Archives for posts with tag: Blind Tasting

The Group visited Cropwell Bishop for a blind-Tasting party on Friday 23rd August, hosted by Sue and Johnny. The evening was a very convivial with lovely wines and food… I confess in the interval I have been distracted by the effort and organisation of transportation to France (not to mention the antics of a UK “Government” that seems entirely likely to re-introduce transportation to further climes!).

Here are my notes, first the whites:


SEGURA VIUDAS BRUT RESERVA HEREDAD nv                 Welcome Wine
Lovely tell-tale gluey nose of cava with a very fine mousse. Palate is lively and refreshing and (for a cava) long… citrus and some floral notes – slightly smokey and quite elegant – very good!

SOAVE CALVARINO 2014 (Pieropan)        Laurie   
Fresh and lively nose with citrus and a floral hint – some stony and herby notes too. The palate is very long and structured rather like a good Chablis with some oily character and a very late nutty hint – but wearing its richness with vivacity and lightness… lovely

CHABLIS  PREMIER CRU 2013 (Morrison’s “Best”, made by Les Chablisienne)      Ann  
And – as if by magic – the very thing to use as a comparison with the previous. Again citrus and nutty nose but a deeper fruit, apricot? Palate has a lot of fruit and some spice, good length and a mineral finish – a little richer than the Soave and a little less dashing but lovely too…

ARINTO  2018  (Lisboa)       Yvonne 
An uncommon grape also found in Vinho Verde (by the name of Pederna). This has fresh, slightly grassy, citric dash with other herbs and a slightly sappy feel. The palate has warm acidity and a nettle note recalling a light old world Sauvignon Blanc

On to the reds…


MARZEMINO DELLE VENEZIE 2017        Kim
Very Beaujolais profile – cherry and darker fruit but a light body and acidity. Slightly greenish herbal note – asks for a pasta / pesto dish IMO.

KNIGHTOR PINOT NOIR 2017   Cornwall           John
Red fruit nose with hints of Fenugreek. Palate has a red fruit base with an acidity tinged with grapefruit peel – moving to a leaf and indeed leaf-mould hint, herbal hints and a vaguely Alsace profile… clearly a cool climate Pinot with a light but food-friendly structure.

CHÂTEAU LA CROIX DE PEZ 2014  Saint-Estèphe         Johnny
Nose is quite hard with  later fruit and forest-floor flavours. Palate is dry with a red fruit line tannis and some acidity… A little young ( 2 or 3 years?) but very good…

ISOLA DEI NURAGHI BOVALE IGT “U TABARKA CIÙ ROUSSOU” 2015       Rob
Bovale is the grape in this clearly Italianate wine from Sardinia!  This is a bit confusing as Bovale Grande is Mazuelo/Carignan, whereas this wine is Bovale Piccolo which is Graciano. Both varieties came to Sardinia from Spain and here the wine has clearly an Italian accent – oily, warm plum and liquotice nose and a palate with firm tannin and a dried prune note: drying, satisfying and structured – very good!

L’AURA DE CAMBON MARGAUX 2016          Sue
This has a clear Cabernet flavour profile, but is much softer than that suggests – and in fact is a 50:50 blend with Merlot. Replanted in 2006 this is quite luscious with a classy Margaux profile. Definitely modern in style – but very well done.

TRAMINER  SPÄTLESE 2015 (Winebau Wartha)  Burgenland Austria                  Farewell Wine   
A very sweet fruit and honeyed wine with a dash of acidity. Just pleasure with cheese or dessert….

An interesting evening where I liked every wine – an uncommon occurrence. Thanks to all and especially Sue.

À Bientôt

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The Group met for a blind-Tasting party on Friday 26th July, hosted by Kathryn and Matt. A lovely evening with, as it turned out, a unusual link between half the wines…

Here are my notes:


KAIKEN BRUT nv   Argentina                       Welcome Wine
A citric nose with a frothy mousse. Nose and palate develop towards grapefruit acidity and open to a slightly sweet orchard fruit. A light and lively Brut with an aperitif profile!

