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Midweek Drinking Thread 19th - 23rd July


It was quite late when Deb came home and said wine please. The Bethel Heights Estate Chardonnay 2018 was far too good for a Tuesday evening with restrained oak, mineral edged fruit. Perhaps Bourgogne?

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Combination of last weekend’s drinks and this week…

Had most of this after hard day’s umpiring on Sat with a very large steak.

It has really evolved since last bottle about 6 months ago, less taut and ‘sinewy’…really rounded and full mainly red fruit. Served just above cellar cool but warmed in glass, glad I was eating at nearly 9pm though…so quaffable I just drank most of it. Less heavy than the Delas CH 2016 which I had recently, which was a good wine itself.

On Sunday, with grilled sole and home grown new potatoes, carrots and mangetout we shared a bottle of this recently bought wine.

I’ve described it on here before, and it remains delicious…beautiful texture, crisp on the palate, white flowers on the nose and stone fruits just lovely and GV for the quality I think. Mrs C finished the bottle which is a good sign (I think) and announced that we needed more of this so I have duly obliged and a half case is on the way.

Somewhere between last Wed and now we also had a bottle of this cheap and very cheerful rose.

It’s not complicated but ideal for sweltering evenings and will accompany a lot of things. I had it with barbequed squid with courgettes…we both had it with a tandoori chicken, rice and pomegranate salad. Hit the spot.

Also finished off the remainder of a previously Coravined bottle of this, which I was a bit underwhelmed by first time (see previous note)…spritzy oxidised cider was the opening remark…it did get better…

Quite a revelation on tasting the remainder, complex, textured, thought provoking…minerality, but no volcanoes…food friendly, excellent at room temperature too…would probably try it again now. If you get it, decant it for a while unless you like oxidised cider with undertones of silage…or better still, have a sip straight after opening, leave it for an hour or so then try it again at cellar temperature or just below and let it warm up a bit.

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Last night was a pretty special drinking occasion as we pulled out all the stops for a North London members’ get-together at Crouch End Cellars. Full details over on the North London group thread but here’s the lineup:

It was a great evening and I must thank everybody who came for their amazingly generous contributions, good conversation and enthusiasm (and prompt payment of the bill :wink:)

Jim

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On holiday in Wales though the weather is more like the south of France! A few nice things to drink so far this week - a Laurent Miquel rosé from Waitrose was well worth its £9 and the Exhibition Langhe Nebbiolo was its usual, undermanning but delicious self with pizzas. The last of my bin 008 seemed to have passed its peak and not too disappointed to have polished these off.
Tonight is this:
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Via Caritatis ‘Vox in Deserto’ Ventoux Blanc 2019. A blend of Rousanne, Clairette, Vermentino and Grenache Blanc. Very pale, apple white colour. Subtle nose of pear, honeysuckle and fennel. Palate is dry with a lovely textured, mouthfilling nuttiness but also some structure and lemony zip, from the Clairette I suppose. Perfect for the weather

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Certainly looks like it!

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Sainsbury’s taste the difference Cremant de Loire in the garden with pizza.

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A bargain when on double discount for about £7 a bottle

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I’m now feeling slightly less guilty after seeing @Jimmybob’s fabulous line up, wow !

The weather here has dictated something light and refreshing, yet substantial, yesterday and today. I couldn’t have hoped for anything better than a brace from Donnhoff to meet the criteria…

…both enjoyed with chicken, veg, noodles and yakitori sauce stir fries. The packet sauce was sweet and sticky and a good pairing to the Leistenberg Kab. The remains of the stir fry were reheated with some additional Gochujang chilli paste in the hope it would help accommodate the dry Tonschiefer. If anything, it was an even better match.

Anyway, for my money, both are as good as it gets in their respective styles. The Leistenberg with its weighty flavours had a wonderful balance and harmony between its component parts. Vibrant acidity, which made my forehead flush, provided plenty of cut to the residual sweetness. The aromas and flavours were hard to pin down, floral notes, citrus and stone fruit did spring to mind, however. Similar on tasting with tinging minerality and a long finish. Fabulous stuff !

The Tonschiefer is more citrus dominant, lemon and lime ( both fruit and peel ) with some ripe orchard fruits too. Less weighty as one might expect from a drier wine, but with even more mineral intensity, Once again, balance is superb with fruit and acidity in perfect harmony and there’s a beautifully tangy medium length finish to complete, what is, a thoroughly satisfying drinking experience.

Hmm, it’s highly unlikely that the Hollenpfad and Kahlenberg trocken from the same mixed case are likely to survive beyond the end of this month now ! :yum:

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Do they make any bad wines!?

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I once drank an ‘estate’ Riesling from Donnhoff back in the 90’s that slightly underwhelmed but otherwise, and since then, no !

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Some of this for us tonight from deep-down in the back of the wine fridge - a Ch. de Fesles Chenin Sec 2014 - with an experimental dish I knocked up through the afternoon of pork belly cooked very slowly with fennel-from-the garden and a garlic-from-the-garden & dill-seeds-from-the-garden gooey rub.

The pork belly actually came out rather nicely and is something I shall work more on; and the Chenin worked well with it - both quite full-on but complementing each other yingly-yangly.

It’s hard to really recommend the wine on this showing though as it’s a bit of a Tarzan wine IMO - a rather full-on lean lemony overall taste and none of the subtlety, Spring sunshine or minerality of a Jacky Blot et al; but it worked well in tandem with the food. And it’s got an emotional connection for us as I used to pick up the occasional bottle from Oddbins in Portobello Road some years back when we used to passagiata round there on Saturday afternoons. I have fond memories of the Ch. Fesles Cab Franc too, which I also used to pick up from the same Oddbins - rather lean & dry but very nice for my tastes - but I’ve not seen it in many years now.

