Archives for posts with tag: Sock Club

Naturally (!) – the May Sock Club occurred this year on 1st June. So the June Tutored Tasting followed only 72 hours later. So as to ensure that the information stays as the leading page I have united both sets of notes into one post. It should be top-post until the next Monthly Theme post (Mediterranean Islands) goes up on – about – 15th June.

Starting with Sock Club – the group met and Matt & Kathryn’s on Friday first of June for an evening of blind Tasting…

Here are my notes:

“CUVEE JEAN LOUIS” CHAMPAGNE BRUT (Bredon)         Welcome Wine
This has a citrus nose with a quite persistent but light sherbet mousse, palate has a grapefruit tinge. Rather light bodied and frothy with soft peach and lime hints. Very light for Champagne – definitely a party or aperitif style.

ALICANTE “LA TREMENDA” 2016 (Enrique Mendoza)          Sue T  
Nose is all soft fruit – apricot? Palate also shows apricot with a slightly chalky feel. Some Chardonnay signs: weight, apple acidity… but recessed under the soft Merseguera fruit.. It’s 50% each grape!

RIBEIRO “AILALÁ” TREIXADURA 2017         Kathryn   
Peach nose, this time, with a creamy impression… Palate the same with a ginger element and some saline, savoury hints – then peach again, and a citrus backbone… Quite interesting – showing some complexity!

CHENONCEAUX 2016 (Domaine de Vaux St. Georges)           Yvonne
This Touraine Sauvignon has initial quince fruit and then round Sauvignon Blanc profile on the nose. The acidity is rounder, warmer and less green than many SB, but has some green herbal hints, some mineral and a fuller body with more tropical complexity. Good!

POUILLY FUISSÉ “COLLECTION” 2015 (Sophie Cinier)          Kim
Citrus first, some toasty notes, a medium-weight palate shows citrus and soft fruit with a supple creamy texture, but no oak. There is a warm acid line and a lingering melon hint. Made from 60 year old vines with only old oak this has a clean but rich depth – very engaging!

DENARIO PINOT NOIR 2013 (Patagonia)           Matt
Very pale, translucent colour, slight vanilla and red fruit nose and palate has a lifting acidity with a bitter component… Clean and cool fruit with a slight herby element, very food friendly and good!

CORNAS 2004 (Alain Verset)      Laurie
This is the latest in the Cornas Verset story for me. I was fortunate enough to have bought the 1998 vintage of the great, late Noel Verset (see post of 26 Oct 2014 – below, I still have a couple left btw) and also had the good fortune once (in 1997 I think) to taste the 1991 Yvonne Verset (although allegedly made by Noel’s brother Louis). This 2004 completes the set with Alain (Louis and Yvonne’s son). More recent vintages are about £26, though this is now £45.
Without the ethereality of Yvonne’s, or the wonderful elegant completeness of Noel’s this is an amazing Cornas: slightly earthy nose with quite light fruit – blueberry and strawberry. Palate is supple, and for a Cornas rather subtle, with a lovely fruit acid line that builds for ages to a slightly drying crescendo and a spicy lift at the very end. Speaking as a Syrah-sceptic this was balanced, satisfying and not-at-all salty – lovely!

Nose shows fruit, some spice and a woody, forest-floor note. Palate starts with a black “fruit pastille” sweetness and backed by leathery hints and some warm prune, spice returns too… a clear warm climate wine with some succulence. This Puglian wine is from Nardò, between Salice Salentino and the SW Coast of the heel of Italy. Like Salice it is made with 80% Negroamaro & 20% Malvasia Nera.

BURGENLAND ZWEIGELT 2015 (Heinrich)     Mike
Quite light with a herby cherry/berry nose. The palate is similar – slightly drying sour cherry acidity and then the green herb quality appears again. Quite mouth-watering and fresh.

AMARONE 2011 (Cantina di Negrar)       Rob
Plum skins and prune notes on this nose, with a surprisingly sweet fruit attack on the palate. The palate then opens up a bit to show oily texture, a slight prune depth to the fruit, a hint of bitterness and a warm finish.

