Thanks for all the notes, @Aaronb and @DavidTheChemist. Great to see TWS stocking that Piron Morgon - it’s a lovely wine. And the Boxler Sommerberg riesling is really great. I’ve got a couple of the 2011s still stashed away, but I’m in no rush to drink them.
I also have half a case of 2013 Thalabert in reserves. Is now the time to take delivery, I wonder?
The 2013 Thalabert is good now - whether you take your bottles out of reserves depends on how long you wish to keep it. It will keep for many years yet and if you take delivery, can you store it under ideal conditions for the bottles you want to keep for a while longer?
Do we know how this winery is doing after the sad, early demise of the main man? I understand his wife has taken over and is continuing with his vision. This is still his vintage. Anyone from TWS… @laura
On my recent trip to Slovenia/Friuli it soon became quite clear that the best Ribollas/Rebulas were the more “natural” ones, with skin contact. Growers following this style (obviously a high proportion in this region) seem to rate the grape more highly than those who make more conventional wines and give it more tlc, and the results are obvious. All the most interesting examples were the “natural” ones - and not a cidery one among them !
So, as previously explained by @DavidTheChemist we each took 1/3 of the wine list and got tasting. A brilliant idea it turns out as, on departing the tasting, I knew I needed a little caffeine ‘pick me up’, so made a bee-line to the nearest coffee franchise. On arrival the cashier smiled sweetly, took my coffee requirements and said, with what can only be described as a slightly concerned tone, that it was on the house…it was 3pm.
Alfred Gratien Brut 2006 Champaigne - CH3981
As 3rd community member to arrive I started at #3 on the list. What a way to KO. This beautiful champagne is a treat to the senses with crisp complex notes that play a serenade with your palate. As described by the Society, there’s notes of toast and marzipan, undercut by a flintiness and lemon zest that reminds me of the most tempting, French lemon tarte. The mouse is lively but not overwhelming. A great ‘special occasion’ tipple.
Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas Alvarinho - Available 21st Oct
A citrus coloured wine with elegant floral aromas that seemed to grow in expression, even whilst I was standing there. I agree with the Society in that a ‘greater depth and complexity’ is apparent, and this is attributed to the use of ‘old vines’. On the palate the floral notes are backed up by a crisp acidity that reinforces the citrus, flinty freshness supported by a subtle oaked finish.
Vescovado Guardavalle Calabria Bianco, Santa Venere 2018 - IT27331
From France and Portugal to Italy for my 3rd glass. Not a grape I was familiar with, I was intrigued to try the Calabria Bianco. It didn’t disappoint, I’d liken it most to a Chablis if I were trying to pigeon hole this wine but that would be doing it a dis-service. What immediately struck me was its straw colour and the enticing honeyed notes on the nose. Not oily but it did exhibit a lingering flirt with the glass as I swirled. On the palate the aroma morphs into a honeyed melon taste with a creamy, to my mind, butter biscuit edge. Certainly one to be enjoyed as the nights draw in with comforting food or a good book.
Domaine Cordier, Pouilly-Fuisse Metertieres - Available 4th Nov
A wonderfully balanced Burgundy. On the nose there was a ripe peach, melon and tropical flavour that surprised me, but which perfectly intertwined with a light oaking that came across. On the palate it delivers a long, harmonious length with the toasted oak becoming more apparent alongside the rich, buttery, toasted MLF tones. I was a fan!
Lucky for me I immediately got to compare this very approachable Burgundy at £26 to my next wine, Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru (Heritiers), Jadot at £99.
Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru (Heritiers), Jadot - Available 4th Nov
Firstly, this Burgundy screamed complexity, straight from the nose. A wet minerality with slight citrus notes came across alongside the toasted oak and nutty butter that was to be expected. In the mouth there’s a velvety texture that lasts and delivers each flavour beautifully layered and in harmony. It was a joy to try.
Coteaux du Languedoc le Blanc, Domaine Turner-Pageot - FC34721
Back down to earth with what I would consider a more ‘purse friendly’ budget. Not that a lower price lowers the value, or my appreciation of this wine. Ewan’s description is spot on, though I did find it curious how some wines can come across as almost sweet on the nose but be dry to the taste. On the nose I caught hints of marzipan along with honeysuckle and apricot aromas. In appearance the wine was a deep gold, with a slight oily texture. Despite this on the palate it was surprisingly fresh and zesty with a lemon zing and saline minerality that lifted both it and my eyebrows in surprise. It would be interesting to come back to this the next day to see if it had opened any more.
