Saturday, 4 April 2020

Le Haut Lieu Vouvray 2017

From a top producer this is a lovely wine and although being drunk slightly young, it's very accessible now. Beautiful sense of place, this really has lovely chenin blanc typicity with real feelings of terroir that scream of Loire! Rich, elegant and complex, one of Lay and Wheeler's best. Tart apples on the palate with a great finish. Drink 2020-25. 18.5/20

Volpaia Chianti Classico 2016

A solid Chianti from a find a state visit sample of the good 2016 vintage. This is the entry level wine - there is a riserva and gran selection above this. And it shows. Though it was better a day after opening, this is a little thin and doesn't have a great deal of fruit or the fine tannins I would expect. There are certainly the classic sangiovese characteristics on the nose and palate but just rather understated. 16/20

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Piqueras Wild Fermented Verdejo 2017 (Almansa)

A lovely wine - my best since the COVID-19 lockdown confined me to barracks.
Well fermented and organic this is a really great producer and I've enjoyed many of their wines. This is a bargain at £10 from Abel & Cole. Though the UK distributor sales through various outlets.
Well made, elegant verdejo with real depth. Zesty nose with hints of sour apples and quince. The palate is rich, apply and slightly spicy with good oak on the back palate. Drink now 2025. 17/20

Friday, 27 March 2020

Luncheon wine - Reuilly Denis Jamain Les Pierres Plates 2018

A Pinot Noir from the Loire Valley not to be confused with the very similar sounding and spelled village in Burgundy, that also produces Pinot Noir!
This has just been released En Primeur from Lay and Wheeler. Beautifully fresh and integrated. Lovely rosehips and strawberries on the nose. The palate is very different to Burgundian - no suggestion of 'forest floor' or cured ham et cetera. But there is very good balance of acidity and tannins and in the mouth it's refreshingly fruity. A lovely wine for about £12 a bottle and makes a nice alternative to Pinot Noir from Burgundy. Great now - drink to 2022

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Trevor’s Singapore Lockdown lunch

Lockdown lunch. Actually Singapore is not locked down and restaurants remain open but people are observing social distancing pretty well. Anyway, the wine. Chardonnay, my flexible friend. From Les Combes vineyard in Passenas, Jura, eastern France, made by domaine Les Dolomies. The nearest Chardonnay from Burgundy would be from Givry 65km to the west but, stylistically, that might as well be from a different planet. Jura is famous for oxidative wines and this one is no exception. Made like Burgundy in the ouillé style i.e. open to the air, without a cap of flor (yeast), but it stills has a nose like Manzanilla or aged white Rioja. So just my thing!
 And it has an impeccable pedigree. The makers are Céline and Steve Gormally, the vineyard is biodynamic, the labourers are donkeys, the ground is magnesium-rich limestone, vinification is with wild yeasts and minimal sulphur.
Available from Jimmy Smith's Streatham Wine House. It's delicious!

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Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Esporao Reserva 2016

Much better than my Californian Zin luncheon wine today!
This is Portuguese fine white wine at its best. Four years of bottle age, 2 years of which were spent in the rack in my kitchen!
This is from the top Alentejo producer and is a blend of French semillon and sauvignon blanc and Portuguese arinto grapes. Always reminds of a fine white dry Bordeaux.
Great nose of quince and lemon zest. Palate is long and balanced. Excellent elegant finished with a kick of acidity. It's about €14 in Portugal one of the bargains of the wine world.

Definition Zinfandel 2017 from Majestic

Californian Zin is not my favourite wine but bought this when I was in Majestic buying some others as it was less than a £tenner. It's got some pedigree because it's from Lodi. Nice blueberries on the nose, strong whiff of alcohol (14%). Palate and finish a little disappointing. Brambly. Much improved after one hour of opening. Drink now. I'd prefer a slightly richer and more elegant Puglian or Sicilian primitivo for the same price. 3/7 on CLWS scale.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Tenuta Novarre Valpolicella Ripasso 2013

Tasted 01.05.16, 13.5% abv, cork closure, £9.99 Co-Operative stores. My wine merchant friend says you shouldn't pay less than £20 for a ripasso or amarone, so I guess he will be disappointed with my purchase here!
But for a tenner this co-op wine is altogether not bad. It is quite rich but foursquare though not bad value and a good food wine and certainly needs longer in bottle. Ruby coloured with a nose of dark berry fruits and violets. On the palate, tannins are quite smooth. The fore palate is approachable but the mid palate and finish rather short. No real typicity or sense of place - looks like my friend was right! From 2017. 15.5/20

