Midweek drinking thread [19 to 21 April 2022]

Chaptalisation as far as I’m aware is carried out all across France - hence the use of a lovely, professional-sounding word rather than ‘bung a load of sugar in to rescue the vintage’ - and I’m aware that the practice has at some times in the recentish past been used in Jurançon. But I’m certain it’s widespread, if not ( for obvious reasons) much publicised.

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I should underline that it might just be my sense of taste being suspect, because other posters have been mighty favourable regarding the Rabbit Hole.

Deviating slightly… back in the mists of time (1985) I worked the vendange in Regnie. There were a few industrial sized sacks of sugar stacked neatly in the courtyard.


Was an Etna red here last night also

2015 Cottanera Etna Contrada Diciassettesalme

Via Waitrose I believe.

Got better and better as it opened up. Maybe I should have decanted?
Oh well, freshly turned soil, hedgerow fruit, beautiful balance between ripeness, soft integrated tannins, acidity. No obvious oak (think is aged in larger format, older oak)
Last glass the best.
Tempted to get a bottle of the one you had as well Inbar.


A special treat and adventure wine for this evening - a 1997 Markovitis Xin; filtered, decanted and ready to go. More brick red than the photo and very very tannic on first tastes, but then what does one expect. Signs of fruit, pine and all sorts of goodies beyond that though, and first impressions are, I have to say, very good. I was a bit worried what might come out of the bottle, I must confess.

To go with the hairy Bikers lamb & fennel recipe various folk have suggested on here. Also very good on first impressions, though I need to go and caramelise the fennel now and add it to the mix.

The Mont Blanc shadow in the bottle is hard sediment; the bottom of the bottle was like the bottom of a brickie’s tool box :~}


Love this wine! I’ve had two bottles - one was very good, the other was very very very good!

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We had a lovely long lunch at the Double Red Duke, located round the corner from our rented place, and highly recommended it is too! Cue a more modest dinner of lemon and thyme pasta bake. To accompany, this Loire Sauvignon Blanc:

Coteaux du Giennois, Domaine de Villargeau, 2020

A delicious example of a Coteaux du Ginneois; not particularly complex, but a well made and a refreshing wine nonetheless.

A typical Loire Sauvignon nose, with delicate notes of freshly cut grass, lime, a whiff of flint and pea shoots. The fresh palate has lovely zingy notes of lemon/lime (even lemongrass) as well as chamomile and a delicate smoky flintiness in the background.

Nice mouthfeel, with perhaps a lees-y ‘chewiness’ - it’s a refreshing wine, perfect for a sunny day. Will definitely purchase the new vintage if it comes on the list :ok_hand:

Happy Thursday, all! :slightly_smiling_face: :clinking_glasses:



I don’t think I’ve ever bought an Auxerrois before, unless it’s been masquerading as a Pinot Blanc and I didn’t realise. This one drew an unsolicited compliment from Mrs C. Full, rich, the WS notes cover it well.


Oh, that’s good to know! I have a couple in the basket - so I’ll definitely ensure they’re coming in my next order.

If you enjoyed this one, I can highly recommend this one from Domaine Paul Blanck (from Waitrose Cellar):

It was a bit of a revelation for us! :ok_hand:


Well … yum yum yum and then some.

Such an interesting wine, more medium-bodied & dense than I was expecting, quite a dark colour for a Xin, more going on on the palate than on the nose [the right way round for me], and just with so much going on, each sip revealing new & different facets, with different aspects standing out at different times. Black fruit, slightly burnt blue fruit, pomegranate, even occasional glimpses of sweet[ish] red fruit, even x 2 something quite floral at times; good sticky slightly furry tannins & thick grip; all against a backdrop of some coal, fresh pine, dark rock, green mossy dark tree bark, dark toffee, burnt toast. What - a - wine!

And to my shock & great delight, even wife enjoyed it; she rarely enjoys tannic wines at all. As she said, it matched the food perfectly and really shone with it - so thank you to the various recommendations on here for that recipe.

I remember this kind of earthy & involving wine enjoyment from when I was living in Athens back in the early 90s and enjoying wine with no clue as to grapes / decanting etc. I was very fortunate to live close to a taverna [near Plateia Victoria in Kato Patissia area for any aficionados of downtown Athens] where the owners - 3 brothers with big hearts, big smiles & big tummies - really took me under their wing and spoiled me rotten with decent food & wine for relative peanuts really. It was my go-to place, and heaven knows how often I found myself eating dinner there, solo or with Athens friends / visiting friends / visiting family. Very very happy days :~}

Equally very happy that I have a case of the 2015s in reserves as part of my slowly growing collection of 2015 wines for our boy’s birth-year; though on this evidence that case is going to be sat there a very long time indeed.


