This month is the 200th Tasting I’ve lead for the WING Group at the ICC (or before that at Nottingham YMCA). So cause for a celebration…. Hence the choice of my favourite wines – or some of them… The previous post tells you how I arrived at this particular selection…

Here are my notes

MONTLOUIS VIEILLES VIGNES 2006 (Berger Freres)   –   12½ %   –   Yapp £16
Slightly honey notes with an apple and floral hinge. Palate shows apricot fruit and warm acidity balancing some sweetness and oily elements leading to a mineral finish. Great depth of flavour with an acid drop finish. Cries out for salty food.
Ratings:        Quality:  16/20   Value:  16/20

ALSACE CRAND CRU ALTENBERG RIESLING 2007 (Lorentz)   –   12½ %   – Grower (£32 in UK)
Just the starting hint of diesel, with hints of elderflower. Palate has grapefruit and chalky mineral structure but inside this frame, although restrained at first, white peach fruit opens and grows with a warm citrus line. This wine is linear, clean, and so precise – especially contrasted to the breadth showing in the previous wine. Very elegant and classy but maybe a year or three before its very best. My favourite nonetheless.
Ratings:        Quality:  17/20   Value:  15.5/20

CHABLIS 1er CRU CÔTE DE LECHET 2011 (La Chablisienne)   –   13 %   –   Grower (UK – £17ish)
Very citric first note and a then a slight waft of caramel. Palate shows a stoney – even flinty – minerality which, with the acidity, is somehow both drying and expanding into wider flavours of lemon. Strongly mineral and balanced – again needs food.
Ratings:        Quality:  16/20   Value:  16/20

MARANGES LE BOIS DE CLÉMENTINE 2010 (Chevrot)   –   12½ %   –   3D Wines – £15
Hints of farmyard and red fruit – cherry? In a very typical nose. Supple sweet red fruit with a line of fruit acidity with a lip smacking out-turn. Not big but balanced and deceptively persistent and succulent in a light-touch, elegant way.
Ratings:        Quality:  16/20   Value:  16/20

CHINON CHÂTEAU DE LA GRILLE 2001   –   12½ %   –   Fareham Wine Cellar – £20
Immediate herb and green pepper tell-tale Franc nose. Pungency overtakes with both lilies and prune notes. The palate has an undertow of herbs and raspberry which turns plum with time, but a little dried out compared to the tasting in August and therefore for me a little disappointing – probably on its way down now…
Ratings:        Quality:  15.5/20   Value:  15/20

FELSINA CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA RANCIA 2001   –   13½ %   –   Grower. Current Vintage about £35 in UK – this vintage? £50
Fruit cake nose with leathery hints and some dried fruit. Palate is still supple with cherry fruit showing along with drier flavours and a persistent structured palate. Still lively and so well integrated it is quite hard to name specific qualities; but dry spice, leather, dried cherries, herbs and prune come to mind… excellent.
Ratings:        Quality:  17/20   Value:  15.5/20

A very interesting tasting of some good wines – with, for me, the Riesling and the Chianti the stars. I suppose one would expect that as they are a couple of steps up in price.

I guess this tasting says more about me than the wines themselves. All showed great typicity, especially on the nose – I think most people would correctly guess their origins… All are quite light in alcohol and strong in acidity – giving lift and refreshment and would be good with food. So, looking back over 17 years of tastings I think I’ve moved my concerns away from the specific flavours of wines to their shape and structure.

I am also less impressed (I’m not sure I was ever very impressed…) by the size of a wine, and I certainly expect more subtlety and elegance if I pay more for a wine. Unfortunately, in my view, with higher prices sometimes one just gets more… weight, extraction, alcohol, intense flavour… just more! With a few exceptions I can find that a bit boring…

Anyway – onward to the next 200 tastings, although the next of this series isn’t until October.

Until soon!