The group met and Kathryn and Matt’s on Friday 23rd November to “assist” Kathryn in celebrating her Birthday and for the customary evening of blind Tasting…

Here are my notes:


CHÂTEAU DE GARBES CREMANT DE BORDEAUX         Welcome Wine
Slightly nutty nose to this Semillon based sparkler, some gluey notes and a touch of herbs. Palate has fresh acidity with some citric character, quite a warm light mousse and pleasant length – definitely an aperitif style.

“NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S” EDEN VALLEY RIESLING, 2017 (Chaffey Bros.)          Matt   
Limey nose with some floral hints, rather light nose. Palate has a mineral sharpness and warmth with a restrained peachy fruit. Linear acidity which is good in itself but the whole package a little dilute…. Especially in (unfair?) comparison to…

“EXQUISITE COLLECTION” CLARE VALLEY RIESLING  2014 (Aldi)         Kim   
… this evolved and therefore diesel scented wine, with richer fruit notes on the nose. Palate has a rich peachy fruit and a stronger, sharper – lime and green apple – acidity… drying, longer and balanced…

PETITE ARVINE  2014, VALAIS SWITZERLAND (Mike & John Favre)           Sue  
Very interesting nose of sea-spray and honeysuckle. The palate has strong grapefruit acidity, some saline notes and green features which broaden with time to give a richer, oily note and a dashing finish. A wine that starts a bit like Chenin Blanc and ends up like a mature Chardonnay. Good!

CARPINUS HÁRSLEVELU TOKAJ 2017 (Bai)          Paul
Nose has earthy honey tones and a hint of aniseed. Palate is pliant with sweet fruit – over-ripe peach, warm but with sharp herby acidity. A good food wine…

CLEARWATER CHARDONNAY 2003 (Sherwood Estate Waipara NZ)           Carrie
Pungent nose – sweet fruit and an evolved oak tinge. Palate has pliant stone fruit with an integrated citric lift, with a more subtle vanilla creaminess… still fresh after 15 years, very long and very good…


CHANGYU NOBBLE DRAGON 2015 (Shandong, China)         Mike
This is made from Carmenère, under its Chinese (German?) name of Cabernet Gemischt! Actually, once you know anyway, it actually is rather like Carmenère, which I think of as a slightly spicier more herby Merlot – plum fruit with a herbal nose and the palate has some freshness but the fruit is quite sweet and simple although a spicy counterpoint helps…

ARUMA MALBEC 2016 (Rothschild / Catena)     Yvonne  
This Uco Valley Malbec has a fruity damson nose, and a warm palate showing the same fruit – rather juicy and a bit soft but good acidity for the style, balanced across the Argentinian Malbec divide between the citric food-friendly and the fruit bomb styles…

LES CÉPAGES OUBLIÉS 2014 (Marionnet)       Laurie
This wine from Domaine de la Charmoise in the Solonge, is from the Teinturier (dark fleshed) grape Gamay de Bouze. Very dark indeed, with sweet black fruits on both the nose and palate, it is like a black-fruit counterpoint to good (Morgon level) red-fruit, Cru Beaujolais. It has developed over the last 18 months to integrate the sweet fruit and acidity and seems better balanced – a very unusual wine that has some Gamay hints…

RED ROOSTER CABERNET MERLOT 2014 (British Columbia)       Kathryn
Plum fruit and some other Bordeaux ish hints… Palate is typical with dark fruit notes, some woody tones and a sharp fruit acidity, but rather simple for a £21+ wine… A 10 year old Cru Bourgeois (eg Cissac 2009 is at Tanners for £24) would be better…

EGGO BONAPARTE BONARDA 2015 (Zorzal)       John
As the name suggests this is fermented and then matured in concrete eggs. Very pliant red fruit – raspberry – nose, even a perfumed hint. Palate is very supple reminding one of softer Pinot Noir, lip smakingly juicy!

“CARESANA” RUCHÈ DI CASTAGNIOLE MONFERRTO 2017 (Gatto Pierfrancesco)       Anna
This grape: Ruchè comes from, and is almost entirely cultivated in this small DOCG in Piedmonte, near Asti, there are less than 50ha of it! This example has a slightly reduced nose, opening up to show peach, fruit cake and cherry. Palate follows with sweet fruit – supple, long, smooth and with a slight spirit hint at the end. Very good!

KOLIOS “STATUS 99” 2014 (Cyprus)       Rob
This (apparently) is made from Maratheftiko, of which there are only 125 ha on Cyprus, mainly in Pitsilia and the much more widely planted workhorse Cypriot grape, Mavro. The wine has a slightly port nose. A sweet deep, dark fruit palate with a slightly “fat” texture and warmth.

DOMAINE PONTBRIAND PAYS DE VAUCLUSE 2015 (Merle)       Ann
More odd grapes – this is Caladoc; Marselan and Grenache, this has a heavy, herbal and slightly perfumed nose. The palate is also recessed at first but long and with mounting savoury and spice against the dark fruit.

CHÂTEAU LA SABATIÈRE 2015 (Monbazillac)         Extra Bonus Birthday Tarte Citron Wine
Flagging by this point, I confess… but a honeyed nose and palate and sweet fruit – lighter than some Monbazillac and with an acidic lift that offset the Tarte Citron… Lovely.. but no Birthday candles – Happy Birthday anyway Kathryn!

A lovely evening of wine and great food. Thanks for your hospitality Matt and Kathryn, and thanks for sharing your Birthday with us….

À Bientôt

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