Monday, November 28, 2011

Madeira Barbeito Malvasia 1994 Colheita Cask 232c

The single cask series from Barbeito are some of the most extraordinary wines I've ever encountered. I still have one bottle left of the Cask 18a, which is one of the single best wines I've ever drunk. A good future would be one in which Barbeito released several more of these gems.

Honeyed brass.

Smoked hay dunked in toffee and pepper. Hot and somewhat steamy.

Orange peels roasted in a muscovado crust. Toffee and salted caramel, with cigar smoke and pipe leaf. The notes of most wines like this read the same, but they're not the same. This is juicy, piercing, intense and explosive, but rich and voluptuous all at the same time. I've never really considered dessert island wines before, but one of these casks would surely be one of them. Incredible stuff.


Tasted at Naughton, 6 November 2011


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny 2002

My love for these wines is well-documented. They form a valuable chunk of my cellar. I wish I could afford to drink them more often.

Quite young, beautifully translucent Burgundy.

Sweet nose of underbrush and confit strawberry. Pithy notes. Full and somewhat leathery. Hint of cocoa.

Feels incredible. Strawberry & cranberry laced suede and leather that drifts into silk and satin, then flutters along into a finish that leaves more feeling than flavour. Warm Burgundy, elegant and ephemeral. There are are wood spice and forest like notes as well, but the harmony of all somewhat obscures the individual notes.


Tasted at Naughton, 6 November 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 1995

I've become more and more convinced that Champagne goes through a pronounced intermediate phase towards the end of its teenage years. The vibrancy of youth and the rich, toasty-ness of age meet for a time and mute each other. I don't really know the technical term for this or even the science behind it. But I know it when I taste it.

Bright gold. No brass or green.

Bready and savoury on the nose.

Sourdough and nameless citrus and fibrous fruit. Long-lovely, but more sensuous than flavourful. Spiced quince. Intense but under-developed. Needs a long time.


Tasted at Naughton 6 November 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tio Pepe

Given my love and devotion to the wines from Jerez, it's a bit of a surprise that I've never bothered to post a note for this benchmark Fino. About six years ago my mate Broomie and I toured the impressive Gonzalez Byass bodega. The scale was staggering. They never commented on just how many bottles they produced, but given the seemingly endless barrels in the solera, I imagine it's quite a lot. Yet the quality, regardless of scale, is extraordinary. This is a good thing. Tio Pepe is ubiquitous throughout the UK. It's nice to know that, theoretically at least, you're never too far from a decent glass of Fino. Sadly, far too many of the bars and restaurants that stock it leave it open too long, dooming it lose its freshness and zing to oxidation. Ah well.

Silver and bright with green highlights

Nose of hay, flint and sourdough bread with limes soaked in olive brine.

Imagine tearing a chunk of sourdough bread, squeezing lime juice onto it, dipping it in olive oil and then smearing it with green olive tapenade. This wine is like that. But then it finishes by crunching oyster shells with lemon peel. Benchmark fino.


Tasted at Luvians Bottleshop, 1 November 2011