Just like a month ago two posts together as the Sock Club gathering and the new month were only 2 days apart. In addition you may have noticed there was no Tutored Tasting in February. That tasting, on White Bordeaux, has been postponed until April.

So… Starting with February Sock Club…

A small but (very) select group met for a Sock Party at John and Ann’s on Friday February 27th. A wonderfully convivial evening, marked by only a few wines. Any lack of quantity more than made up for by quality

Here is the Wine List with some comments from me…

Franciacorta “I Due Lari” (Gatti)      (Welcome Wine)
Quite a Champagne- type nose: bready, yeasty apples and citrus. The palate is quite light with a lovely soft mousse and some richness, cut by a lemon / grapefruit acidity. Very good, and – as it turns out – 100% Chardonnay.

 “English White Lilly” 2013 (Denbies)       (Kim)
Nutty and sharp first nose – a vaguely Loire-ish balance and then blossom notes. Palate has a hazelnut and a warm acidity and even Sauvignon-ish hints of gooseberry and lime. Loses shape as it warms in the glass, but at serving a lovely apperitif. It turns out to be (more-or-less) equal Chardonnay, Seyval and Muller-Thurgau.

 Mersault “Les Chevaliers” 2010 (Monnier)              (Ann)
Nose has oily notes, citrus and hints of caramel. The palate reflects the lemon citrus and oil and has a rich nutty palate with a dry mineral line building at the finish. With time the caramel is overtaken by the minerality. Very good, and typical, Mersault from a classic vintage.

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Côte-Rôtie “La Germine” 2010 (Duclaux)        (John)
The nose at first – deceptively it turns out – shows notes of cedar, herbs and germolene! Later the wood note becomes sweeter, the herbs more tannic and the germolene disappears to reveal some raspberry fruit and spice. Palate is velvety with fine dry but supple tannins, a warm acidity and blackberry and raspberry fruit, no saltiness and a balanced spice twist. Excellent.

Clos des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2004                  (Laurie)
Nose has herbs, leather, cherries and a floral note introduced, perhaps, by the 20% Mourvèdre in the blend (with 65% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% others). Palate is dark, dry and long with hints of cherry, leading to spice and back to Kirsch. Wonderfully satisfying, wearing its high alcohol well and demanding food. Still fresh with maybe 10 years left in it.

Amarone “Costasera” 2007 (Masi)              (Rob)
Dried fruit on the nose – raisins and currants – with an oily hints, marzipan and prunes. A port like  sumptuous palate with sweet plum / cherry fruit and then a bitter twist leading to a spirity finish. A lovely Amarone.

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Thanks, Ann and John, for a memorable evening.


Next – on to Wine Of The Month.

A monthly review of an easily obtainable wine that’s had a recommendation somewhere in a National newspaper. Always posted just before the usual monthly theme, this may be the latest post for only a few days…

Tinto da Ânfora 2011 (Alentejo, Portugal) – 14½% – Waitrose £10


Sparkling wines are the main Theme for March – so how about big bruising red as a contrast?

This wine is from Alentejo  in Portugal and is made from 50% Aragones (the local name for Tempranillo), 20% Trincadeira, 20% Touriga Nacional and  10% Cabernet Sauvignon – each variety is vinified separately, then blended and aged in oak casks for a year. It has won IWC Bronze the last 2 years.

I found immediate perfumed, even soapy, first nose. Then sweet berry fruit – strawberry and raspberry. Later there is a sloe gin note, and even an uncooked dough hint. The palate is concentrated and rich, with sweet fruit, berries again and darker plum notes. There is a citric acidity with a sour cherry twist, but the wine has port-like (jammy and tannic) depth with big, earthy, grainy tannins and a warming hit of alcohol, pepper and even clove. Later liquorice and coffee elements emerge.

The oak works well, giving a creamy quality without obtrusive vanilla. With food (Guinea Fowl) the wine matches well and the warmth and thickness is attenuated.

It’s a big wine, no doubt, but for me a more natural version than most 14½% New World offerings around £10.

Ratings: Quality: 14/20    Value: 16/20

Until soon…..