6 of the WING group had the pleasure of attending Hart’s Wine Tasting and Supper on 22nd May. I think this was the 6th or 7th such event for me, but the first for a couple of the party. As usual the format was a tasting of 8 wines – in two flights of four, followed by a 3 course supper with more wine.

A very enjoyable evening ensued – here are my notes of the wines. Please comment if you disagree or have anything to add.

2009 Côtes du Rhône, Nicholas Boiron
The first wine is basic CDR, and showed plums, spirit notes and a hint of compost on the nose. The palate was simple, warm – from both alcohol and spice – and slightly hard. Grenache dominates and the plum fruit opened a little with time.

2010 Mourges du Grés, “Galets Rouges” Costières de Nîmes
Very pungent, farmyard almost drains, but underneath black fruit came through. Palate is calmer than the previous wine, better balanced although the tannins are still very firm. Later a typical Syrah olive-saltiness comes through.
Later, with the main course of Guinea Fowl with a green pea and bean risotto (fabulous, in typical Hart’s style, and worthy of a slightly more developed wine IMO) the wine seems more supple and soft and the harsher salty element is recessed.

2010 Chateau Valcombe “Epicure” Côtes de Ventoux
This has a quieter nose, with damson hinst and redcurrant. The palate is lighter but still has tannins and warmth – the best balance so far, and easiest to quaff.

2011 Lirac , Domaine Pierre Usseglio
Perfumed nose, with floral and plum hints – later red and black berries. The palate is quite closed now, but one can sense the pleasures to come…

2009 Vacqueyras Clos Montirius
Slightly soapy nose, which actually persists with time and a sweet fruit-cordial note. Supple first palate with plummy fruit and then a drying salty tannin finish. A little as if the Grenache and the Syrah (this is 50:50) are not quite integrated.

2005 Gigondas “Terre Aîné”
The nose has similar fruit profile to the previous wine but with a herby spirit element replacing the “soapy” flavours. The palate is big, with sweet plum and blackcurrant-pastille fruit and a warm finish. Big and satisfying – benefitting from its age?

2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Domaine du Pegau
Lilies and briar fruit, ebbing and flowing as the nose opens. Lovely supple fruit on the palate with a line of balancing acidity and a fine tannic structure. Slightly tight at the moment – but very good….

2006 Chateauneuf du Pape, Chante le Merle, Vieilles Vignes, Bosquet des Papes
Slight vanilla notes within a sweet fruit nose. Sweet fruit at first on the palate, with a tendency to be jammy, a warm mid palate and a slightly grainy finish. A good wine suffering in comparison to its predecessor?

After the tasting we were served a 3 course supper. With the main, as discussed above, with the Costières de Nîmes. The starter was a salmon pastrami, served with – 2011 Côtes du Rhône Laudun Blanc, Domaine Rouvre St Leger. The wine has herby peach aromas, with a hint of sweetness. The palate has an oily quality with a slightly brackish tone (from Viognier and Rousanne respectively?), and enough acidity to balance the food, which itself showed a balance of citrus flavours with the oil in the salmon.

A lovely evening, my only cavil is I would have preferred a slower pace and 15 minutes more with the wines before supper even if it meant a slightly later finish. With wines of such family similarity the time to appreciate the subtleties and complexities of the differences would have further increased my pleasure.

That said, it was a fantastic evening. Thanks to Tim Hart.