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Sunday, 3 April 2016

Chambolle-Musigny Domaine Hudelot-Baillet 2011

Tasted 3.4.16. Cork closure, 13%. C.£25 from Howard Ripley. Opened 3 hours before tasting, no decanting. 2011 was a problematic year for many Burgundy producers but this wine shows that even at village level, good wine was made. Hudelot-Baillet is a respected domaine and this is an approachable wine that can be enjoyed now. Probably not an absolutely classic Pinot Noir style but lovely nonetheless. Really well made. Actually quite 'rich' for a supposedly thin year. Red fruits and just a hint of chacuterie on the nose. Dry on the palate, with smooth tannins. Long finish of berry fruits. Will improve over the next 5 years. From 2014, 17/20

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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Piccini Chianti Classico DOCG 2009

Tasted 29/03/16. Cork closure, 13% abv. Piccini 'green label'. About £8 UK retail. I suppose all expert opinion says you shouldn't expect much Chianti for less than a tenner and this one confirms that. Very disappointing. Piccini are a large company that make commercial wines, normally passably acceptable. This was poor - rather thin and acidic, probably too old for its niche - should have drunk it a few years ago. Not even any decent generic Sangiovese character. 13/20.

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Baron de Ley Reserva Rioja 2010

This wine won Wine of the Year and 94 points in a recent Decanter Rioja tasting.
And at last my local Co-op had it at a bargain of just under a tenner!
It certainly ticks all the boxes. 20 months in new oak, Baron de Ley are very well regarded and this represents a very well made, modern style Rioja that is accessible now but will improve over the next 5 years. 2 hours breathing benefited the wine - a beautiful nose of cherries and oak, very smooth tannins and red fruits and berries on the palate.
An amazing wine for the price. 18/20 from 2016.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Priocca Barbaresco 2011

Tasted 22/5/15, 14% abv, cork closure, £11 Sainsburys Taste The Difference.
This is a co-op wine but a genuine Barbaresco that should not be as good as this for 11 quid! One would normally askew Barbarescos at this price but this is a cracker and as good as some merchant wines at £25.
Drinking well now - nice medium red colour the nose is attractive - red fruits, hint of vanilla with darker fruits too. The wine is quite well structured, elegant and certainly well made. I suspect this is made from younger vines and hence probably will not have a life of some of its more expensive cousins but this is a great wine to drink now. 17/20, from 2014.

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Sunday, 3 May 2015

Chianti Azienda Agricola Cignozza DOC 2009

Tasted 03.05.15, 13 % ABV, cork closure, c. £12 from Genesis Wines. A really good value Chianti from friends at Genesis. It is not Chianti Classico but it has all the features you would want of an ‘weekday’ Chianti that is a notch higher than average. Cherry red with slightly browning tinges. Lovely cherries on the nose, slightly tarry and dark fruits. The palate is very dry, with smooth tannins and great dark fruits on the finish. Good layer of vanilla and a little white pepper. Lovely wine. From 2014, 16/20


Roversi Pecorino Terre di Chienti IGT 2013 Abruzzo

Tasted 5.5.15, 12%, cork closure. £8 in Asda (currently on offer £6). Surprisingly elegant and structured white wine from Abruzzo. Pale yellow, citrusy and hint of tropical fruits on the nose. Off dry, a great light aperitif. Palate is reminiscent of a light southern French white. A true bargain. Drink now 16.5/20

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Monday, 6 April 2015

Robert Oatley Finisterre Chardonnay 2013, Margaret River

Tasted 3/4/15, 13% ABV, screw cap closure, ca. £18 - £22 UK retail (e.g. Waitrose, Wine Society). This is a top class wine from winemaker Larry Cherubino using some of the putatively oldest Chardonnay vines in Australia. This wine regularly receives 90 PP or 18+/20 for most vintages and it certainly can compete with many of the best (though perhaps not the best) that Burgundy can offer. Quality wise, it is certainly up there with a Grand Cru Chassagne-Montrachet, though a somewhat different.This is now one of my favourite New World Chardonnays, along with Catena Alta from Mendoza,
Firstly, let's get out of the way my usual hobby horse which turned me off Aussie Chardonnay for a long while - the excessive use of oak. This wine has had 9 months in new French oak (rather than American oak) which pays dividends, as though the oak is certainly more prominent than in a Burgundian style, it balances the richness and acidity of the wine. This wine is complex and elegant. There is an underlying palate of almonds, apricots and citrus but with a fine minerality. Finish is incredibly long and complex. A superbly balanced wine with a good life ahead of it. From 2015, 18.5/20