GRÜNER VELTLINER 2012 (Holzmann)    Weinvertel          Anna   
Nose has some deeper fruit flavour – apricot? Green apple notes and the usual tell-tale pepper hint. The palate has richer, creamier notes showing its evolution, Good length and underlying refreshment…

PECORINO 2017 (Umani Ronchi)    Tuscany       Sue T  
Nose has pear fruit, and some floral notes that deepen to a hint of almonds in a very Italian style. The palate is rich with a, slightly mealy, fruit profile and warm, round acidity.

PIGATO RISERVA 2018  (Laura Aschero)    Liguria          Kathryn  
Pigato is a grape found quite commonly in Liguria, and DNA profiling shows it is the same grape as Vermentino despite finding their homes independently (Vermentino is also sometimes known as  Rolle in France). This example has a pungent nose with slightly pithy and oily notes. Palate follows the nose with a lifting round acidity and a slightly bitter note.

FIANO IGP 2017 (Maree d’Ione)     Puglia     Yvonne  
Fiano is perhaps better known from Avellino or the Sannio area of Campania. This shares those versions lightness and verve, making it a very fish-friendly wine – however this example has a slightly herby and exotic fruit tinge making it seem a little bigger flavoured. Crisp acidity and quite long lasting, a surprisingly poised hot-climate white!

JACKSON-TRIGGS OKANAGAN ESTATE RIESLING 2016   British Columbia          Paul
Forward diesel and elderflower nose – very reminiscent of some Oregon examples. It turns out this is not that far away to the North. Very Riesling with a Mosel style level of sweetness in a richer package – succulent, supple and lovely!

TRINITY HILLS MARSANNE/VIOGNIER 2017   Gimlett Gravels N.Z.         Kim
Very nutty, creamy nose, with a hint of oak in a very white-Burgundy style. But is isn’t that – the palate has an oily profile with some olive and herb notes and a rich, warm length. A Rhone-ish blend done well on the gravel in Hawke’s Bay.


VIGNETI DELLE DOLOMITI PINOT NERO 2014   Dolomites                       Ann
This has a light red-fruit nose with a light peppery tinge. The palate has fruit and a sharp-acid, food-demanding, line. This wine has the mark of some cooler growing sites, would be lovely with a roast pork dish.

CHIANTI RISERVA  2006 (San Colombano)    Tuscany           Laurie   
Red fruit but earthy nose, with fruit cake (spice and dried fruit) elements appearing. Palate has some liquorice and an echo of the nose. Clearly a mature, and very typical, Chianti.

“ALTITUDES” 2013 (IXSIR)    Lebanon       Sue Mc 
Another earthy nose, darker fruit and some warm spice. Palate has the same profile with sweeter-than-expected fruit and a wide tannic line.

VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO 2015  (Boscarelli)    Tuscany          John  
Herbs and cherry fruit at first with the fruit broadening into a softer note. The palate is similar with an acidic line, plum-prune fruit and a warm long finish. Some Chianti-like character and complexity with a rounder fruit base and a slight mineral hint lifting the very end… This is 85% Prugnolo – the Montepulciano clone of Sangiovese! And it’s lovely (my favourite of the night).

XINOMAVRO 2016 (Alpha Estates)     Amyndeon, Greece     Matt 
Sweet plum nose, leading to a grenache-like sweet plum tomato line, offset – at least in part – with a supple acidity. If the Pinot Nero showed its cooler origins this speaks of warmth!

PISANO “CISPLATINO” TANNAT 2017    Uruguay          Mike
Pungency with nutty elements, some prune and spice notes underneath. The palate is very supple and rather different from Madiran tannic monsters, with a little woodiness and a blackberry fruit within a (relatively) gentle tannic frame.

CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2015 (Sertosso)   Tuscany                   Rob
Rather leather/liquorice, typical Italian, nose with a Xmas cake hint – baking spice more than dried fruit at this stage. Some sour fruit and a warm tannic frame persisting longest. A food wine that maybe needs another year or two.

PAULINSHOF RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2014     Mosel                  Farewell Wine   
A diesel, peach, sweet fruit and honeyed wine with that lovely lifting Riesling acidity. A pure pleasure and a fitting vinous conclusion to a lovely evening.