A great evening of wine and, though it may seem inappropriately self-serving, I was most moved by the Cornas! Thanks to Kathryn and Matt for their wonderful hospitality…


Only 3 days later the TT group assembled again for a Vertical Barolo Tasting led by Kim.

The Barolo in question was “TREBAVIO” BAROLO DOCG (TENUTA L’ILLUMINATA). The winery is in the La Morra, in fact on the North West edge of La Morra (and hence the whole Barolo appellation) in the Sant’Anna Menzione (cru). It appears the wine is a cru wine from Nebbiolo in that Menzione. La Morra is the largest of the Barolo Communi, and is said to produce the most supple, seductive, and “Pomerol-like” Barolos. Although comparisons with Burgundy are more common…

La Morra: L’Illuminata is in the Centre of the navy-blue (Sant’Anna) Cru – top left.

L’Illuminata is a moderate-modern wine maker. Not the most iconoclastic but applying some modern methods. For example the maceration and aging: Temperature-controlled steel, then a year in barriques (½ new), then a year in older Slovenian oak botti (10 x times the size of the barriques).

Kim showed the 6 vintages from 2005 – 2010.

Here are my notes:

2010 (Barolo General Vintage Rating 97, ABV 14.5%)
Nose is slightly Burgundian, with vegetal hints, some tar and a perfumed element opening out with time (…or a bigger glass!). High acidity on the palate with round tannins, fruit – plums coming to the fore later. Silky but with restrained power. Very promising and quite typical, but needs a couple of years…

2009 (90, 15%)
This is hotter altogether – the nose is quieter at first, with a slightly cheesy note and spirit hints. The palate is softer, the fruit stronger and the structure majors more on the tannins… slightly sweet impression. Not my favourite….

2008 (94, 15.5%)
Pungent dairy-(?)-farmyard nose with some plum fruit. A slight warm alcohol burn on the palate but there is acidity and grainy tannin all at equal (but not exactly “balanced”) levels. Very atypical – the fruit is sweet and the acidity almost citric. Later curry spice elements (Cumin? Fenugreek??) appear. Least liked by most – I actually preferred its weirdness to the over-heated 09 or the dilute 05….

2007 (95, 15.5%)
More perfumed with some fruit influence and a cherry spirit note. Palate is supple with integrated tannins and a very long fruit acid, the flavour is plum but the acidity reminds me more of raspberry. Good.

2006 (95, 14%)
A fruit and mocha nose making me think of cherry and raspberry again with a slight late herb note. The palate is powerful and gives the impression of more to be revealed, built around a long fruit-acid line the tannins brood beneath without distracting from the velvet mouthfeel… This will last, but right now it’s full, round and complete… a very satisfying wine!

2005 (91, 14%)
Nose is quite quiet with a little pretty fruit and some cheese hints again…The palate seems a little washed-out by comparison to all the previous wines, and the acidity rather green.

An amazing set of wines, which – despite their similarities – showed amazing variety. I think this, at these levels of maturity, has more to do with vintage than age – but who knows? I think one would pick Nebbiolo as the grape in them all, maybe some more quickly than other, and I would enjoy a bottle of any with an appropriate meal.

With most people 2010, 2007 & 2006 were the most favoured –  I concurred. To me it finally came down to a (large glass) taste-off between the ’07 & the ’06… and (then and there)… the 2006 shaded it for me – a wine I would pay the £35 for…

Thanks so much Kim for the Tasting and Ralph for the tip to source the wines…

À Bientôt


On Friday 27th April 2018 we were generously entertained for a Sock Party at Ralph and Jill’s home. A wonderful evening with a dazzling supply of great food and wine…

Here are my notes:

JASNIÈRES “L’ECLOS” 2015 (Les Maisons Rouge)         Laurie
Jasnières is an enclave in the general Coteaux du Loir area, about 30 miles North of Vouvray. Pure Chenin, the wine showed some citrus and later peach and apple fruit on the nose. The palate has a hint of honey, and a fresh fruit peak in the centre but a long, strong but warm acidity and a mineral finish. Very clean, refreshing and precise and balanced between searing acidity and richness. Made by biodynamic viticulture on clay, sand and flint topsoil above the tuffeau base in West Jasnières.

