Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Equipo Navazos la Bota de Oloroso 28 Bota Punto

This is expensive. But should you get the chance, you should taste it. Really.

Quite pale for an Oloroso. A golden amber.

Varnish and mahogany and almonds and caramel and roasted oranges, dusty Victorian office-rich wood, leather, pipe tobacco.

All from the nose on the palate but with the most rich and sensuous mouthfeel utterly elegant, held by polished wood and a baked citrus acidity. Silky. Leafy notes. Length for miles. Amazing; truly amazing.


Tasted 22 November 2012 at Swig.


Buy My Book. Please.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Vega Sicilia Valbuena 2004

It's always amused me that Spain's greatest winery (that doesn't make sherry) has 'Sicilia' in the name. I don't know why. Part of me hopes there's a ridiculously great boutique winery on Sicily called 'Ca' de España' or something like that.

The last vintage I had of this was, I think, the '98, and it was tasting awesome. This I got to sneak a sip of before the bottle was whisked away to a tasting to which I was sadly NFI.

Lovely gradation of colour. Ruby rim, dark core.

Meaty, with dusty red to dark fruit on the nose. Intense.

Palate is young but serious. Pure, juicy redcurrants and blackberries, wrapped in dust and leather in some sort of barren dessert. Like drinking a western. There's a taut, sinewy texture that everything rides on. It grabs you and tugs on the tongue. Ace. Classic.


Tasted 22 November 2012 at Swig.


Buy My Book. Please.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Clio Jumilla 2008

This is from Jumilla, which I used to know as one of those great value regions of Spain that punched well above its weight. Well, this bottle is one of those super-premium depleted-uranium-density monstrosities that weighs roughly the same as a magnum of normal wine. It's a lot of weight to punch above. 

Ruby edges with a purple core.

Violets on the nose, followed by cassis and cocoa. Quite powerful. 

Ripe, rich and forward, viscous and mouthfilling. Bit of a bruiser but serious stuff regardless. Not my style, but impeccably made. Silky tannins. Great length. This is one of those wines that's polished almost into anonymity. It's delicious and would be great with a perfectly grilled chunk of fillet, but it's not going to tell you very much. 


Tasted at Swig, 22 November 2012.

Buy My Book. Please.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Verget Le Montrachet 1992

This was my fourth Montrachet. Yes, I keep count. It's about counting how lucky I am to have tasted the things I have. There are those luckier and those unluckier, I know, but it's important to me that I remember that I'm very lucky, and that I shouldn't take it for granted. 

I'm firmly in the group that feels that this is the unparalleled greatest white wine vineyard in the world. I've tried three different growers' wines, and while all different, they stand towering above the neighbouring vineyards. It's remarkable. 

Green and gold.

Hilarious. That smells like Yquem. Sweetly resiny and spicy with outrageous tropical candied pineapple fruits and a whiff of lacquer. Jumps from the glass - I'm scared to swirl and coax more out of it. 

Incredibly rich, ripe and busting out all those indulgent notes from the nose. It starts off with that sweet tropical fruit and then from the back sides follows up with melted butter, cream and a nutty vanilla depth. All seems in its proper place, held there by gorgeous acidity. Not a note out of place. Gorgeous. Persistent - the finish goes on for minutes and the memory lingers even longer.


Tasted 5 November 2012 at The Sampler.


Buy My Book. Please. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Coche-Dury Meursault 2001

This was a wonderful example of the better wine and the better wine now. I have little doubt in my head or heart that this is not as fine a wine as the '95. There's less to it. But its integration; its general harmony; the way its structure simply glides across the tongue and palate beguiled me, and makes me think that this is a wine truly at its peak. I feel it won't show a great deal more than what it's showing now. While the '95 has a couple of years before it gets that harmony, this all right here, right now, and it's brilliant. 

Drink now, in quantity, preferably with seared scallops.

Almost the same colour as the '95. 

Nutty, with marmalade and orange peel. Worryingly oxiditive at first, but it blows off, revealing fresh hazelnuts and chantilly cream and lemon posset.