An interesting evening when Italy played a surprisingly large part: not a single French wine and seven Italians! Three from Tuscany, three Italian whites and a North Italian Pinot. Very unexpected and very enjoyable…

Partly because I have been unable to attend a Sock Club Tasting since February, I particularly appreciated and enjoyed this one. Faultlessly welcomed by our knowledgeable and generous hosts, it was a real pleasure to indulge in the sociable hedonism of the group – my profound thanks to everyone and especially to Kathryn and Matt.

À Bientôt

On Thursday 18th July the ICC Group met to compare Wines from Victoria and Burgundy – both white (Chardonnay) and red (Pinot Noir). This tasting partly followed an eye-opening tasting of Antipodean Pinot (see post of March 8th 2017) a couple of years ago, and the Jancis Robinson quotation cited in the Theme post last week. Both of these showed Australia can make wines in cooler climates from Burgundy grapes very well – but how well?

For each grape 3 wines were served blind one each from the Yarra Valley, Gippsland (both in Victoria) and Mercurey, (in the Côte Chalonnaise). The wines are all around £20 in UK. I chose the same wineries for both red and white wines.

Hoddles Creek Estate, established in 1997, is located in the Upper Yarra, which is higher, cooler and more marginal than the lower Yarra, The Estate is planted with 10ha of Pinot Noir (five clones), 6 ha of chardonnay, Being in a marginal climate, requires extensive canopy management. Over the last decade it has been focusing on minimal chemical use in the vineyard, and claim they are starting to see the benefits of health soils and vines with more balanced wines. It works the vineyards for low yields (below 33 hl/ha).

Wickham Road is a 8 hectare vineyard planted solely to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It is cool, free draining and the vines are 17 years old. During the winter months, sheep are used to reduce the reliance on chemical control for weeds and grasses. The resulting wines require no acidification or fining.

Domaine Pillot is a family wine business over 150 years old in Mellecey a village in the Mercurey commune. The domaine has 17 hectares throughout the appellation and practice La lutte raisonnée (a sort of minimum intervention) in the vineyard. Appropriately the wines have a reputation for lightness and delicacy.


The serving order was random – so the following notes follow the order in which the wines were served (before their identity was know). First, the Chardonnays:

WICKHAM ROAD 2017   Gippsland, Victoria   –  12.8%  –  Stone, Vine & Sun  – £19
Slightly nutty nose. Palate has fresh acidity with pithy note – seeming to tighten with time. There is orchard fruit, bright but slightly soft. Acidity persists and eventually becomes the main character.
Ratings:        Quality:  14.5/20   Value:  13.5/20

MERCUREY 2016 (Pillot) Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy  –  13%  –  3D – £21
This has a more citric and lighter nose, some oak giving a creamy texture building to a slightly bitter mineral end. The fruit line is hidden in the acidity making the wine develop more in the glass than the other example. Less striking but more subtle???
Ratings:        Quality:  15/20   Value:  14/20

HODDLES CREEK 2016  Yarra Valley,Victoria  –  13.2%  –  Stone, Vine & Sun  – £22
Nutty notes again, with a palate more restrained and lighter than the first wine, but clearly in the same style. Balanced, long and correct – very well made…
Ratings:        Quality:  15/20   Value:  14/20

The popular vote had the Yarra Valley wine as best white (9 votes) followed by the Mercurey (7) and the Gippsland (6)

Secondly the Pinots:

MERCUREY 1er Cru “En Sazenay” 2015 (Pillot) Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy  –  13%  –  3D – £21
Light and bright colour with a herb and plum nose. Quiet but insistent palate with soft red fruit (hints of cherry) a line of warm acidity and subtle grip with a spice note accentuating a very Pinot character. Very good and my favourite…
Ratings:        Quality:  17/20   Value:  16/20

HODDLES CREEK 2016 Yarra Valley, Victoria  –  13.2%  –  Stone, Vine & Sun  – £23
Darker with a herbal nose, red fruit too and again on the palate with a slightly bitter bay leaf twist to the acidity. To my taste a good but slightly one-dimensional red.
Ratings:        Quality:  16/20   Value:  15/20