Had a Loewen Kabinett recently, also liquid electricity, a real standout producer!


After trying one Loewen riesling I have sought out more and they have all been exceptional. I haven’t tried the kabinett, but I’ve had three of the dry wines, and an auslese, and electricity is a great way to describe the common characteristic. There’s great minerality as well (but that makes it sound technical and boring), so electricity works better!

I’ve put a couple of cases of the 2020 dry wines sourced from elsewhere into cellarage, and also found a 2018 beerenauslese that I’m looking forward to in years to come. But I would love to get these through TWS.

@owmarcel any chance of seeing Loewen wines on the Society’s list?


Love to see them at the W/S, I’ve picked up the odd bottle from DBM in Bristol

2016 Gigondas Domaine Raspail-Ay. Decanted for about an hour. Super impressive wine. No sign of age on the rim, rich dark fruits, some acidity, mild tannins. Lovely, very good and approachable now


Yes, I thought it an excellent Gigondas too.

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Monday I’d soaked beans over night. I took the hydrated cannellini and butter beans boiled the for 15 minutes, then drained them, put them back in the pan with fresh water and heated them with thinly sliced onions, finely chopped carrots and celery, the contents of a couple of cans of tomatoes, water and lots of EVOO and cooked them all day in the oven, till the liquid had mostly gone, the onions had dissolved and the vegetables had transformed into a pale orange coating around the beans. The beans had a creamy texture and we devoured them with homemade seeded bread and a mixed salad.

This is an approximation of dishes we’d had many years ago on a Greek island and called for

N.V. Greek Wine Cellars (D. Kourtakis) Retsina of Attica (Greece, Attica)

Tuesday Mrs M had her usual on-line bridge session which starts early so we had an early dinner of puttenesca sauce and penne with a mixed salad and no-brainer™

2020 Casa Vinicola Roxan The Wine Society’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (Italy, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)

Wednesday I stir-fried what Waitrose call diced chicken, tho’ I’d like to see them play craps with dice the size of those huge chunks of meat, cut them into bite sized pieces then flambeed them in brandy, added onions, chopped toms and beans left from Monday then added my secret mix of spices and flavourings. I served this with steamed veg and new pots and

2016 Château Bouissel Fronton Le Beau Vin (France, Fronton)

I’d bought this after reading good things about it on this very board, and they were right. Cheers all!! It’s a very drinkable blend of Negrette, Syrah, Malbec & Cabernet.

Thursday There was an untouched cauliflower in the fridge, so I changed dinner plans, and roasted cauliflower steaks, served with tarka daal and a supermarket vegetable masala. With it we had

2020 Benjamin Darnault Minervois (France, Minervois)
This was a very enjoyable GSM blend, the last of a trial 6 from Naked Wines. The two of them made by Benjamin Darnault were the only ones I’d want to buy again.

(Retsina from Sainsburys, Montepulciano and Château Bouissel from TWS, Benjamin Darnault from Naked Wines)


I’ve just opened my first of 2 bottles of the sandhi pinot noir and pleased to report that my bottle has no obvious faults, other than the dreadful (faux-wax?) seal over the cork. First impressions are really very good. Lighter in colour than I was expecting, with obvious signs of aging in both the appearance and the smell (can’t bring myself to say aroma!). It reminds me more of Burgundy than other Californian pinots that I’ve had, but this one is relatively older. It’s certainly not exuberantly fruity or sweet, but beautifully balanced and doesn’t feel overly extracted at all. If it were cheaper I’d be in for more.


A post was merged into an existing topic: Weekend drinking thread [22-24 April 2022]

Also on the same wine tonight. I’d agree, and also add that it is a smashing wine.

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My second and third impressions fulsomely agree.

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One of my favourites here, lovely old-school wine from 80-100 year old Castelão, a bit like Carignan in that it seems to need to be old to make special wine.

I like the Pietradolce a lot. Definitely one of the best Etna Rossos around. Hot vintages are definitely becoming a problem in Sicily though.

Pity I missed out on the Albania :frowning:

English Pinot Noir… Just say no. The proverbial sow’s ear. Maybe with another 20 years of global heating?