This Romorantin wine from the Solonge has a slightly powdery nose with a warm note and a citrus peel prickle. Palate has a fruit start and then a kick-in of acidity, a slightly malic tinge and a ginger hints spicy element. Rounder and a little fuzzier than the previous wine, it’s Loire (50 mile away!) nieghbour.

PECORINO ABRUZZO “BIANCHI GRILLI” (Torre Dei Beati) 2014         Ralph   
Dark colour, nose is quite closed with a slightly spicy, woody, aged quality. Later some balsamic sweet sour elements emerge. Palate smooth, opening to show some rich woody flavours and a clear acidity with some mineral accents. Aged on lees in barrique for 9 months, deliberately to by-pass the vibrant-youth stage and go straight to the evolved complexity. Needs quite a lot of time in the glass still, despite decanting…

MEURSAULT 2013 (Caves de l’Orangerie)           Kathryn
Caves de l’Orangerie is the label of Château de Savigny-lès-Beaune’s own vineyards. This Mersault is almost text-book: slightly oily nose with hints of tropical fruit. Buttery palate with oak notes and a richness based on a hazelnut-oil kick – underpinned by a mineral, citrus backbone. Very satisfying and at good maturity now.

This is strawberry fruit straight on the nose with fresh-herb acidity and a hint of pinot character. The palate echoes the pinot line – lovely base acidity with lip smacking red-berry fruit. Well balance, fresh cool and under 12% alcohol. Would be lovely with spicy food!

This comes from 2 ha of vines on ancient Roman terraces on the steep banks of the Rio Sil. Merenzao is the local name for Trousseau, found in the Jura. This has a light colour. Nose is slightly herby with a pinot-ish soft red fruit and vegetal touch. Palate is more raspberry sweetness with a herby twist and a clean acidity. Easier to guess the location than the grape I think…

This is dark and dense with a fruity – damson and fresh plums with an undergrowth hint. Slight graininess is appearing on the palate, which will soon be chocolate hints… structured, long with palate echoing the nose with darker fruit and warm hints appearing. Long and supple, this has opened a lot since I last tried it –  but, IMO, it will keep improving for a year or two and last another 6. It’s 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc.

MUDGEE CHAMBOURCIN 2012 (Savannah Estate, Aus.)      Rob
This had a slightly gummy, minty (tell-tale Australian!?) nose with some plum fruit. The palate has the same sweet fruit, some oak and an earthy hint… but a tannic line that somehow is both rich and hard. Not quite together…  yet?

“ES LO QUE HAY” GARNACHA 2013               Yuan
An old-vines high-altitude Garnacha from Aragon, NE Spain. The name is a Spanish expression meaning something like “that’s how it goes” – the International translation of a shrug! The wine is pretty big – closed nose at first with dark berry fruit emerging and hints of herbs and some perfume. Palate is fruity with a mineral line and prune, tannin and some suppleness. The altitude airs and lifts the potential Granacha thickness…

BAROLO “CERRETA DI PERNO” 2007 (Sordo)     Kim
This Castiglione Barolo has a nose of soft fruit and a fragrant perfume – possibly even the renowned rose, later hints of cherry appear. Palate has a higher-than-expected acidity with lower-than-expected tannins and tar, although they are present. Rather lip-snacking long and non-fruit flavours. Maybe still a year or two young but getting there!

20 YEAR OLD TAWNY PORT (OHSOMM)       Farewell Wine
Ohsomm is a trading name of the parent company that own Offley’s and Sandeman. This Tawny has a big fruit-and-nut complex nose. Palate has some sweetness but in balance with a long line of fruit acidity. Lovely!

Thanks to Ralph and, especially, to Jill for providing such wonderful food, great company and hospitality.
Thanks too to Yuan for the wine photographs.

À Bientôt

On Friday 23rd March the WING Sock Club company visited Yuan for her first hosting of the event. An enjoyable evening with many interesting wines.

