn't really matter, as the wines are ace whether I like them or not.

Dark, purple and broody. Kind of like Barney's evil twin, who happens to be a velociraptor.

Sweet wild herbs and honeysuckle on the nose with a touch of smokey meatiness. Bramble and blueberry compote fruit as well.

Philippe, the winemaker, makes this wine as he would a red, for the most part. He waits until the very last minute to fortify and considers it important that it should have as much character and structure as one of his dry wines. The fruit is incredibly pure - blackberry and blueberry so ripe they burst, sat on a bed of sweet wild rosemary with a dusty forest floor. That honeysuckle sweetness comes through on the mid-palate with savoury hints throughout. All the while there a gentle tannin edge that provides structure and depth to the texture. Long and lingering on the finish.

Tasted loads, but most recently 16 May 2010 at Luvians Bottleshop

Vosne Romanée 2006 Domaine Michel Gros

Sometimes I prefer interesting to delicious.

Young colour. Burgundian translucency but still rather intense. Hints of violet among the Burgundy.

The nose hints of what to come. Sour, crunchy fruit with notes of pith and the sense of something damp. Any perfumed notes are tertiary - the primary aromas hit with such focus. They linger.

The palate is a wine geek's conversation. Structure-wise, it's like a tightly-woven rope pulled taut. That crunchy red fruit acidity - cranberries, cherries, raspberries and cherry stones tied tight, locked in with wet tea leaves, damp rope and river pebbles. Within that there's underlying minerality, humming through from the mid palate to the finish. This is savoury Burgundy, intense to taste without the payoff of sweet fruit. It's also very young. I can see leathery, dried meat notes in its future. I can see it going brilliantly with venison steaks both now and then. It's going to be gamey, once that crunchy fruit softens up and cures the leatheriness.

Tasting it the next afternoon, with a day's opening, some of that intensity had softened but it was by no means tired. A touch of dry oak came out on the finish.

This was a good snapshot wine. There's so much intensity and yet so much more to come. Swirling a glass with a couple of friends in the trade was a joy. We chatted about it for longer than we should have. It's remarkably honest and gives you a lot to talk about.

Tasted 15 & 16 May, 2010 at Luvians Bottleshop

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Domaine Fourrier Morey-St Denis Clos Solon Vielles Vignes 2002

About six years ago a friend's girlfriend wanted a few of us to design a cellar for her father. Not in the architectural sense, but in the wine sense. Her dad was fairly minted and so I was thinking that their entry level Burgundies should be classy, domaine-bottled village stuff that hovered between twenty and thirty quid. In 2004 that was not as much of a challenge as it is today. I bought this bottle to taste as an example of what we were looking at for the Burgundian section of his lair. Fourrier's reputation, value and - most importantly - quality, would set the tone for the cellar.

Then the friend broke up with the girlfriend.

And so the bottle sat in the cellar, kind of an odd one out on the rack. I've pulled it out several times over the last six years, contemplating it, appreciating the old-school label, absent-mindedly rolling my thumb over the vintage, then sliding it back into the rack and grabbing something else. I wanted to exhibit a modicum of patience.

So we opened it a little over a week ago. It had been a bit of a Pinot evening (no more notes I'm afraid).

Vibrant, intense and brilliant - catches the candlelight and seems to to carry it's own light. What Burgundy should look like.

Mute on the nose to start, but comes out with air and a bit of warmth (the cellar's rather chilly at the moment). Piercing, crunchy red fruits and dark perfume come out with air.

The intensity of the palate is impressive. It hums with energy. Bright, brilliant red fruits clinging to a remarkably structured acidity. Incredibly youthful, savoury finish with a layered, flinty minerality. Soft and lifting on the finish. This is brilliant.


Tasted at Naughton 1/5/2010

Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart 1996

An all-too rare evening of wine and friends found some nice bottles opened, good chat and a fair few laughs.

Hints of brass but still youthful, excitable in the glass. Speedy bubbles.

Fresh yeast, crushed oyster shells and lemon rind. Zingy with hints of biscuit and very full on the nose.

More-ish palate. Simple but well-structured. Rich & supple with sweet strawberry fruit and marzipan mouthfeel that comes through as the fruit subsides. I don't think this will pick up any great complexity but it's certainly a lovely drop now, showing that nice balance of a touch maturity combined juicy freshness.


Tasted at Naughton 1/5/2010