Two posts for the price of one this month, as the time between the Sock Club and the start of the month is so short.

First Sock Club:

The group met for a Sock Party hosted by Matt and Kathryn on Friday May 29th. Great hospitality and food, and very interesting wines….

Here are my notes:

Sainsbury’s TTD Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (Marlborough, NZ)       (Welcome Wine)
Honey on the nose – with sweet peach notes. Palate has sweet peachy fruit too, backed by a quince acidity, in an off-dry package with a creamy mousse. The mousse is quite light though, and the finish alone suggests Sauvignon Blanc with a nettle hint.

“Arabella” Viognier 2014 (W. Cape, SA)       (Anna)
Pungent nose with strong peach and apricot aromas. The palate carries on the apricot, with warmth – both alcohol and spice – cutting in, before a nutty rich finish. Good

Erdner Treppchen Riesling Spätlese (Schwaab- Kiebel) 1986 (Mosel)          (Kathryn)
Text book rich Diesel nose of old Riesling, with floral hints, citrus peel and soft white fruit. The palate is full of honey with a lovely fresh soft fruit line and a late dash of citric and sherbet acidity. Amazingly complex and interesting, although – by the very highest standards of Mosel Riesling –the acidity is a little too narrow for the other flavours. Enchanting! Fabulous!

Muscadet-sur-Lie (Ch. De la Thébaudière) 2013         (Kim)
Quiet nose, especially after the Riesling, with – rather classy –  stone fruit and indeed stone hints. The palate is melon and minerality, and quite elegant and restrained – without the parody-of-itself astringency that many Muscadets showed  20 odd years ago.

This wine reminded me of the last time I drank Muscadet in a restaurant in 1993. That was to celebrate the success of Broadway’s Shots in the Dark Film Festival that year. I was able to hang out with Adrian Wooton (the Broadway Director at the time) and Quentin Tarantino (a very enthusiastic participant that year before returning  in triumph with Pulp Fiction a year later) a few times that year and once went clubbing with them both. Quentin treated us to a diatribe about Top Gun, which was very funny and ended up repeated almost verbatim in this scene with Todd Field from the film Sleep With Me (Rory Kelly 1994)

King’s Ridge Pinot Gris 2013 (Willamette Valley, Oregon)       (Sue)
Rather a nutty nose, then florality and some soft fruit (greengage?), in rather an Alsacian package. The palate echoes the nose with a slightly frizzy citric acidity. A good, clean, well-made example, but a little four-square.

Blanco di Merlot (Bucaneve) 2013 (Ticino, Switzerland)       (Andrew)
A white wine from Merlot! It shows a slightly confectionery, cranberry juice nose. Light palate with soft fruit and a slightly drying finish that (once you know) could be a hint of tannin! Wierdly weird!

Moser Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (China)              (Matt)
Oily, minty notes with a leathery note later that could well be a New World Cabernet…. The palate shows drying tannins in a claret-ish balance and a soft fruit, slightly rubbery middle (from the 10% Merlot?) with a grainy finish…

Château Hortevie 2005 (St. Julien Cru Bourgeois)       (Laurie)
Shown in anticipation of the 2005 claret tasting coming up in June. This has an aromatic nose: prunes; with non-fruit flavours: forest floor and a slightly soapy edge. The palate has a well-defined acid frame, with warm grainy tannins and a supple plum and dark berry fruit core. Well developed and in balance.

La Terrace de la Garde (Dourthe) 2012 (Pessac-Leognan)            (Mike)
Nose is forward with cheesy pungency and dark plummy fruit. The palate is soft with similar fruit flavours and the beginnings of chocolate texture to the tannins. Mainly Merlot, giving a soft overall impression after the St Julien, but a little still to resolve with age….

Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2011 (Exquisite Collection)               (Yvonne)
The has a soft, red plum fruit nose…  Palate has sweet fruit with an oily note and a hint of the style’s bitterness. This Silver Medal winner is very quaffable although the flavours are a little sequential rather than integrated…

Biferno Rosso Riserva (Camillo de Lellis) 2010 (Molise)        (Rob)
Rhubarb on the nose, getting stronger with hints of spice, herbs and elderberry later. The palate echoes rhubarb, right down to the slightly metallic hint. An interesting wine, from a Province rarely seen, majoring on the often pedestrian Montepulciano (with 15% each Aglianico and Trebbiano). This was rather dashing though,  lifted by the minor grapes and apparently bottled in Verona?!

Motus (Domaine Treleor) 2010  (Rousillon)     (Paul)
The Mourvedre-based wine (with 8% Grenache), is  a long -time favourite, shows cherry and blackberry aromas with nutty, maybe Almond, hints with later non-fruit elements.. The palate is quite dark, with black fruit tinged tannins with a spicy twist, and a herby finish. Excellent – and developed a little from the last tasting…  Very good!

Thanks, Kathryn and Matt, for a lovely evening.


Now on to June 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…


Palacio de Fefiñanes Albariño
Rias Baixas) – 12½% – Waitrose £16

June is Latin America month for the Thursday tasting, and the examples we will try are – with one exception – red. So I thought a rather cool white, even though from Spain, would fit the bill….

This Rias Baixas, Galician Albariño won a Silver Medal at the IWC. Quite pale with honeysuckle, sweet lime and floral – almost Parma Violet – aromas. Later the floral note seems more Elderflower and the fruit hints more tropical. The nose is reminiscent of New World Riesling

The palate has sweet fruit – something in the melon / peach spectrum, with a backbone of light citric acidity – a sort of warm lime more than lemon. There is a honeyed apple note too, more Chenin-like than anything else, but giving a richness to the palate.

As the wine opens a warm, chalky minerality mounts towards the finish, giving the wine lift and structure.

With food (a warm Chaource, dressed Salad) complicated flavours knock out the fruit, and the, surprisingly intense, minerality and richness come through very well – in balance with each other and the food. With time in this setting the wine opens and the richness / structure shape seems very well poised.

All in all: a deluxe Albariño, with both more richness and more structure than many examples. A little closed at first at the moment – it may need another year or two to show its full complexity and balance. Quite pricey, but with just enough quality and style to justify the outlay!

Ratings: Quality: 15/20     Value: 15/20

Both a  Theme blog and Tasting Notes on Latin American Wines, sometime in the next week – so until then…