WICKHAM ROAD 2017 Gippsland, Victoria  –  13%  –  Stone, Vine & Sun  – £19
Slightly brownish colour and a quiet nose, fruity palate but little else. This had little vinous quality and as a consequence I would probably avoid it!
Ratings:        Quality:  12.5/20   Value:  11.5/20

The popular vote had the Yarra Valley wine as best red (10 votes) followed by the Mercurey (8) and the Gippsland (5). Though, funnily enough, no supporters of the Gippsland red followed through to choosing it a best wine overall – despite two-thirds of those present choosing a red. Clearly those that liked the last red are white wine drinkers!!??

Wine-of-the-night voting went (in serving order) 1 – 2 – 5 – 7 – 8 – 0

So the Yarra Valley estate won the night overall (as well as the separate white and red votes) with 13 supporters, the Mercurey 9 and the Gippsland 1.
For me the whites very much closer, although I can’t help thinking – for the price – a decent Chablis (or maybe a Pernand-Vergelesses) might beat them all. I thought the Yarra Pinot surprisingly good but lacking just a little subtlety and complexity compared to the Burgundy. The Gippsland red showed the worst qualities of New World Pinot, IMO although their white was much better. My scores have Mercurey leading 32 to 31 for the Yarra, with Gippsland trailing in with 27.

An interesting tasting – I was impressed by the Yarra – though not enough to seek Victorian wines out, especially considering one can get £20-in-UK wines in Burgundy itself at around the €13 mark… must go there again soon…

À Bientôt

Two sets of Notes for the price of one this month – A Tutored Tasting and an ICC Tasting I led on New Zealand…

A group of 11 W1NG members met at the Brigitte Bordeaux Wine Emporium on Bank holiday Monday, 6th May, for a Southern Rhone 2011,
Châteauneuf du Pape v Gigondas tasting. This was a wine society case purchased en primeur in September 2015.


1-Domaine du Cayron  Gigondas 14%  £18
78% Grenache, 14% Syrah, 6% Cinsault and 2% Mourvèdre
This had a powerful nose with nice volatile acidity. The palate was light with some liquorice notes. There was sour cherry and soft tannins. One of the group said this was their favourite and four would buy it.

2- The Society Châteauneuf du Pape £17.50 (Vignobles Mayard)
65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre
Nice acidity, more serious nose than last one, richer, non fruit flavours of liquorice and garrigue, thyme and rosemary.

3- Domaine Raspil-Ay Gigondas 15% £19
80% Grenache, 15% Syrah 5% Mourvèdre
This was very soft but with good acidity. Plummy fruit. Some port qualities.

4- Chateau Mont Redon Châteauneuf du Pape 15%  £20
60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 8% Mourvedre and others
Sweet orange peel, light fruit and a little spicy, vegetal, quite simple. The group’s least favourite overall.

5- Domaine La Bouissiere   Gigondas  15%  £19
70% Grenache 25% Syrah 5% Mourvedre
A little medicinal on the nose, mineral, tarragon, liquorice, not mainstream, more complex. Good. Two of the group’s favourite.

6- Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe 14.5%  £36
65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre 5% Cinsault
Restrained style, good balance and good acidity. lighter than expected. Quite a closed nose, lots of red fruit flavours and very long. 8 of the group said this was their favourite but were not all convinced it was worth the extra money.

An  interesting tasting. Overall the Gigondas were maybe a little more rustic, less powerful  and simpler than the Chateauneuf du Pape’s but they stood up very well and in some instances were better. Thanks to Matt and Kathryn for opening Brigitte Bordeaux for us.

Plus Corkmaster’s thanks to John and Ann for sourcing the wines, conducting the Tasting and the above notes.

 

Ten days later, after my excursion to Jerez and Sanlúcar de Barrameda (see two posts ago…) it was my turn to lead a tasting of
New Zealand Wine: North Island v South Island. A tasting that had been near the top of the poll for Themes this year.
I decided to show three pairs of wines, all sourced from The New Zealand House of Wine. The wines were served blind and I tried to encourage expression of  simple preference before trying to guess which was which.