Here are my notes:

JACQUES BRUÉRE CAP CLASSIQUE BRUT RESERVE 2008 (Robertson, S.A.)          Welcome Wine
This wine is 60% Pinot Noir, with 40% Chardonnay – with 10% of the Chardonnay barrel fermented. It has a pungent fruit nose, with some nutty and bready notes. The palate has nut-oil creaminess, grapefruit acidity and and a sherbet mousse – then darker fruit (Pinot?)… A quite complex and mouthwatering package, a good New World champagne copy!

A bush-vine version of this S. Rhone grape. Nose is recessed with hints of quite dark soft fruit emerging and a nutty element. The palate has some spicy bitterness and a slightly sherry-ish drying salinity. The wine seems to balance more with time, into quite a warm resolution. Maybe (2 or 3 years?) too young?

SOAVE CLASSICO “MOROGNE” (Zeni)  2013          Kim   
The “Morogne” label is a step up from their basic Soave Classico, using hand selected bunches from the hillier sites in the Classico. Garganega (95%) & Trebbiano (5%) is aged in barriques. Nose is quiet at first but opens to show some herby and nutty elements along with a caramelised pear hint. Palate is rich and creamy with stony fruit hints and a long pear fruit finish. A lovely Soave at the rich end of the spectrum….  If Pieropan Calvarino (see post of 22 Oct 2017) is the “Chablis” of the Soave world – this is more the “Mersault”. Very good, my favourite!

QUETZAL MALBEC 2015 (Tijuana, Mexico)           Mike
This is leavened with 10% Petit Verdot, giving it a lighter style showing a Germolene note at first then plum fruit. The palate is warm with spice and some sweet plum fruit, a dryish grainy tannin and a prune finish. Not a monster Malbec, but a little soft.

CAIRANNE ANTIQUE 2001         Laurie
This is 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah, from when Cairanne had only Côtes du Rhône Villages status (it’s a Cru since 2016), and this wine justifies the upgrade. Dark but shiny with a slightly brown aged rim, the nose is all black fruit with a slight vanilla / cardamom tinge and a floral (Mourvedre?) element later. The palate is powerful but supple and still fresh with a black fruit acidity and evolved non-fruit hints. Very satisfying with some complexity.

“AYNI” MALBEC 2014 (Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza)            Yuan
Bigger than the previous Malbec with lots of black fruit on the nose and a baking spice aromatic notes. This uses oak and enables the depth of fruit to be complimented by a slightly drying structure with a soft citric acidity which adds freshness and elegance. For me, a more refreshing package, with more going on, than the first Malbec; and a top drawer example… 

JUMILLA MONASTRELL 2014 (Juan Gil)     John
This is very dark with a rich prune, slightly port nose. Palate has slightly bitter young tannins with very long pastille plum fruit and a warm spice and alcohol lift. Plenty here but perhaps a little fragmented as yet, needs another year?

Similar depth of colour and pungency to the previous wine but more sweet, and redder, fruit, and a cherry and aromatic “fruit cake” hint. Palate has plum fruit with a slightly woody or herby lift, rich and quite soft. A text book Ripasso hinting at the depths of an Amarone at a much lighter level…

Thanks to everyone for a lovely evening, and especially to Yuan for extending generous hospitality from such a raucous bunch….

À Bientôt

The WING group met for a Sock Party at Yvonne’s on Friday 23rd February 2018. A small but select group with a small but select raft of wines…

Here are my notes:

Nutty and bitter citrus-pith nose with a pungent Chardonnay overlay. Palate echoes the pithy grapefruit in its acidity, to support richness, a soft frothy mousse and a warm more Pinot Noir finish.

TERRAVIN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011 (Marlborough)           Yuan
Pungent, tropical fruit, red currant and a slightly smoky nutty nose. Palate has a warm, slightly smoky, more obvious Sauvignon acidity with a lip smacking, slightly cut-off finish. Green-ness is absent in most respects, and the wine is more Fumé style than NZ. Interesting, due to its age?

GUERILA PINELA 2015 (Vipava Valley, Slovenia)          Ann
This is a new one on me. There are only 50 ha of this grape in Slovenia (and about 70 of what may-or-may-not be the same grape in Friuli). A rather Grüner Veltliner nose: Grapefruit and herbs… Palate has a warm salty, chalky feel with a herby tang and a richer creamy finish. Very unusual – the nose suggest a cooler acidity wine than the palate delivers.

