The second get together of the SW London wine appreciation group yesterday. Again hosted by Massimo of Artisans of Sardinia. He has also put together a menu to match our (and his) wines.
Now to the small matter of the wines (gushing review alert).
White Hermitage epiphany
It was one of those rare moments when long silence and big smiles follow the first sips and maybe one or two tears are also shed. Unfortunately it had to be the 2001 Chave and 2006 Sorrel Les Rocoules Hermitage Blancs eliciting this reaction, unfortunate mainly because of the price tag and unavailability of these wines. Both recent TWS purchases. The aroma of ripe apricots immediately filled the room on opening the bottles. Both singing in my opinion. The Rocoules was bold and big on the nose, the flavours stood up to the 15.5% alcohol, rendering it unnoticeable. The Chave was more restrained on the nose, but delicious on the palate, also a modest 13% alcohol. We also had the two amazing fish courses in the process, but completely overshadowed by the wines. Also the rare sight of @MikeFranklin enjoying a white wine…
Truffles and more
When the risotto was served, the fresh apricot aromas gave way to earthy truffles, also filling the room. We had the 2017 Carema from the Cantina Produttori Nebbiolo Di Carema opened for this, Nebbiolo from the very North of Piedmont. So very young, but so very good with the risotto. Acid and tannins aplenty with lingering red fruit in the background. We then moved on to the 2004 Cote Rotie Cote Blonde from Rostaing. Nice and smooth, drinking well now. A pleasure to have it. With the venison filled pasta (I think).
Aberdeen Angus slow cooked for four hours in Cannonau
Cannonau is Sardinian for Grenache. The beef was pretty exquisite. With this we opened the 2012 Segla, which was very satisfying. Soft and elegant, as a Margaux should be (allegedly). We were also recommended a red from the wine list to go with the main. The 2018 Montessu from Agricola Punica.
One of my favourite red wines on the list, a small baby super Tuscan style wine made with a special blend of native and international grapes, Carignan 60%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%, Cabernet Franc 10%, Merlot 10% and Syrah 10%. An intense ruby red , complex fruity, spicy, with hints of coffee and liquorice. On the palate is elegant and well structured, velvety, taste of red ripe fruit notes and spices. The wine is aged for 15 months in oak barrels giving an extra balance and body. (Massimo’s assessment of the 2017)
The Carignan is grown in Sardinia, the rest is grown and shipped over by the people of Sasiccaia. All vinified in Sardinia. Basically a blend of Carignan and Super Tuscan. It was nice but a bit stalky at first (a positive for some), but opened up to be very enjoyable with a little time.
By this time the restaurant upstairs became quieter (maybe shut?) and Massimo had more time for us. He is very knowledgeable and passionate about wine and went on to open another bottle for us. The 2018 Padres from Gianluigi Deaddis was so sweet fruited, a good bridge between main and desert. Made from 100% Bovale Sardo, a grape new to most of us, but one I will be very happy to have in the future.
The pastry filled with cheese and coated with honey was very nice and I found the level of sweetness perfect. The 2001 Argyros VinSanto was just about perfect, too. Another revelation on the night. It did a bit of disservice to the 2006 Gaia, being opened second. Tasted a bit rustic after the Argyros, but with air it became much better. The night nicely framed with 2001 and 2006 whites and 2001 and 2006 sweeties.