6 wines in and already I’m well behind the boys who are into double figures. Must start spitting more and drinking less…
G de Château Guiraud, Bordeaux Blanc 2015 - BW6051
Wine #7, and I’ve reached Bordeaux but still on the whites! This example from G du Chateau Guiraud is fascinating. It’s true, it’s ‘beautifully balanced and mouth-watering’, so say the Society. But it fails to describe the way the aromatic fruits, that usually indicate freshness, is muddled with the honeyed rich aromas that the Sauternes barrels lend it. On the palate you can appreciate a long finish as you navigate notes of lemon, green apple and grass. All wrapped in a honey and cedar smelling hug. Bargain.
To the Rieslings and we have a French and a German one to contrast and compare.
Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg, Domaine Albert Boxler 2014 - AL13001
First stop France and the steep banks of Alsace. This 2014 offering is a super example of Grand Cru from the region. Ready to enjoy now but, with a little patience, could be something exceptional in a few years’ time.
Whilst I was expecting the signature rubber and gasoline scents, I was surprised to get such a lively presence of botanical. Specifically; juniper, sage, coriander and citrus. On the palate it is bold, with a high acidity that emphasises the granite and floral notes perfectly. A wonderful example.
Not to be outshone, the German offering from Zilliken, Saarburg is delicious but on another spectrum. In colour a light, creamy yellow, it appears a standard Riesling. But whilst there is a hint of hose pipe and petrol on the nose, the overwhelming aroma is of honey, stone fruit, slate and lemon peel. These notes transfer beautifully to the palette to deliver a medium sweet, high acid wine that lingers. At 15 years young it’s incredible how youthful it still came across. Can only hope I’m still as vibrant in 15 years time too.
Château de Beauregard, Moulin-à-Vent Clos des Pérelles 2017 - BJ7721
And on to the reds! First off, a Beaujolais from Chateau de Beauregard of Moulin-a-Vent. This youthful red is light bodied with notes of red fruits and violet on the nose. Blackcurrant and strawberry are the predominant flavours in the glass. Not my bag but can appreciate it’s a lovely example of its type, for those that do like this style of wine.
Mount Koinga Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 - NZ9791
Wine #10 for me and now we’re talking. A Pinot Noir from Mt Koinga, New Zealand. Light in colour there’s a strong red fruit presence on the nose but with a subtle leather, farmyard undertone that indicates added complexity. On the palate the soft ripe tannins fade away to reveal elegant notes of raspberry and blackberries with that continued earthy, savoury taste. Lovely, balanced example - perfect for a Sunday chicken in my book.
Domaine Jean-Luc et Eric Burguet, Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes 2013 - BU58961
I’ve not had too many red Burgundy’s, as you can imagine. This may have to change following my introduction to the below (sorry savings). A deep ruby colour, the nose is vibrant with notes of black cherry, vanilla and spice. The palate is velvety, highlighting the peppery, blackcurrant and cherry flavours through soft tannins and medium acidity. One for Christmas maybe…?
Spaziale Marsigliana Nera, Santa Venere - Available 21st Oct
Not a grape I’m tremendously familiar with I was intrigued by this wine. Reminded me of a Beaujolais, in that it is bursting with vibrant, fresh, fruity flavours. For me the nose was dominated by cherry and strawberry notes that carried through to the tasting. Not overly complex but is refreshing. Can see why the Society would suggest it could work with a picnic in the sun.
Château Argadens Rouge, Bordeaux Supérieur 2015 - CB5601
I’m a fan of a good Bordeaux and this one did not disappoint. And at this price, will swiftly be added to my ‘wish list’ ahead of next order.
Medium bodied with a light ruby colour, this Bordeaux has an intense aroma of cherry, blackcurrant, vanilla and oak that transfers directly to the palate. Whilst still young it delivers a mature taste that is both dry and savoury with light tannins. Perfect autumnal evening tipple.