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Paracombe Pinot Noir 2009 Adelaide Hills

Tasted 15.02.15, 13%, screw cap, £20 UK retail,
(First point to make here: Amazon have started selling wine in the UK but beware the pitfalls of a non-specialist retailer for wine - I ordered 3 bottles, wanted the 2013 and got 2 x 2009 and one 2011!)
Anyway, this wine lived up to its 17.5/20 billing in a recent Decanter tasting of Aussie Pinot Noir.
This a lovely cool climate example of this varietal. Hitherto I have not been too keen in Aussie PN - always thinking it a poor relation to Kiwi Pinot noir - but clearly progress has been made.
This is a rich fruity wine, dark pink in colour and bursting with strawberries on the nose. The palate is red fruits and vanilla, with a hint of Burgundian farmyardiness.
I would drink this now - a good fine wine alternative to classic Burgundy or Chilean Pinot noir. 17/20, from 2012.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2010

Tasted 7.2.15, 13%, cork closure, £9 UK retail (Asda Extra Special). This is a co-op wine from CSPA. Whilst perhaps not the most elegant or distinctive Chianti Classico that I've ever tasted, this does represent good value for money. It has all the hallmarks that one would expect of a good Chianti: bright mid-red colour, very distinctive cherries on the nose And a very dry mouthfeel. There are red fruits on the pallet and the wine has quite a lengthy finish. Whilst this does not represent the highest echelon of Chianti production, - it is basically a co-op blend after all - it is a decent every day wine. Drink now - 2016. 15.5. / 20

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Castelfelder Pinot noir 2011 Alto Adige DOC

Tasted 1.2.15. 13.5%, cork closure, £18 UK retail. I discovered this gem of a wine at Tuscan (sic) specialist Negozio Classico in Primrose Hill. This is made from the Blauburgunder grape from the Germany speaking region of the Sudtirol in the Italian alps. A great alternative to New World Pinot Noir if you want something different (and cheaper) than fine Burgundy.
This is a lovely wine, ready now but would benefit from some more time in bottle. Light pink in colour, classic rise hips on the nose with just a hint of farmyardiness. Quite acid but balanced by forward red berries fruit. Recommended and good value. From 2014. 17/20

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Croze-Hermitage AOC 2012 Pierre Gaillard

Tasted 30/08/14. 12 % ABV, cork closure, about £16 after duty and VAT (en primeur release from Genesis Wines). Just released from bond, I just broached a bottle from the full case I bought.
Bright purple in colour, peppery nose, black fruits and boiled sweets. Palate still very tannic and initially closed. Dry, with a long finish. One day after opening (sic) it had opened up and given a hint of its complexity to come. Nice dark fruits and plums on the palate. Still very young - visit in 18 months.
16.5/20. Drink from 2016?

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Dourum Vinha do Vinteiro Douro Reserva 2011

Tasted 29.03.14. Cork closure, 14%. Tescos don't often get their Finest range selection wrong and this multiple award- winning £20 wine is no exception. This dark, brooding, concentrated wine is very youthful. Dark concentrated purple colour, glorious violets and berry fruits on the nose. The palate is long and full of dark berry fruits, blackcurrant being to the fore. Rather tannic which comes with its youth. Glorious future. From 2015. 18/20

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Chablis AoC Domain Louis Michel 2012 (Fortnum and Mason)

Tasted 29.03.12, 13%, cork closure, about £16. A good everyday Chablis, from the reliable (for whites) 2012 Burgundy vintage, just released to F & M. Nice unoaked style from this reliable domain. 
Light golden colour, citrus and almonds on the nose, pleasant apples and apricots on the palate with asparagus on the finish. Youthful, zesty, good to drink now. From 2014. 16.5/20

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Fortnum and Mason Bourgogne Blanc 2011 AoC

Tasted 8.3.14. 13%, cork closure. About £10 (case discounts available).
A lovely house wine from Domaine Roger Luquet at Fuisse in the Maconnaise from the solid 2011 vintage (for whites at least). No oak, pure Chardonnay nose of damp grass and dried fruits, excellent minerally backbone, dry with a good lemony finish. Just about as good as an 'everyday' white Burgundy can be at this price. Well done F&M. 16/20, from 2014.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Fortnum and Mason Chablis Premer Cru Butteaux 'Vieilles Vignes' 2011