Here are my notes:

The first pair were a Marlborough and a Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc, each about £12.

WINE A had a nettle nose with some exotic fruit, later a hint of something in the Asparagus direction (I think of this as a fault). The palate had gooseberry and hgh acidity, grapefruit and a little green.
Ratings:    Voting: 10 preferred this wine.       My scores:    Quality:  14/20   Value:  15/20       

WINE B was darker but with slightly more restrained nose, the acidity was warmer giving a richer impression but more pliant and citric. Some chalky minerality at the end. Although a slightly bigger package it seemed more balanced and complex and therefore less boring.
Ratings:        Voting: 16 preferred this wine.       My scores:    Quality:  15/20   Value:  16/20

 

It turns out Wine A was from the South Island – 

KIM CRAWFORD 2017 (Marlborough)       

Wine B was from the North Island –

TRINITY HILL WHITE LABEL 2016 (Hawkes Bay)

 

 

We then moved on to two Pinot Noir  each for about £17 – one each from Otago and Martinborough

Wine C had some farmyard and a herbal hint, with soft, even mashed red fruit. The palate had a slightly bitter “squeezed pip” quality and the whole package seemed soft and a bit grainy to me.
Ratings:    Voting: 10 preferred this wine.       My scores:    Quality:  14/20   Value:  14/20       

Wine D had more fragrant fruit, slightly sweet but less over-ripe. The palate had a crunchier sharper fruit and some clean tannic structure, darker fruit and a herbacious tinged tannic finish. Again a cleaner, better balanced more effortless package.
Ratings:    Voting: 18 preferred this wine.       My scores:    Quality:  16/20   Value:  16/20       

 

It turns out Wine C was from the South Island – 

CARRICK UNRAVELLED 2017 (Otago)

Wine D was from the North Island –

PALLISER ESTATE 2016  (Martinborough)

 

 

 

The final pair were two £19 Syrah, again from Marlborough and Hawkes Bay:

Wine E had a nose of slightly pithy olive and black fruit. The palate was grainy but supple and structured with a black fruit acidity and a tinge of salinity. Quite a persuasive Syrah
Ratings:    Voting: 16 preferred this wine.       My scores:    Quality:  15/20   Value:  14/20   

Wine F had a much quieter nose with a palate of sweeter fruit, hints of blueberry and some soft tannins. A passable wine, with the lack of Syrah character a double-edged thing IMHO. However a simpler, slightly overdone wine.
Ratings:    Voting: 9 preferred this wine.       My scores:    Quality:  14.5/20   Value:  13.5/20       

 

It turns out Wine E was from North Island –

TRINITY HILL GIMBLETT GRAVELS 2015 (Hawkes Bay)

and Wine F from the South Island –

SERESIN ESTATE 2016 (Marlborough)      

 

 

So an interesting result. The majority preferred the North Island Wine of each pair – with a combined score of 50 to 29! I concurred with those preferences, strongly, and surprisingly so in the case of the Pinot Noir, of which the Martinborough was my favourite of the night. I also noted that of the first two pairs – the North Island Wine had lower alcohol and wore it’s heat and richness more lightly. The final wine was less clear to me – I find Syrah a bit grainy at the best of times – but the South Island wines all seemed a bit muddy, maybe over-extracted and somehow trying-too-hard… Of course this is a small sample, easily explained by individual grower or terroir factors.. However a bit of a surprise – and something to think about with future NZ sampling.

À Bientôt

While the UK Government could not decide if the whole nation was to shoot itself in the head – or merely the stomach, Corkmaster and Kimberley Kabinett took themselves off to a civilised country for the duration – although of course it might not be the duration.. or it might… or not…. FFS!

A group of 9 of the people remaining (no pun intended) attended a Sock Party graciously held by Ann and John. This was rather “off piste” with the white wines following the reds and by all accounts an enjoyable and rather rowdy party. Ann reports: “I for one found it refreshing to move on to whites after food including a palate cleansing lemon sorbet, though it wasn’t a great test as we only had 2 whites and then a bonus dessert wine. Can’t say the hangover was any less, though hopefully the reds got more thoughtful consideration than they usually do?!”