The Society’s California Old-Vine Zinfandel 2017 - US8301
The Society’s description of ‘cherry cola’ intrigued me when describing their California Old-Vine Zinfandel and it proved to be extremely accurate. With such a young red I was expecting a light, fresh, youthful wine but this one took the proverbial cherry, or in this case, the ‘cherry cola’.
On the nose bright strawberry and cherry aromas. On the palate these flavours are amplified to an almost confectionery level with a slight hint of oak and vanilla. A little overwhelming for my taste but could possible have benefited from a little time decanted.
My first dip into South America on the day takes me to Argentina. A deep coloured ruby with a slight brick tinge to the edges. The bouquet is dominated by intense black fruits whilst the leather and tobacco play a supporting role. On the palate however it is far more balanced with both fruit and tertiary flavours blending well to deliver in harmony. A little hot for me at 14.5% but could support a hearty, rich dish well.
Cantoiseau Rouge, Vin de France 2018 - FC36061
Not much to add to the Society’s description of the Vin de France. Super red fruits, minimal secondary flavours.
Perdebee Shiraz, Darling 2015 - SA15221
By wine 18 and I find my notes getting sparser…what I do remember from this bottle was its inviting nose of dark cherry, blackberry, pepper and dark chocolate that translated directly to the palate with subtler hints of oak and spice. A little off script from the Society’s description but at £9.95 you can afford to make your own mind on it. Let me know!
Vacqueyras ‘Arabesque’, Domaine de Montvac 2016 - RH50541
Back to France and the Rhone. I’m a fan of Vacqueras so was excited to taste this. I wasn’t disappointed. Robust yet delicate was the overall feeling I took away. A wine packed with layers and character. On the nose I got raspberry, plum, fig and baked spice but also an earthiness i wasn’t expecting; wet dog and leaves. On the palate there’s a savouriness that is very satisfying and beautifully balances the fruit and tertiary tones. One for bonfire night.
Jeroboam of Crozes-Hermitage, Domaine de Thalabert, Paul Jaboulet Aine - Available 21st Oct
Another Rhone from France but this time 100% Syrah. A deep purple met my eyes from the glass as I poured. The society had decanted this bottle and I could tell why. I think it could have done with a few more hours but what I did try was exciting. On the nose there was an intense dark fruit aroma, blackcurrant and plum with a slight earthiness. On tasting I found it deceptively light but none the less complex. With fruit making way for earthier, pepper and cured meat notes. Went down very easily.
Ghemme, Torraccia del Piantavigna 2009 - IT27801
Garnet in colour with a terracotta rim, you can’t mistake a Nebbiolo when you see it. A profound nose with dried berries, cherry, leather and mushroom all present. Medium bodied, this glass screamed class and elegance. To taste it was dry with light tannins. Thanks to its age the tertiary flavours have become more apparent with a savoury, farmyard note that lingers. One of my faves of the day.
To the final straight and sweet wine!
Bodegas Alonso’s Single Cask Amontillado (Medium Sweet) 30 year old 37.5cl - Available 9th Dec
A lovely rich and powerful aroma met my nose on tipping the glass to this tawney coloured sherry. I immediately thought of rum and raisin ice-cream. Comforting and delicious there were numerous layers, but my take-away notes were of dried raisins, sultanas and coffee.
1999 Half Bottle of Chateau Suduiraut, Sauternes - Available 4th Nov
Orange peel, dried apricot, peach and honey immediately assailed me as I poured this beautiful, golden Sauternes. From it’s first notes of orange, apricot and honey to the subtler hints of almonds and ginger as it opens. Each layer is distinctive and provocative. A beautifully bold and balanced Sauternes.
The Society’s Exhibition Crusted Port, Bottled 2013 - PN231
Can’t add too much to the Society’s description in terms of flavours. This youthful, robust Port is a treat. Perhaps I associate Christmas too much with Port but I thought I could taste a little Christmas cake in there with the black fruits.
Well I hope that wasn’t too painful. Thanks WS for letting me attend, I took a lot form the event, not least that writing tasting notes is very hard! Shout out to @Ewan@DavidTheChemist and @Aaronb - Cheers for a great day!
Great notes @Polly Thanks for your company and that of @Aaronb. We had a jolly time getting through all those wines and I can only repeat our thanks to the Wine Society and @Ewan for the invitation to attend.