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This is a very classy dark fruited Mencia. Quite Burgundian as the notes suggest, bit balsamic and a touch of game.

Love the way the Society don’t drone on about the 94 Parker Points, but no arguments from me about the score.

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Exactly the same feelings here Nick !

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That Valtuille is certainly a very lovely wine indeed.

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I thought I was going to drink a pinot gris tonight, then as I opened the bottle I thought it must be a Sauvignon Blanc, but that wasn’t right either. In fact it is this

The initial aroma is like a very soft SB without the grassiness. The flavour is gentler, more floral, with some mellow peach and a faint hint of my dentist’s mouthwash. The softness makes it very easy to drink without too much thought. It’s a wine I’d very happily drink again, but without feeling any desperate need to buy more. Pleasant but not remarkable.

Oh, slightly oddly the bottled is marked 20/19 which I found strange. It is 2019 but I’ve never seen it typed like that before.

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After last nights Morrison’s Rioja Blanco misadventure, I felt the need to up my game. Lamb & pistachio koftes on the BBQ, this double-decanted and in the wine fridge:

And it hasn’t disappointed.

Far less austere than the Markovitis I tried at the weekend, I’m sure this would benefit from more age, but at the moment it’s drinking pretty damn well for me.

Relatively restrained on the nose (edit, this really develops with time), this has lots of red fruit, some dusty tannins and plenty of length. Given this blind I’m absolutely sure I’d say Barolo or Barbaresco - and a decent one at that. Would be interesting to see how this develops.

Further edit, just realised this has sold out. I have one more in a mixed case, but I’m gutted I can’t get more! This has got better and better over the evening, and I think this would stand up to a lot of Piedmont wines costing 2-3X as much.

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Dalamara’s wines often feature in this thread so I though there may be some interest in some pics from where it comes from.

We visited the winery and the winemaker Yiannis in 2019. Despite its (deservedly) high TWS profile it’s a small family-run operation, established in 1840, and dedicated to organic dry-farming and low-input winemaking. As aficionados know, his wines are very minerally, complex and often closed and austere when young but hugely reward patience and cellaring. I’ve not yet touched our souvenirs from that visit.

Pics are :- entry to Naoussa town (our RV parked ahead on the verge), the winery, tasting, the line up on the day and the vineyards from the winery terrace.





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Finished off the Pewsey Vale ‘Old Block 1961’ 2017 on Tuesday night - such a great wine.
High acid but when that is balanced with beautiful texture and mouth feel it makes for lovely drinking.
My Dad has just ordered his 2nd dozen back in Australia - he can get ‘mates rates’ so far cheaper than what I paid for it. The lucky so-and-so! :triumph:

Last night we had some barbecued pork loin fillet and salad with this from Waitrose.
https://www.waitrosecellar.com/laurent-miquel-verite

Ours was 2017 (on 25% off of course!)
Really singing last night - peaches, apricots, nectarines, honey, marzipan, nuts, length. Full bodied, fat, unctuous and rich but for me, never flabby or cloying. It blew my wife away on first sniff as she was not expecting something like that to explode from her glass. Well worth exploring if you like the style. If not, steer clear.

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Opened this last night:

I first drank this in 2019 in a comparison online community tasting here where we compared this 2014 with a 2017. This was quite an eye opener for me as I’d never tried an aged Beaujolais before and thought the '14 in particular lovely though at the time it seemed to me, and others in the tasting, that it was actually still a little young, despite 2019 being the end of the TWS window.

Anyway I picked up another couple of bottles of the '14 and tucked them away just to see what would happen. CellarTracker back then had the closing date as 2027 and now it’s 2028 (opening date was 2019 - TWS’s closing date!).

And I am now convinced that this is a serious wine. It was just lovely; some fruit still there but combined with lots of lovely mature flavours. A really lovely bottle of wine and certainly not the light gluggable style of Bojo I’ve been more familiar with. This knocked by socks off! Lovely. Must buy some more and I might risk leaving the remaining bottle for another year or two.

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last night it was home made lapin* à la chasseur (except no tomatoes as that doesn’t work for me - why would a hunter go and pick tomatoes on the way home ?? ) but with quartered apricots chucked in at the end. Served with sautées.

  • Note to foodies. Rabbit is widely available in France but is always farmed rather than shot/wild which is the usual case in my neck of the woods in Norfolk. I have never seen wild rabbit on sale in France. Once I did a taste-off between the two variants. Interesting result - the wild and farmed rabbits tasted exactly the same and had similar textures, except the farmed ones were about 3 x as big !

Anyway what to have avec ? Another dip into our travel souvenirs; this amber wine from Georgia; a qvevri-fermented khikhvi. We obtained it from our visit to one of the bigger wineries in the Khaketi - Khareba, in turn, is made at the nearby Stavropigial nunnery for them, and stocked at their (enormous) cellar door.

Khareba was an interesting visit - they have a large collection of heritage winemaking equipment and coming here made the whole qvevri wine-making scene make more sense. Their cellars are located in a labyrinth of ex-Soviet artillery storage bunkers. The staff there wear polar fleeces all the time as it’s so cold inside !!

The wine itself. Delicious, naturally, but you all know about preconception in finding wine flavours. Did I imagine the cooked apples and apricots but without the sweetness which seemed a perfect match and just enough of that amber tannic bite ?

Pics include some of our visit to Khareba.





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