Ann also generously supplied the following notes, and photos from John:


ABEL CHARLOT BRUT NV CHAMPAGNE (Welcome Wine)
50% Chardonnay, 25% e@ Pinot.  There is some reserve wine blended in for extra richness. Found to be punching above its current price. A good mousse, light lemon flavour with  some butteriness and pleasing length which was satisfyingly dry.

VARVAGLIONE,  “12 e mezzo” ORGANIC PRIMITIVO , IGT PUGLIA 2015  (Mike)
Bramble fruit and violets on the nose, powerful but smooth.

PAMUKKALE SARAPEILIK , ANFORA TRIO, AEGEAN REGION, TURKEY 2016   (Yvonne)
Blend of indigenous Turkish grape 40% Kalecik Karasi with 40% Shiraz and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
Honey on the nose, dark cherry coffee low tannin unoaked.

CHÂTEAU LA POINTE, POMEROL, 2013, BORDEAUX, FRANCE  (John)
From wine society en primeur.  Plum and earthiness on the palate with a lovely complexity and length  Merlot 85% Cabernet Franc 15%

CONO SUR,  20 BARRELS LIMITED EDITION PINOT NOIR- 2016. FROM EL TRIANGULO ESTATE,  CASABLANCA VALLEY, CHILE.    (Sue Mc)
Not a typical pinot, had some of the cherry and strawberry but complexity with leather and tobacco. 20 best barrels from the harvest bottled on their own.

CHÂTEAU PRADEAUX BANDOL ROUGE, 2006   (Rob)
95%+ Mourvedre from old vines. Lovely dense  flavour of macerated plums and blackcurrants, ripe tannins.


VENUS  LA UNIVERSAL, DIDO , MONSANT 2015   (Yuan)
Grenache as majority, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Syrah Purchased from cellar door on a weekend in Catalunya, Thanks Yuan. Montsant surrounds Priorat “like a bangle on a wrist” Delicious fruitiness with length.
Per Decanter A blend of Garnatxa with Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot, organically grown on decomposed granites near Falset.  The appeal is less primary and less fleshy than for many of its Montsant peers: calm, fine-drawn plant and stony earth scents with an elegant, layered style, though open-textured and accessible.   91

MASTROBERANDINO, LACRYMA CHRISTI DEL VESUVIO ROSSO  2015    (Mark)

100% Piedirosso from Campania, on the slopes of Vesuvius the “tears of Christ on Vesuvius” Jesus’ tears dropping at the foot of Vesuvius  ultimately sparked the miraculous growth of the vines. Piedirosso is the second most planted red after Aglianico. Floral spicy and powerful.

FALERNIA ELKI, PEDRO XIMINEZ 2017, ELQUI VALLEY, CHILE  (Sue T)
2016 vintage given 90 points and Highly Recommended by Decanter  as festive buy.

ONDA NOVA VIOGNIER, 2014, ALGARVE, PORTUGAL    (Ann)
This was purchased following a tasting at this estate owned by Cliff Richard which happened  to be very near our villa. This was surprisingly rich with a taste of peach but sufficiently dry to not be cloying,

DOMAINE  HAAG, GEWURTZTRAMINER GRAND CRU ZINNKOEPFLE, VENDAGES TARDIVES 2008, ALSACE   (Bonus Dessert wine, John)
This was a medium sweet wine not cloying and went quite well with our lemon tart.
Fun story to this one- we were at Carcassonne airport and a slightly panicked man approached us with two bottles of this. He’d been gifted these by his landlady but only had luggage booked for his flight home. We offered to take them off his hands and managed to squash them into our case with 4 other bottles already packed in! We did look for him at East Midlands airport but couldn’t see him as we would have offered to return one!

Ann thanks everyone for coming along, “it was a great night” – and I thank her for providing these notes!

À Bientôt

A small but very discerning group made their way to darkest Burton Joyce to partake of Yvonne’s hospitality and sample wines, as is our custom.