LA PURCELLE DE ROMORANTIN 2015 (Marionnet)          Laurie
From direct cuttings from a vineyard planted in the first half of the 19th Century, from an interesting Domaine in the Solonge [see post of 20 September 2016]. Nose is very restrained with a lightly floral aroma. On the palate, it has a drying, slightly chalky strong citric acidity with soft fruit richness and a hint of passion-fruit, and a mineral edge. This puts the wine in balance and it becomes more interesting with time in the glass. I like this a lot and it probably will improve for another couple of years

Recessed nose with some floral and citrus notes and later (when warmer) an orchard fruit hint. Palate shows a honeyed warmth with peach fruit and a warm lasting acidity. A classy SA Chenin.

HUNKY DORY “THE TANGLE” 2016 (Marlborough)          Kathryn
An “Alsacien” blend of Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, with about 10% Riesling. Hints of peach, and a grape – Muscat-ish – note, some soda, followed by floral notes. The palate is not bone dry and has warmth, some smokey hints with peach, and more tropical fruit notes. The Gewurz. Seems a little less obvious than previous vintages of this, but still quite a big NZ take on Alsace field blends…

CÔTE RÔTIE 2011 (Burgaud)          John
A dark broody nose, with dark fruit and a fresh note with some woody herbs. The palate is noticeably creamy without too obvious oak, a big mulberry fruit, a slightly green herb element and a tannic backbone. Well balanced (for a Syrah!?) now and very food-friendly, I imagine it might improve for a year or two but very, very good.

AMNESIA 2013 (Alentejo)          Kim
This is Aragonez, Cabernet and Syrah and shows a pungent, oily nose with a sweet note. Palate is rich with a slightly dried fruit quality – long with an earthy finish.

PENFOLDS BIN 28 KALIMNA SHIRAZ 2014 (not pictured)          Rob
For many years the “reference” Aussie Shiraz, this is a little less in-your-face than many, maybe due to age? It’s still very big though with smoky, spicy blackberry fruit. Tannic, peppery and a slightly chocolate grainy-ness, and – as always – that rather drying saltiness of Barossa Shiraz.

Thanks to everyone for a lovely evening, and to Yvonne for the hospitality.

À Bientôt


Kim hosted the Festive end-of-year Sock Club gathering on Friday 29th December. A very lively and enjoyable evening marked by some rather nice wines…

Here are my (decreasingly coherent??) notes:

This has a toasty nose with rather nuts & seeds, slightly oily, notes. Palate is citric, with a frothy mousse and a grapefruit tinged finish. It comes from Haro in Rioja rather than the usual Catalonia, and features Viura and Malvesia grapes…

CHABLIS GRAND CRU LES PREUSES 2011 (La Chablisienne)     Laurie   
First nose is caramel with a slight coconut oil tinge and then mounting citrus takes over. The palate shows similar elements – butter caramel shot through with a warm citric acidity. Long and quite rich but with mounting mineral texture shaping the finish. A wine with many of the elements of very good GC Chablis not quite integrated – maybe another 3 years?

A surprising smoke, cinder tinged nose, then some creaminess and only later some honey and apple. The palate is cleaner with apple and honeyed fruit again and a warm but rather sharp acidity, a combination that is typical of this appellation. A food wine of great attraction…

MERSAULT “L’ORMEAU” 2011 (Coche-Bizouard)           John
Vanilla, caramel and a nutty line, with citrus wafting through the nose- complex and lovely! The palate shows a full bodied Burgundy but with a surprisingly steely citric line – long and warming. A well-structured Mersault that has great complexity and supporting acidity. Seemingly nearer peak than the Chablis!

ALBORIÑO RESERVE 2016 (Garzon – Uruguay)            Sue T
The nose shows immediate greengage fruit, and a strong lemon note. Sharp acidity with plump fruit and a slightly oily texture lifted by citrus acidity.

ALTO-ADIGE GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2016            Rachel
Nose of grapes, roses and tropical fruit. Palate has a ginger spice note, and a warm hint of bitterness to lift the slightly oily texture. A text-book Gewürz!