Lovely, silky and rich on the palate, with beautiful integration. All that from the nose. Utterly decadent. Not as complex or serious as the '95, but all the bits and pieces just seem to be fitting together better at the moment. Really beautiful, charming, lovely and very, very long on the finish.


Tasted 5 November 2012 at The Sampler.


Buy My Book. Please.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Coche-Dury Meursault 1995

It was a dinner in Beaune 8 years ago that I first tried a wine from this producer. Until then it had only been rumour, hearsay and the like. It was, I believe, a 2000 vintage Puligny. He only does one Puligny, 'Les Enseigneres'. It was amazing. My boss at the time thought it was amazing too, and he considered it crucial not to consider anything amazing because amazing things cost amazing money. 

It was a great dinner all around, with great food, company and other splendid wines. It was only my second buying trip ever, so I was fresh-faced and excited. Lots of things stand out still, but that Puligny stands out just a little more. 

Deep gold but still incredibly bright at the core. Light dances through it.

Nose of rich butter and fresh toast. Very soft, gradually bringing out marmalade and honey. As air hits it, more flint & slate.

Palate quite hard at first, with mature cheddar and hard tack biscuits and a bit of gripping salinity. It loosens up then, but without losing it. Rich and toasty with soothing buttered pineapple and bright, young bracing citrus acidity that guides the flavour throughout the palate. Then the finish lifts into the sensual and ephemeral, echoing for moments. Sensational. Decanting advised.


Tasted 5 November 2012 at The Sampler.


Buy My Book. Please.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gaja Sperss 1993

 I continue my year of Piedmontese bliss. This was extraordinary for what wasn't there - food. It screamed for some manner of rich game dish, or truffles, or a mushroom risotto, or SOMETHING. And I didn't have anything. And that made me sad.

Still very young colour. A bit of tawny purple with the ruby.

Sandy, dusty, cherries and a touch of pomegranate. There's a classic, dusty Victorian office about the whole thing- leather and mahogany. There's something very juicy under it all as well.

Gentle, supple, touch sweet cherry, grainy, leathery. So much about feeling. Silk, satin and suede, with that gentle, juicy cherry fruit that just slips along the tongue, and yet there's a power underneath, I know with the right food this would just lift up beautifully.


Tasted 5 November 2012 at The Sampler.


Buy My Book. Please.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fernando de Castilla Aged Amontillado

Honestly? I don't taste enough sherry. I don't. So here's some more.

Lovely light caramel colour.

Salted smoked almonds, toffee, vanilla and a whole mess of woodspice. It just smells awesome, really. No coaxing necessary, though I do want to linger over it at length.

Toffee popcorn and wood varnish on the palate? Sound weird? Good, maybe it will scare you away and leave more for me. This has such gorgeous poise and balance, at once rich and as light as a feather. Toasty, nutty, long and elegant.


Tasted 5 November 2012 at The Sampler.

Buy My Book. Please.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Scholium Project 'Prince in His Cave' 2010

This is 100% Sauvignon Blanc that spends a lot of time with wood.

Golden and a touch cloudy.

Outrageous cut-grass nose with passion fruit, pineapple and pine resin. Like Kiwi Sauvignon turned up to 11. Quite a bit of cat's pee.

The palate is a bit at odds with the nose. Softened by tons of oak, those aromatics are compressed. There are some lovely rich notes to it, but It's a bit hot and boozy. It's good, but I feel it doesn't fulfil the promise of the nose. At that price, it should do.


Tasted 5 November 2012 at The Sampler.


Buy My Book. Please.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Scholium Project 'Choeporoi' 2008

Natural wine from California made by a classical scholar. Colour me curious. This wine is kind of a homage to Vin Jaune from the Jura, and spends some time under a natural flor. It's all Chardonnay from Napa and somewhere else.

Young but golden. Bright.

Big, oaty nose with toast, butter & hay surrounding almost painfully ripe pineapple. There's a hint of mint as well.