Here are my notes:


CHAMPAGNE NICOLAS FEUILLATTE VINTAGE BRUT 2000  Welcome Wine
Nicolas Feuillatte is actually a co-op at Chouilly in the Côte des Blancs vineyards. This has a slightly oxidised note and slightly darkened hue, but underneath the sherry hints are some signs of ripe peach. The oxidation seems to have, more than anything else, taken out the acidity which is limited and warm feeling, but leaves a very sweet soft fruit and a short but creamy mousse.

“WHITE ON GREY” MOSHOFILERO 2017 (Mitravelas)          Yvonne   
Slightly peach-tinged citric nose, quite creamy too but with a brackish element. Palate is similar, with a creamy texture, a saline mineral prickle and a vaguely Alsacienne profile: richness and a slightly spicy, smokey hint… Good

SANTENAY BLANC “SAINT-JEAN” 2013 (MARK HAISMA)      Laurie
The wine has 12 months in old oak with fruit from a named parcel just above (north) of Le Haut Village in Santenay (see June 14th 2015 post for an earlier note). Quite an aromatic nose – richer than earlier with a ripe white peach note and some citrus. The palate has a warm minerality and long acidic – grapefruit? – backbone, but a substantial, rich, soft stone-fruit succulence that makes a satisfying, well balanced, and probably at-peak wine. Rather good!

VAU JAUMIER 2015, ST. NICOLAS DE BOURGUEIL (Domaine de la Cotelleraie)           Kim  
I’ve followed this wine for 3 or 4 vintages now, and it’s my favourite SNdB. Quite sharp when young, this now has a herby nose with a bay leaf element, and red fruit with an earthy under-note… very Cabernet Franc. Palate is rich with a lovely supple red-fruit acid, raspberry or redcurrant and a hint of spice at the finish. Still young but much more developed than a year ago and already deeper and more complex than the (pretty good) 2014. Excellent!

“ORFEO” 2010 (Prieure La Chaume – Vix, Vendée)          John  
This is from the Vendée, where the AOC/AOP is Fiefs Vendéens. The department is part of the Loire although the wine areas are 70 miles South or South-West of Muscadet and Anjou respectively. This is 60% Merlot (+35% Cab. Sauvignon & 5% Negrette) which I think is the reason it is an IGP. Nose has very ripe dark fruit – slightly pruney dried fruit character with a cherry spirit hint, all rather Italian-ish! The palate too is rich and earthy with a fruit acid line echoing the nose and some non-fruit leathery hints… I’d guess at Ripasso, certainly not a Loire Merlot!? … but a luscious wine nevertheless!

HERDADE DOS GROUS 2016           Ann
This wine, from Alentejo, is (apparently): Aragonez (35%); Alicante Bouschet (30%); Touriga Nacional (20%) and Syrah (15%) – fermented in lagares and aged in new French oak barriques. One can detect the oak on the nose as both a woody and a creamy hint underneath red and plum fruit. The palate has firmer oak frame and some spicy  tinges under a slightly earthy plum, prune tannic shape.

“MARQUES CASA CONCHA” SYRAH 2016 (Concha y Toro)         Rob
Quite classic Syrah notes: blackberry, salt and a hint of wood. The palate has a sweet fruit line – more blueberry than blackberry and the slightly spicy tannins close with the oak to form a drying, food-needing finish… which is exactly what we gave it!

A very enjoyable (and wonderfully well-paced with a smaller number) evening of company, wine and food. Thanks for your hospitality Yvonne.

Finally, although she’s much to modest to tell you herself, Kathryn, long time stalwart and now co-leader of the WING group, is featured in the latest Wine Merchant magazine – on the front page and on pp 20-21. If you’re Nottingham-based worth trying the shop / bar “Brigitte Bordeaux”.