NETTIE VIOGNIER (McManis – Central Valley, California) 2016            Yvonne 
Pungent nose, with peach hints and some vegetal hints. The palate follows the nose, with a warm but long acid line that lift the slightly rich peachy fruit. A typically Californian take on this grape, which, IMO, needs a spiced dish to set it off….

A prune nose, with spicy wood notes. The palate has light tannins and sweet black fruit and a liquorice twist. The Quattro Uve in question are Montepulciano, Primitivo, Sangeoves & Negromaro. Made in Abruzzo but with some Puglian grapes. Succulent!

PINARD “CLASSIQUE” – IGP Comté-Tolosan 2014                 Ann
A black fruit nose, converging onto blackberry. The palate has sweet black fruit too, focusing more at the finish. This is a near-Gaillac – made from Duras, Braucol (Fer Servadou), Syrah & Merlot.

CHATEAU GRAND TAYAC (Margaux) 2005            Paul   
Clear old-claret nose (perfume, forest-floor…) with a slight cardamom hint. Palate has a tannic backbone with a sweet fruit and an evolved complexity of non-fruit flavours. This isn’t a monster but balanced and showing some elegance…

RIOJA GRAN RESERVA 2009 (Marqués de Cáceres)          Rob
Oaky nose, with red fruit and a hint of spice. Palate has some spice too but soft red fruit and a woody hint. This is warm, voluptuous and long with the structural elements slightly peripheral… maybe 3 years more would improve this impressive wine?

ORAMA CABERNET/MERLOT (Dionysos – Peloponnese) 2013     Sue Mc
Damson fruit, a soda-ish tone, bay leaf notes and a higher-perfumed zephyr. Palate is sweet black fruit, but a herby line emerges and a sharp finish.

This 100% late harvest Viura, from very (very) old vines, shows quince and a spicy note. The palate has supple soft fruit acidity but with a lingering sweetness entwining it, rather than being at the fore. Lovely long flavours which cope well with mince pies….  I wonder what this wine would be in 10 years?

Thanks to everyone for such a convivial evening, and to Kim for her hospitality and food… I think I enjoyed this Sock gathering rather too much. But the run of 2011 whites at the start was a lovely set of wines to delight the most exacting oenophile!   Happy New Year!


As this is the end of the Festive season, I thought I’d just give you a glimpse of the vinous components of Xmas Chez Corkmaster:

“Bookend” halves – Wine Society, £11 ish
Full bottles, all from grower – from left: £9; £11; £15; £13; £19; £15; £15.

This wines all did their job really well with the food. The halves (Hugel Riesling and Pieropan Soave) to wash down light lunches. The Morgan and Gewürztraminer served with Turkey (curried for the latter). The La Fagotière Châteauneuf Blanc (2012) was gratifyingly, and surprisingly, balanced and great with Paté and the Givry 2009 (Ragot) just perfection. The La Fagotière Châteauneuf Rouge (2010) was wonderful with a cider glazed ham, but tasted alone seemed a little young, maybe 2 or 3 years. The same could be said of the St. Emilion GC 2010, Château Cardinal Villemaurine, but it was perfect with roast goose served with a gooseberry stuffing and sprouts flash fried with lardons and chestnuts.  I know some readers may have these wines so I thought I would share….

Coming soon, a post on matching wines and Indian cuisine…

À Bientôt

Kathryn and Matt (with a special guest appearance by Áine) hosted a lovely Sock Club gathering on Friday 24th November. A very enjoyable evening ensured by our hosts’ hard work, the good company and – of course – the quality of wines…

Here are my notes:

CLASSIC BRUT LIMOUX (Denois)      Welcome Wine
Nose is citrus, a slight herby element and crisp – very Champenois, but missing a tell-tale bready tinge. The palate confirms a mainly Chardonnay feel, a sherbet mousse, clean acidity and hints of warmth, long with a pithy saline finish… a good aperitif bubbly.

Rather a neutral palate with a vaguely peachy hint. The palate is initial sweet with a warm tinge, the middle washes out before a later opening out with a citrus counterbalance. Rather disappointing…

CHABLIS 2007 (Billaud-Simon)          Paul
Lovely typical citrus nose with a floral tinge… complexity without easily identified elements, showing the integration of age…Palate has the warmth and richness of a good 1er Cru, but is a basic wine (from a very high rank grower – the current vintage is well over £20) – a slatey citrus backbone with a soft fruit undertow. Long succulent and at peak readiness… Lovely!