Juicy, fleshy and fibrous palate that's big and bright with all that pineapple from the nose touched with mangoes and orange flower water with a line of citrus and stone running underneath it. There are a few hard edges and it has great length. A textural feast, but many shades of the same colour.


Tasted 5 November 2012 at The Sampler.


By My Book. Please.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Equipo Navazos La Bota de Fino Macharnudo Alto 35

I have not drunk enough of the sherries from this remarkable… project? Experiment? It's not a bodega in its own right, is it? I don't really know what it is other than an attempt to find extraordinary sherries, bottle them, charge a fortune, and then grin knowing that the wines are worth every penny. Yes, I know I go on and on and on about the wines of Jerez and its neighbours, but with good reason. They are one of the last cool things that hipsters haven't planted their ironic flag in. And I will defend Sherry from them, offering cans of PBR and shooters of Fernet Branca to distract them from these incredible wines.

No, I don't know what I'm talking about either.

Dark, but not amontillado like. More like burnt gold - an old white Burgundy, perhaps. Very un-sherry like colour.

Sour dough, oyster shells, hay and baked lemon. Smells a bit like a hot beach near a field. Some prickly pineapple notes on the end. Biscuity, bready and nourishing scents all round.

Rich, full, salted sour dough with just the faintest notes of caramel, toffee and peanuts. Textured, grainy and mealy - grabs all of the mouth, fills in the nooks and crannies, edged with zingy stone-y citrus that asserts itself on the finish. Deep, nuanced and powerful. Utterly ace.


Tasted 8 November 2012 at SWiG.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Lilbert - Fils Blanc de Blancs 'Perle'

So one of the things about this particular cuvée is that it's bottled at a different pressure than the average Champagne bottle. It's bottled at 4psi rather than 6psi. I've done no research on what difference this is supposed to make, but anecdotally, I would say it lead to a more silkily textured wine. My friend Pete is banging the drum very loudly for this particular grower at the moment, and with good reason. The wines are stunning.

Light gold and silver. Excited, speedy bubbles.

Incredibly ripe, zingy lemon cookies and chantilly cream. Lemon meringue pie? Touch of biscuit and apple on the edges, plus some flint on the back.

That's absolutely stunning. Ripe lemon wrapped in vanilla and one of the more sensuous mousses I've ever encountered. It's like a sugar lemon crepe, though there are cookies being baked next door. The hardness and zing iness of the citrus is matched by a creaminess of mousse that wouldn't be out of place on a scone at high tea. Mouthfilling, with silky texture and length. With air, richness builds and they get somewhat more biscuity. More depth. Superb.


Tasted 14 October 2012 somewhere in Fulham

Buy My Book. Please.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Lamandier-Bernier Terrestrial de Vertus 2007 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs

A bit of a let-down, this. I've enjoyed their other cuvées.

Silver, slightly wild bubbles.

Fresh pears on the nose, with edges of citrus and orange flower water.

Somewhat of a let-down on the palate. Flabby round the edges. Improves with food, but not by much. Pleasant stuff, but reflects the shortcomings of the vintage.


Tasted 14 October 2012 somewhere in Fulham

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Georges Laval Les Chênes Cumières Premier Cru Brut Nature Millésime 2005

This started brilliantly, but didn't hold up.

Quite deep gold. Tiny, focused bubbles.

Intense nose of lemons, apples, sand and oyster shell that brings out soft chantilly cream on the finish.

Crunchy green apples. Like biting into a fresh golden delicious, but with a richness and sense of depth and sweetness that's stunning considering there's no dosage. That apple fruit gets earthy and savory as goes, and that mousse grips, that fleshy start tightens up, there's a touch of salinity and biscuity-ness and touch of savoury mushroom. Long on the end. To start. But as it goes on, that voyage on the palate goes awry. The apples become stewed and cidery. The structure disappears. It remains interesting, but not as much. It shortens over the course of a bottle, as though it doesn't like the air. Surprising, really, for it to fall apart so quickly, and massively disappointing. 


Tasted somewhere in Fulham 12/10/2012


Buy My Book. Please.