The ICC group met on Thursday 2nd July  to taste Chenin Blanc Wines.

Here are my notes:
BOGLE VINEYARDS CHENIN BLANC 2012 (Clarksburg, California)     –     13½%   –        Tanner’s £13
Oily and woody first notes then some blossom florality. The plate dominated by sweet fruit: peach with a warm hint in the direction of mango. Some apple acidity but also giving a warm impression – slightly “thick” feeling to the palate at the finish.
Quality: 13/20   Value: 13/20

CHÂTEAU RIVES-BLANQUES DÉDICACE 2010 (Limoux)  –   13%     –     LSFW  £13
This had a more floral nose with a herbal hint at first. The palate has a cooler impression with citrus peel and more complex flavours – ending with a slightly spicy, chalky but creamy finish. A hint of bitterness on this wine but cleaner and more evolved.
Quality: 14/20   Value: 14/20

“HOPE MARGUERITE” 2012 (Beaumont(Bot River, S. Africa)      –   12½%   –      Wine Society   £17
This starts with pungency, with some creamy notes. The palate is supple with a warm stony note and a grapefruit hint. This has drier acidity than the Montlouis but the woody notes re-appear. Quite long with an apple lift at the end. Good

MONTLOUIS SEC  2007 (Domaine Des Liards)    –  13%   –  Grower –  £14 @ Yapp
Again some pungency, working its way to a woody hint and then some honey. Palate has an evolved peach fruit with a warm line of apple acidity well integrated, culminating with a warm and round honey (although dry) finish. This would improve, and be improved by food.

I kept going back and forward between these wines of very similar weight and acidity though assembled rather differently, undecided which was better, which I preferred… In the end I came to the conclusion that the S. African was a richer wine lifted by its acidity, and the Montlouis was a lighter wine mellowed by age. Accordingly – in the end – I scored both:
Quality: 15/20   Value: 15/20

A while later I tried tasting samples of all four with a creamy but firm goat’s cheese – and all seemed improved, though it must be said the Limoux a touch more! That might upgrade all by half a point, perhaps the Limoux by a full point…

On to the sweet wines:

“LES 3 DESMOISELLES” COTEAUX DE L’AUBANCE 2003 (Richou)   –   12.5%   –  Grower £12.50 (for ½ litre)
A distinctive nose of apple, passion fruit with a hint of marmalade from Botrytis. The palate is deceptively light with the sweetness integrated into a slightly creamy impression to the apricot / passion fruit flavours and a supple reserved acid line. Lovely
Quality: 16.5/20   Value: 15/20

“KIA-ORA” NOBLE LATE HARVEST 2010 (Kanu) (Stellenbosch, SA)     –   11½%    –   Berkmann’s £9.33 (for half)
Very honey nose with hints of wood and butterscotch. The palate shows marmalade and butterscotch (again) sweetness balanced  with good acidity with a warm woody undertone. The sweetness is a little harsh without food but a Crème brûlée would fix that. Scrumptious though….
Quality: 16/20   Value: 14.5/20

All in all a good tasting of a great grape with varying degrees of age making it more interesting (though perhaps less definitive). I would happily drink all the mains in several different settings – with, IMO,  only the Californian perhaps giving rise to some reservations…

Until next time….