LYME BAY “SHORELINE”  2015         Sue T
Mandarin, honey and elderflower on the nose, rather pungent. Palate has gooseberry and stone fruit and a chalky texture. The flavours a big, but there is enough acidity to support them. Although the flavours differ somewhat the overall balance has a Sauvignon Blanc nature, and some character. An English wine made from a blend of Bacchus, Pinot Blanc, Seyval Blanc & Reichensteiner sourced and vinified separately.

CONDRIEU (Pichon) 2014            Ann
A nutty warm nose with hints of stone fruit spirit. Palate is warm with a rather grappa bitterness at first, soft fruit then appears and then a long spicy finish. Much more pungent and bigger than the 2013 which we tasted six months ago (see post of April 5th 2017). Time integrates the flavours and makes a rather impressive wine, but not a typical Condrieu – maybe there isn’t such a  thing?!

DRY TOKAJI (Royal Tokaji) 2015            Yvonne
Fresh slightly floral nose, with a slightly bitter spirit note emerging… Palate is full bodied with a warm acidity and yellow fruit flavours with a later smokey hint developing. Worked wonderfully with the smoked salmon canapés…

CHEVERNY (Tessier) 2009     Laurie
This is pale, with a fragrance of red and black berry fruit, and a slightly woody tinge. Palate has the berry fruit, with a soft tannic frame and the slightly mineral finish of  a minor Burgundy but with a little herby twist. This has aged from a tough start to be just right now, pliant and characterful. A barrique aged wine from old vine Pinot (75%) Gamay (20%) and Cabernet Franc.

LUSCA IRISH WINE 2014                 John
OK – who knew? Irish wine (FFS): an un-guessable Sock Party Wine. After closing dropped jaw it’s worth noting the cherry and plum spirit nose, very high tarry tannin levels with spice and mouthwatering acidity. This is made in tiny quantities (500 bottles) by Llewellyn’s Orchard in the village of Lusk, 12 miles North of Dublin. The grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Dunkelfelder, and Rondo.

BRENNAN TEMPRANILLO (Central Otago) 2015            Brenda 
Red fruit: raspberry and strawberry; with a savoury, slightly herby tint. Palate has a supple acid mineral and soft tannic line supporting bright fruit, the oak recessed under the other flavours – a lovely fresh Tempranillo.

SALICE ROSSO 2014 (Albrizzi)          Mike T
Nose has red fruit, slightly plummy, with sweet oak and a mocha note. Sweet fruit first on the palate, then a supple acidity with hints of rhubarb and blackcurrant, a grippy finish showing some Cabernet character within a big (Zin-ish) Primitivo package…

Pungent nose – quite Burgundian with sweet fruit bubbling up in this Porongurup (WA) wine. A warm cherry fruit and spice palate with a turn of structure, acidity a little light…

DOMAIN ROAD PINOT NOIR (Central Otago) 2012     Helen
Slightly sweet nose with hints of vanilla and toast. Red fruit with a clean fruit acidity with a herby – almost Vermouth – twist towards the end of the prolonged finish. Balanced and quite typical Otago pinot, good!

INFINITUS RIO NEGRO MERLOT (Fabre Montmayou) 1999     Anna 
Plum nose with a sharper fruit (Mulberry?) spirit note. Palate has some wood and evolved but firm tannins supporting surprisingly firm red fruit, herb elements present too, all reflecting the cool Patagonian origin.

Thanks to everyone for such a convivial evening, and our hosts for their hospitality.

À Bientôt


Sue Mc hosted a Sock Club gathering, just before Halloween on 27th October. A lovely evening marked by the re-appearance of some friends lately out-of-the-loop, and some lovely wines – especially an unexpected good value Argentinian and a star Mourvedre!

Here are my notes:

Quite a fruity nose, with a light apple hint – Soft mousse, some saline minerality and a sweet soft fruit in a clean light package.