À Bientôt

On Thursday 13th December the ICC group met for the fifth Call-My-Wine-Bluff Xmas Quiz. As usual 6 wines are served blind with “my 3 lovely assistants” each providing a claim as to what the wine was. Although the wines described are all real, two are bluffing and only one telling the truth. Everyone has to guess who’s telling the truth…

Here are my notes for this year:

The first round was “Famous Otherwise” – 3 white grapes not usually found in normal dry still wine.
This wine had some pear and peach fruit nose, leading to a softer floral hint ? Palate has a pithy slight bitterness, some acidity, more warmth – mounting to a slightly burning mineral finish.
But was it: a Hungarian dry Tokaj? A Xarel-Lo from Catalunya? Or a New Zealand – Hawkes Bay – Verdelho?
The warm minerality combined with richness tells of a more New World Style IMO.

The second round was Chenin Blanc.
Nose is of over-ripe apple with some honey notes and some wood. Palate has a warm acidity, with passion fruit hints. The wine has some weight countering the acifity, but rich with a nutty component. But was it from: South Africa? Old Vine Saumur? Or from Otago, New Zealand?
This has obvious oak and may send one towards South Africa, but the Saumur could be oaked too. I think the hardest of all 6 to guess…

The third round was Classic French Rosé.
Very Pale, onion skin pink… This has light red fruit notes, but also a heavier vegetal element. The palate is a little rinsed out but a sweet fruit tinge.
But was it a Sancerre? from Provence? Or from Tavel?
The colour and lightness on the palate rule out Tavel surely, could be Pinot Noir from Sancerre but Provence seems more likely IMO…

The fourth round was Red Bordeaux (Left Bank; Right Bank or a New World Copy)
Plum, some woody notes and a mocha hint. Palate is drying with firm tannins and a spirity cherry hint at the finish. A bit young and definitely needing food.
But was it  Ch. Chantgreve 2015 from Graves (Left Bank)? A Susana Balbo 2014 from Argentine? or Ch. Puygueraud 2013 from Cotes de Francs (Right Bank)?
This is quite difficult too – a little lacking the charm of Graves, maybe. Has the depth and flavours of an Argentinian but the plum nose and the need for time might indicate Right Bank Merlot?

Three “Lovely Assistants” reveal the one true answer….

The fifth round was Southern Italian Red 
A slightly brown tinged colour and a slightly burnt first nose, giving way to forest floor and forest fruit notes. Palate seems evolved with leather, cedar non-fruit notes… rathe renjoyable.
But was it:  2014 Negroanora? A 2008 Aglianico? Or a 2014 Nero d’Avalo based wine from Planeta in Sicily?
I think the evolution and colour of the wine point to some age – it has to be the 2008!

The last round was Off-Dry Fortified Wine!
Nose of fruit peel, some baking spice and toasted nuts. The palate follows suit with some sweetness and a warm alcohol note.
But was it: the original model Palo Cortado Sherry? Secco Superiore Marsala? Or a (Generic) Dry Madeira?
Too sweet for the sherry I think, and lacking the acidity to lift the wine that Sercial would provide – but could be generic Madeira or Marsala.

The correct answers were:


Esk Valley, Hawkes Bay Verdelho 2017
Langlois-Chateau – Saumur Vieilles Vignes, Chenin Blanc 2015
Lycastre Rose Côte de Provence (Porquerolles) 2017  Domaine de la Courtade
Château Puyguéraud 2013 Francs Côtes de Bordeaux (75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec)
Cappellaccio Aglianico Castel Del Monte D.O.C. Riserva 2008 (Rivera)
Marsala Superiore Secco (Lombardo)

Only one person managed to reach the dizzying height of 5 guesses correct! So Helen is this year’s WING Call-My-Bluff Champion. Congratulations to her and thanks to my “three beautiful assistants” in conducting the quiz.

 

Finally, I’m off to France any day now and will not be on-line again until sometime in the New Year. So any posts on Tasting in early or mid-January will be by my esteemed colleague Brigitte Bordeaux!

Speaking of whom…

It will be of great interest to know that she has opened a new “Wine Emporium”: Wine Shop and Wine-Bar; of the same name in Sherwood, Nottingham.  Check it out if you are Nottingham based!

Have a look at this – still developing – website https://www.brigittebordeauxwine.co.uk/

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All that remains is to wish all my readers a peaceful, happy, complex, elegant, long-lived and pleasurable Festive Season and New Year.

À Bientôt

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