Tasted various times, most recently 09.12.13. 13% ABV, cork closure, £24.50 F&M.
Winemaker Louis Michel. 2011 proved a better vintage for whites than reds in Burgundy and I have enjoyed some lovely young drinking Chablis from this vintage.
Pale straw colour, good mineral attack. Buttery and apricots on the palate - no oak used, apparently. Good depth in the mid palate, zesty. Youthful acidity but good grip. 
This is a fine example of a Premier Cru Chablis from a traditional winemaker, from vines planted in 1954. In the grand scheme of things, this represents very good value for money. Well done F&M. From 2013. 17.5/20

Monday, 7 October 2013

Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay 2011, Limari Valley (Concha y Toro)

This is a superb example of the South American wine making craft. This wine recently won International Chardonnay 'Below £15' International gold medal with the Decanter World Wine Awards and is difficult to imagine a wine that more justly be deserves a gold medal.
It is two years old and drinking well now but I'm sure it will improve with time.  It shows what can be done in the Limari Valley, which is dry and hot at low levels but at cooler altitudes with irrigation is producing a great white wine. Concha y Toro are a big hitter for sure, but don't produce 'cheap gluggers' - there wines are quality-driven at all price points.
Here there's a subtle use of oak which has moved away from the over-oaked style that is quite common in the New World but this South America example is a more sophisticated and all-round elegant and rounded wine. 
In fact is difficult to believe that there is a better value wine for less than £15 at the moment and this one is currently retailing at £9.99.
The nose is a complex one of apricots, raisins and lemon peel the palate is a complex melange of a variety of dried fruits spices. Buttery and with an extremely long finish this is amazingly well made wine. From 2013, 18/20

Monday, 8 July 2013

Palestra Rueda Verdejo DO 2011

Tasted 05.07.13 with Jean-Marc. 13.5% ABV, £7.99 Tesco's Finest. I tried this wine as it was recommended in a Decanter review, which I can say I thoroughly endorse. Lovely co-operative wine, well worth the money, grown on a prime site in Rueda. Light golden colour, apples and limes on the nose, zesty on the palate, long finish with citrus and lemon, but elegant and structured too. Drink young, 17/20: this wine is a bargain.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Chablis AC Domaine Vocoret Vieilles Vignes 2011

Tasted 09/06/13. 13.5% abv, about £16 UK retail. Well-regarded producer, this is a domaine bottled AC Chablis but at the upper quality end. This is from old vines, so still quite tight and closed. Needs longer. Rather restrained on the nose, hint of apples and apricots. Fresh grassy aromas but still has a lot to show yet. Rich on the palate. From 2014, 16.5/20

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Crittenden Estate, Mornington Peninsula 2008 Victoria

Tasted 4/6/13. 13.5% abv, about £19.50 UK retail (Fortnum and Mason - case discount available). Recommended to me personally by F&M's wine buyer Jamie Waugh. Lovely wine - showing the best that the New World can offer. Much better than the over-priced (or under-priced), over-oaked Aussie chardonnay that we are exposed to rather too much. This is single estate, 100% estate grown wine, using older vines and a mixture of old and new oak. This wine has both richeness and a subtlety. Lovely toast on the nose but not too over-powering. Zesty and buttery on the palate with a long finish. Apricots and apples! Very well made wine, drinking very well now. From 2013. 16.5/20

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Chablis Premier Cru Montmain Cuvee Vieille Vigne Denis Race

Tasted 18/04/2013, 13% ABV, cork closure, possible n/a UK, bought about £11 ex-cellars in Chablis, directly from the producer. This is the first bottle tasted.
The variable 2011 vintage in the Burgundy has blessed the whites more than the reds, it is argued.
Denis Race is a very well regarded producer and this old vines premier cru is a fine example of his craft.
Pale straw colour, nose a little closed. Well structured palate, still very young and not showing its hand: acidic and minerally for sure but the fruit is still hidden. Great potential. Needs longer. From 2014. 17/20

Chablis Domaine Gilbert PICQ et fils

Tasted 21/04/2013, 12.5% ABV, cork closure, possible n/a UK, £7 ex-cellars in Chablis, bought directly from the producer. This is the first bottle tasted.
The variable 2011 vintage in the Burgundy has blessed the whites more than the reds, it is argued. This 'ordinary' Chablis would benefit from little more bottle age but it is very good now, very accessible for young drinking. The acidity worked well with the penne pasta I had with a creamy sauce.
Pale straw colour, there's the classic Chablis nose of damp grass, green fruits and a hint of butterscotch. The palate is tart and zesty - mouth puckering acidity - showing its youthfulness but with a good depth of minerality and a fine finish. Great with food now, drink 2013-15. 16.5/20

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Wine Ramblers tasting #3

Introduction to Wine 2 - 27th February at Fulham Wine Rooms
Information to follow shortly.....