COLLE DEI TIGLI BIANCO DEL VENETO 2013 (Lenotti)         Laurie  
This comes from Lake Garda and is 50:50 Gargenega and Cortese. The wine is pale and has a Soave nose (we had tried a flight of Italian wine only 8 days earlier) with hints of peach. The palate is fresh with a warm limey acidity and light, clean pear and peach hints. A Soave/Gavi cross-over that is nearer the former (and only about two-thirds [?] of the quality of those wines tasted 8 days ago – but only two-thirds the price!)

A darker colour, and aromatic apple, slightly sherry nose, a little oxidative but also showing caramel and yeasty Chardonnay notes. Palate follows the nose closely with a spicy hint and a fine line of citric sharpness and a creamy note. A sort of half Vin Jaune, maybe a Vin jaune pâle. A Lidl wine of food-friendly interest and value!

TRE FIORI GRECO DI TUFO  2016       Yvonne
Nose has pear, citrus and a slightly soapy note. Palate has a dashing, lemon and lemon peel, acidity with balancing soft fruit within, a warm food friendly finish. Rather rounder and heavier than the example 8 days ago.

DON TOMAS ARGENTINIAN MALBEC 2015             Rachel
The nose has some pungency, lots of berry fruit and a slight, unobtrusive, hint of vanilla. Palate has loganberry fruit, some grainy but succulent tannins and a pliant fruit acid – with mandarin hints – lift that makes it seem lighter. The acidity twists the finish and makes for a food friendly package.

Very occasionally I come across this lighter, fruity but lip smacking type of Malbec, (Flichman make another example) whose pliancy would go with a big curry. This is made by Bodega Callia in the Pedernal Valley, a high part of the San Juan region, north of the ubiquitous Mendoza. The area benefits from a cool, continental climate and year-round sun, resulting typically in thicker grape skins, concentration of flavours and natural acidity. Only its remoteness has kept it from the sort of attention that the Uco Valley is receiving. From that remote area it’s somehow found its way to Aldi, where it’s a real bargain…

LA SALETTE  CÔTES DE GASCOGNE (Duffoir) 2015     Ann
This is pale, with a “light” fragrence of strwaberry and baking spice. Palate is also light with rhubarb notes, pliant tannins and a supple refreshing finish. Very enjoyable and another food-friendly offering. In fact it’s a sort of Gascony Claret – being mostly Cab. Sauv. and Merlot, with a more southerly touch of Tannat and Cab. Franc mixed in.

“THE WAXED BAT” 2015                  Johnny 
This wines has a fragrance of spice, minty herbs and black fruit, and is in fact a Shiraz, Cabernet, Malbec blend from Mendoza, Argentina. The palate is big “meaty”, with a tannic frame and a warm (alcohol and spice) finish. Two Argentinian styles could not be much further apart than this and the Pedernal Valley example!

“REX MUNDI” IGT PAYS D’OC 2016             Sue Mc 
Sweetness on the nose and then black fruit elements on this Grenache, Shiraz (sic) blend. The sweetness carries onto the palate giving it a thick, soft character without enough relieving acidity. A velvety, almost liqueur quality – to be consumed in liqueur quantities?

TIKVES 2013 (Macedonia)      Mike
This is a Vranec / Merlot blend showing black berry fruit and a slightly smoky hint on the nose. Vranec means “dark horse”, apparently. The palate has a herby character, slightly laurel leaf, some dark fruit in the centre and a bitter hint at the finish. As my note implies a little sequential rather than interwoven…

Pungent nose, with a lot of herby elements and slight baked, earthy hints. Palate is big too with some plum fruit and a hint of hot alcohol and then the earthy elements build up, past balance into dominance.

MOTUS 2010 (Treloar)        Kim
Floral note – violets? – some tar or liquorice, dark blackberry fruit, spicy notes – a nose to savour and postpone drinking of the mainly-Mourvedre. The palate is as deep with savoury elements, lots of dark fruit and a herby twist. Just lovely and about the perfect maturity. On quality alone the outstanding wine of the night!

Thanks to everyone for such a convivial evening, and our hosts for their hospitality.

À Bientôt

%d bloggers like this: