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TWS Summer Press Tasting - A Second Opinion

press-tasting

#1

What an incredible experience! Huge thanks to the TWS team and @Ewan for making us feel welcome and for taking the time to talk us through their wines. When you just sit at home enjoying a bottle of wine, it’s so easy to not even think about all the effort that must have gone into ultimately putting it in your glass. Some of the anecdotes from the buyers were fascinating, and listening to the stories of some of the relationships (and how long they have been in place!), and how some buying decisions come about really provides a rich context that makes me appreciate The Wine Society even more!

@Tom was a superb partner in crime for the day (and it is, truly, a crime to spit out the volume of fine wine we were offered) and had me chuckling from the moment we met up beforehand for a quick coffee just to prime the palate, to the moment we parted ways at Bond Street Tube at the end of the day. Thank you!

Despite having had at least a semblance of a plan before we hooked up and traipsed over to Vinoteca Marylebone (lovely little place!)…it all flew out the window. So, my notes are neither particularly systematic, nor consistent. As alluded to on Tom’s thread, we’re not posting in chronological order. The journey was just as important as the destination…

There were seven wonderful tables to get through hosted by the buyers: Pierre Mansour, Toby Morrhall, Tim Sykes, Freddy Bulmer, Marcel Orford-Williams, Sarah Knowles, and Joanna Locke.

I didn’t focus too hard on what the TWS description said, relying more immediately on first impressions - which became increasingly difficult as we worked steadily through the day. From being among the first to arrive we were the last to leave…and it was genuinely very rushed towards the end! It does makes you appreciate the challenge folk who do this day in day out have (although - I suspect we were the only ones who tried to take in every wine!).

And @Ewan thank you for very graciously making sure we always had a spittoon close to hand - I was amazed at the ability some people displayed to hit these with pinpoint accuracy from some distance! No mean feat…


#2

So, starting with Table Four… and Freddy Bulmer. My first order of the day was to hand over a wine I picked up on my recent Cypriot trip… a quirky Xynisteri/Chardonnay that might be right up his street. And then he reciprocated with:

TABLE 4 - FREDDY BULMER
Country Year Name TWS Description Tasting Note Price £ TWS Ref
Australia 2018 Blind Spot Yarra Valley Chardonnay Mac Forbes makes this poised but concentrated chardonnay from old vines in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia. Distinctive modern struck-match aroma with plenty of lemon and green-apple flavours, all well-balanced by subtle use of oak. Versatile and elegant. Linear, tart, tangy, precise. Part of a revolving range Mac Forbes hunts down for TWS. Refreshing at 10.30 in the morning! Lemon and grass. (but not lemongrass) and a touch of vanilla. If it was summer outside, this would cool things down. 10.95 AU21391
New Zealand 2018 Zephyr 6 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc New to the range, this crisp white is made by Ben Glover and shows bright passionfruit and mandarin on the nose, with a long refreshing citrus finish. Very pale, light colour. Nettles on nose, gooseberries, grapefruit. Crisp acidity. Delicious. 8.50 NZ11061
England 2018 Blackbook Winery, The Mixup A real curiosity, made by an American winemaker in London! This 50:50 blend of bacchus and Ortega, partially oak fermented, partially on skins has aromas bursting with notes of curry spice, herb, lardo and green grass and a textured, intricate palate. Completely weird, completely wonderful and a delicious advertisement for this sought-after urban winery. Slightly darker in glass, still fairly pale. Also nettles and grass verge. A bit like a savoury sauvignon blanc, but slightly muddled and has an almost “jelly like” quality that I can’t put my finger on. Jellied something. (Not eels). Freddy says it needs more time in bottle. Tom not sold. Never knowingly had bacchus and ortega before. Strange, but nice. Curiosity value… not sure about vfm though. 18.00 EN1411
Hungary 2017 Szolo Tempo Tokaj Furmint Tímea Éless is the woman behind this tiny-production, minimal-intervention winery, which was inherited from her grandfather in the Tokaj region. This furmint is dry, complex and pure with spicy orchard-fruit flavours. Delicious. Golden colour, first “mouthwatering” wine of the day. Has a certain analgesic quality, like lodocaine. Mouth felt slightly numbed. Like an anaphylactic shock, with a twist of apple and apricot. Elegant. Adding it to my wishlist (when it’s available). 14.95 HU1361
Mainland Europe 2017 Bin #002, redacted The second in our recently launched Bin Series. Juicy, spicy, medium-bodied and a musttry. This … (grape variety) is an underappreciated star of wine and this is a perfect example of the wonderful drinkability and quality which it can provide. We have worked with redacted to bring members this classic … . Bin #002. Can’t decipher first word I wrote down, might be “punchy” . tannins, which you can feel coating the teeth but still light. Lovely violet colour. Packed full of ribena goodness. Good value. Not MUSTY. MUST TRY. I missed out on the bobal, but will try to be quicker to the table on this one! (I couldn’t find it on social media @aaronb … so hyping things up a bit more until @ewan wades in ) 8.95 AA2671
Bulgaria 2018 Young & Wild Broadleaf Melnik, Villa Melnik A juicy, vibrant and fun wine, as the name suggests! This Bulgarian red is made from broadleaf melnik and is bursting with cherry, plum and strawberry-fruit flavours. Medium to full-bodied and brilliantly bonkers. First melnik for me I think. Medium full, vibrant, youthful, good acidity, and body, eat it with a pizza. "Bursting" is perhaps a touch effusive, as the fruit seems a little muted to me, but certainly something there, and could just be my palate protesting early in the day… 8.50 BG331
Serbia 2017 Kadarka, Maurer Delicate, elegant Serbian red wine with a perfume of red fruit, roses and toffee. Bright, light and especially good slightly chilled. First Kadarka I think I’ve tasted. Boiled sweet, almost like a rosé. something almost medicinal. Delicious summer red. Would go well with some grilled halloumi. Very light and drinkable. Wishlist. 14.50 BK111
Australia 2017 Cullen Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot From this stellar producer comes a classic, elegant Western Australian Bordeaux blend already showing a fantastic perfume of plum, redcurrant and graphite, and a delicious, concentrated palate. Youthful, fine but grippy tannins mean it will age beautifully, just as we’ve come to expect from Cullen whose attention to detail is peerless. The dark horse on this table. Favourite for me so far. Classic bordeaux traditional blend. Smack bang in the middle of my comfort zone. Very smart. Rich dark velvety berries with a hint of cigar box. 27.00 AU20371

#3

I just checked my notes and I have chicken/veggie sausages and veggie kebabs.

So a wine for a vegetarian bbq, then :smiley:


#4

I wondered if it would stretch to a chicken shashlik, but concluded it wouldn’t. Serving Table 6 shortly. Can’t keep up with your pace!


#5

@aaronb is right…the truth is out there - Zweigelt, capturing the zeitgeist:


#6

I can see I have some catching up to do with @Tom. Second table in was Champagne and Italy with Sarah Knowles. I quite like bubbly (as some of you have spotted), and have been trying as many of them as I can (afford to) lay my hands on when the opportunity arises. TWS, and this community, has been instrumental in opening my eyes to quite a few. And this year I’ve also tried my hand at Barolo, so you can imagine my excitement as the first effects of the alcohol from Freddy’s readies started to kick-in (my notes were already unintelligible even this early on, as my writing is terrible!):

TABLE 6 - SARAH KNOWLES
Country Year Name TWS Description Tasting Note Price £ TWS Ref
France 2012 Alfred Gratien Blanc de Blancs A fantastic wine from a fantastic year, this blanc de blancs shows stunning elegance of youthful green apple, lemon pith and brioche notes now, and will develop a deep flinty richness with time. Citrus & apple nose. Very pale yellow. Not tart, almost sweet. Good acidity. Oak aged. Biscuits. Palate cleansing. Good on its own. I’ve previously enjoyed the 2007. 39.00 CH3941
France 2006 Alfred Gratien Brut 2006 The 2006 is made from 63% chardonnay, 24% pinot meunier and 13% pinot noir, and is the first vintage that chef de cave Nicolas Jaeger blended without his father, who had overseen the harvest. A wonderful vintage and a generous style, this Champagne has a touch of flint, toast and lemon rind, and is rich yet elegant. Expressive. More intensity on the nose; a bit more zesty. Fully mature. Frothy. Tiny bit sharper and more tarty than the 2012. Fresh and lively. It’s for a special occasion, so maybe treat yourself for Christmas. I like this, but I know TWS stocks others that I like equally and more… 42.00 CH3981
Italy 2018 Piemonte Cortese An attractive introduction to the Gavi grape, cortese. Lots of freshness and a lightness of touch with charm and fragrance too. Excellent value. Light straw colour. Lovely nose (Mint/Pear). Everyday wine. Light body Honest. Fresh. Shabbily fascinating. Encyclopeadic owner-blender. Keep a bottle in the fridge. 6.25 IT26641
Italy 2017 Nosiola Trentino, Mastri Vernacoli Cavit Fragrant, zesty Italian white with a hint of hazelnut on the bouquet. Fresh but gently rounded on the palate. Nosiola is a native Trentino grape not many know outside the region but worth discovering. Still (slightly darker) straw, light bodied. Muted rubber almond shine on the nose. Not giving up much on the palate. Sarah thinks this is an exciting grape variety with good body and grip, but wide of the mark for me. 7.25 IT25891
Italy 2018 Pipoli Greco-Fiano, Vigneti di Vulture With wonderful aromatic intensity and attractive depth on the palate, this is a delicious Available now demonstration of how good these two native Italian grapes are. Getting some more sunshine in the colour now. Not at all neutral. Deeper flowery perfume and tropical white fruit. Acidity rescues it and makes it very refreshing. (Dragonfruit/lychee?). 9.50 IT27171
Italy 2018 Etna Bianco Fondo Filara, Nicosia An Italian white of exotic bouquet and full ripe taste with distinctive personality from Etna’s volcanic soil. Stoney. More serious. Up a notch in quality, with richer style. Mineral on palate. Quite delicious. Pineapple. Peach. 12.50 IT27241
Italy 2016 Soave Classico Calvarino, Pieropan A beautiful vintage of this outstanding Soave, fragrant, stylish and long-lasting on the palate and promising long life. Increasing colour intensity. Riesling like bottle. Fairly muted nose, but almost fizzes on the tongue with lemon zest and maybe apricot. Slightly higher acidity, makes it very fresh. Very suave. 18.00 IT26381
Italy 2017 Cirò Rosso Gaglioppo, Santa Venere Brilliant fruity Calabrian red from gaglioppo grapes grown organically in a vineyard overlooking the sea. A revelation. Lovely grippy, spicy, tooth rattler. Calabrian, but not quite the “Nduja sausage” of wine. Right up Tom’s street. Another one for the summer. No summer. It’s hammering down outside. 9.95 IT27321
Italy 2016 Barbera d’Alba Superiore Conca del Grillo Silvano Bolmida A beautiful vintage with fresh scented ‘smoky’ fruit and full but gently rounded flavour, making for a marvellous barbera with great depth of rich flavour that fills the mouth and leaves it fresh. More volatile on the nose and in the glass. Beautiful colour, and definitely soft, round and smokey. Peppery plums on the tongue. Pretty decent effort at this price point imho. 12.95 IT26771
Italy 2016 Nebbiolo d’Alba Drago, Poderi Colla 2016 was a perfect vintage for Piedmont’s classiest grape. This nebbiolo grown on a hill site just outside Barbaresco combines a lovely fragrant rose scented bouquet with beautifully balanced long-lasting flavour. This is singing "la la la". Perfume. Garnet rosey cherries. Great to swirl it around in the mouth and feel the drying tannins. Sarah described it as a "marmite" wine. Love it or hate it? You decide; I liked it. 15.50 IT26881
Italy 2016 Langhe Nebbiolo A Mont, Paolo Conterno Lovely bright perfumed fruit from the hillside facing Ginestra. Harmonious, stylish and Available 17th June persistent palate. Burgundy lovers will love this too Glorious ruby colour. It’s like a slightly amped up version of the last on all the senses directions. Like a photo just coming into focus. I prefer this one. Tom indicated a preference for the other one as it was more airy. 18.00 IT26901
Italy 2016 Langhe Nebbiolo, Massolino This is a little Barolo from classic long-keeping Serralunga and Monforte vineyards so with real depth of fruit and beautiful balance after one of the best vintages Franco Massolino can remember. This is a star buy. You can feel the engine crunching through the gears - this is a step up again in quality. Fuller, deeper, purply colour. Fuller nose. Softer, richer, rounder, riper red fruit. And punching above its weight. This is the one I would cradle in my arms. 23.00 IT26751
Italy 2016 The Society’s Exhibition Chianti Classico Lovely supple scented fruit showing both finesse and power. This is pure sangiovese from the Bartoli family’s excellent Poggiopiano estate in San Casciano. Balsamic. Real old-school. Evocative. Pulls your cheeks in and puckers you up. Perfect paired with a florentine steak (Sarah’s recommendation!) 12.50 IT27301
Italy 2016 Rosso di Montalcino, Poggio Antico Many estates would be proud to make a Brunello of this quality. Ripe spicy and full of fruit this is a great early taste of a top vintage. There is something indescribably lovely about this. The quality is tangible. Tom’s favourite from this round “everything he likes about sangiovese”. Transcendent. Me, I’ve found yet another grape variety I need to explore further! 24.00 IT24721

#7

I just love this description, even as I struggle to understand its meaning… :grinning:


#8

Awesome. I suspected an Austrian red but was unsure of variety. Thought maybe St. Laurant


#9

Thanks for catching that Gary! I’m now actually crying with laughter, as I clearly didn’t do a very good job of sub-editing my notes…:rofl:

I’m also not immediately sure what I meant by “shabbily fascinating”, but it is the exact transcription of what I thought I wrote down. I might have meant to write “strangely fascinating”.

The second point makes more sense, we were told how the winemaker - I think Claudio Manera, from the info on the TWS website - has access to all manner of samples from the various parcels that make up the co-operative that produces this wine. I had a mental imagine that they’re in no discernible state of organisation, but he knows where and what they all are and how to combine and blend them, with encyclopaedic knowledge.

Gosh that made me chuckle, and I haven’t even had a sip of wine today!


#10

My tasting notes often end up illegible and ‘odd’ when I read them back too… Sounds like you both had a fantastic time and thanks for the very interesting notes - love to read the view from the professional enthusiasts - lots of exciting wines coming to tempt us!


#11

Table 7 with Joanna Locke brought out the inner scribbler in me. I have copious notes - very few of which I can now decipher, and most of which don’t appear to have anything to do with tasting the actual wines - but hopefully I can be forgiven for rambling (I was clearly captivated by her story-telling). From the first wine, as she told us how “wines without fuss” came about by chance, to the final tipple before lunch (which was a eureka moment for me), I was mesmerised:

TABLE 7 - JOANNA LOCKE MW
Country Year Name TWS Description Tasting Note Price £ TWS Ref
Portugal 2018 Quinta da Calçada Alvarinho, Minho Light and delicate, and ideal for summer drinking with its lacy freshness and tongue-tingling spritz. This family domaine, which last year celebrated their centenary, lies in the warmer inland south-eastern area of the Minho which makes for rounder, easier drinking wines. Continuing the theme… another perfect summer wine. In this case, to brighten up a glum day outside! This one came about through chance. Excellent value for under a tenner. Ripe, almost Spanish in style. Lacy is an interesting description. Flowers, and lemon rind. 9.50 PW7471
France 2018 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc ‘Les Hauts Lieux’, Famille Bougrier Rounded by the warmth of the vintage, this modern expression of Loire sauvignon offers aromas of ripe currant, passionfruit and stone fruit and finishes clean and smooth on the palate. Ripe year. Lower acidity. Slightly lighter modern friendlier style. Stable workhorse wine consistent year in year out. Easier to drink than a new Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Grass. (Pine)Apple. 8.25 LO14901
France 2017 Touraine Chenonceaux, Domaine de la Renaudie A different take on smart Loire sauvignon from pioneers of this new appellation, Bruno and Patricia Denis. Ripe and full with aromas of pink grapefruit and white flowers, and a mineral backbone ensuring food-friendliness and refreshment. Darker than the last one. Lovely ripe fruity aromas on nose. Tastes very nice indeed. Good quality and value. Substitute for a sancerre. 2017 was a more typical Loire vintage. Relatively new appellation, great standard. All steel, no oak. Pair with a rich fish dish. 11.95 LO14721
France 2017 Muscat Réserve, Trimbach Refined, bone-dry muscat which makes a delicious aperitif, works well with delicate Asian dishes, and is a marriage made in heaven served with asparagus. Absolutely delightful. Not as rich as the Zilliken I had last Friday, but would give a Thai green curry a good workout. Yum. Joanna highly recommends pairing with English asparagus specifically (in season now?) 14.95 AL14111
France 2015 Moselle ‘Pylae’ Pinot Gris, Château de Vaux Rich and flavourful pinot gris from a fine, warm vintage, with lifted citrus aromas and flavours, and a proven track record for ageing. Again, working our way into the colour chart, things are getting darker. Something crisply different and concentrated about this one. Bit of an oddity, but wow! This is a keeper! Joanna also told us what a beautiful sunny vintage this was, and what really nice people the winemakers are… 25.00 AL14651
South
Africa 2018 Percheron Shiraz-Mourvèdre, Swartland Youthful and succulent, with floral perfume enhanced by spice, sweet cassis and forest fruits on the palate. Moving on to reds, South African, and something I’ve had before and not particularly enjoyed. People change. Palates change. Tolerance levels change. Wines are different in bottle from year to year. Slightly rustic, but certainly pleasant enough right now. Bottled in France (the code is on the back-label). Tom not a fan of SA reds, thinks they have a certain funk. I fell in love with SA wine when my parents lived there. Joanna believes the quality has improved dramatically over the last few years…I can’t disagree. 6.95 SA14611
South
Africa 2017 Fairview Bushvine Cinsault, Paarl From an old gem of a vineyard, restored with the help of local old-vines guru Rosa Kruger, this is made in a modern, lighter style. Some whole-bunch fermentation brings out the grapes’ brightness and fresh red-fruit purity and keeps any harsh tannins at bay. Juicy, soft and utterly delicious! I like Fairview wines. I visited the winery on my last trip to the Cape a couple of years ago. Didn’t try this one, but a couple of others which I enjoyed (The Beacon, Eenzaamheid). Wonderfully fruity nose, and a touch of sharpness that could neatly cut though some roast pork or go with some barbecued ribs on the braai! It’s a winner. Fresh. Dynamic. Great things happening at this winery, all fair trade. Impressive wine from an impressive bunch of people. 13.95 SA14441
Portugal 2017 Esporão Colheita Tinto, Alentejano A blend of cabernet sauvignon, touriga franca, aragonez from Esporão’s own organically certified vineyards. Sweet red and black fruit and freshness is lifted by a touch of spice. Glorious ruby colour. Big producer. Consistent quality. Made their first organic wine in 2015 (not certified). Quite unusual, easy drinker. Full bodied. Fruity. Woody. Nice bitter touch. Good price tag. 9.95 PW7581
Portugal NV Cálem White & Dry Port From one of the historic names of the Port trade, celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, this is the perfect base for a summer Portonic, and bright and light enough to enjoy chilled on its own too. This was the stand-out “aha” moment of the day for me. We came back to taste the Portonic, as an aperitif before heading downstairs to lunch. It also serves as the perfect palate cleanser after the 40 wines we’d tasted at this point! White port. Tonic. Lime. Mint. Rosemary. Ice. Mind blown. So simple. So good. 11.75 PN241

#12

Its fun reading your ones and filling in the bits i missed/forgot!


#13

Great great notes @Cormski . I’m wondering is there a limit to the amount of wines one can put in their wish list :see_no_evil:


#14

I prefer your tutored economy and precision, where my ignorance is personified by the exuberance of my verbosity!


#15

Wishlist. Blown!


#16

AS is the kids school uniform budget :rofl:


#17

I had it the other way round on my thread, so now I’m confused… we’ll just have to do the whole thing over again, nothing else for it :man_shrugging:


#18

…you’ve changed @tom


#19

Meanwhile, I was still trying to make it to lunchtime!

TABLE 3 - TIM SYKES
Country Year Name TWS Description Tasting Note Price £ TWS Ref
France 2018 The Society’s Bordeaux Sauvignon Fresh and aromatic, this is pure Bordeaux sauvignon made without the use of oak in a crisp and fruity modern style. Simple, light, fresh, crisp, quaffable, but doesn’t stick its head over the parapet. This is a TWS specific blend picked from a variety of samples to provide a good value example of the variety. But, by this point, we’ve already had quintessential sauvignon blanc (Joanne Locke, Table 7), so diffucult for this to stand out. 7.95 BW6431
France 2018 The Society’s Claret Merlot-based fruity and unoaked claret supplied for over a quarter of a century by family owned Maison Sichel. Best seller (I heard Tim say this numerous times). Smells lovely, brambly blackberry, and quite smooth on the palate, soft, round. Gluggable every day drinker, good vfm. Tasty. 6.95 CL221
France 2015 The Society’s Exhibition Haut-Médoc Ripe, supple and classy, with attractive savoury notes and brambly fruit character, this is benchmark left bank claret. Made by Château Beaumont, a favourite of Society members for decades. Smells and tastes twice the price of the Society’s Claret. Oak and purple undergrowth. Tart fruits of the forest. Bit of a pucker in the mouth, but still good quality to price ratio. Roast lamb territory. 14.95 CM19611
France 2015 The Society’s Exhibition Margaux Made from younger vines in the Brane-Cantenac vineyards, this is a blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon. The wine was aged for 12 months in the Chateau’s cellars and displays a plummy, perfumed nose and supple, generous and appealing fruit texture. Classic Margaux from a superb vintage. Topical (based on recent discussion threads) so both of us were looking forward to trying this one. Creamy, crumbly, raspberry and vanilla - Yummy. Tough act to follow. Tim says this comes around sooner than the Baron de Brane, and Angludet is more closed - similar price (a pound or two either way, so pick me! (I trust Tim!) 23.00 CM20641
France 2015 The Society’s Exhibition Pomerol On the right bank of the Gironde, the two Ms – Moueix and merlot – reign supreme, working together to deliver supple, red-fruit flavours, and attractive secondary aromas with good freshness and structure on the palate. 2015 was an excellent vintage in this part of Bordeaux, and the wine is drinking beautifully (although there is no hurry). This has higher merlot content than the than Society Margaux, so the abundant fruit should be softer and rounder. Classy, but I found it more tightly wound and restrained. 19.50 CS11041
France 2015 The Society’s Exhibition Sauternes Delicious fruity, perfumed and luscious Sauternes, the 2015 has plenty of sweetness, balanced by fresh acidity. Superb value. Did this one after lunch, and it was worth the wait - succulent soft candied fruit. Not overly concentrated sweetness, and would have benefited from being a touch cooler. 20.00 BW5871
France 2018 The Society’s Exhibition Fleurie Attractive, floral Fleurie, in keeping with its name, with intensely perfumed aromas and a ripe yet fresh palate. Flowery (funny that), raspberry and something slightly spicy. Lightish red Slightly lively acidity. Would go well with food. It was at this point that I became all philosophical about the different personalities of wines. Weird things happen when I’m hungry. 10.50 BJ7911
France 2018 The Society’s Exhibition Côte de Brouilly Côte de Brouilly is a hill with vineyards at all points of the compass, which means it can produce wines of different levels of ripeness. This is a blend that captures both the ripeness of the 2018 vintage and the characteristic grip of the cru. Rich, vibrant, more juicy, less light. No obvious oak. Round and full. Cerise in colour. Cellar filler. 9.95 BJ7931
France 2017 The Society’s Exhibition Moulin-à-Vent Concentrated, yet richly fruity and succulent, this is a delicious example of Moulin-à-Vent. Available 12th July.One-fifth of the wine was aged in used oak barrels, more to round out the tannins than to contribute any oak aroma. More noticeable oak. More structure. Tom liked it. Bit gamey (gammy?) for me. 10.95 BJ7971
Spain NV The Society’s Fino From the independent house of Sánchez Romate, our fino is shipped often and in small quantities to guarantee freshness, the lifeblood of fino, which brings out the apple-like crispness to the flavour and the flor character. Serve chilled as an unbeatable aperitif to accompany olives, almonds or smoked salmon. Think we came back to this after lunch, and after Sauternes. Possibly the only thing I tried all day that made me shudder. Tom helped evoke the memory: I used to launch off the Margate harbour in a canoe at high tide when I was kid…that’s kind of what it tasted like. (Perhaps a little unfair, if it did come straight after Sauternes, but either way an unwelcome assault on my senses, and really not for me!) 6.75 SH571

#20

Lunch was a welcome pause, and I only had the one generous glass of a wonderful Bulgarian Soli Pinot Noir which it was a pleasure to savour. Then back to the graft:

TABLE 2 - TOBY MORRHALL
Country Year Name TWS Description Tasting Note Price £ TWS Ref
France 2017 Domaine de la Rochette, Mâcon-Bussières Mont Sard This is a star. Rich, gentle wine with a natural concentration coming from 1.5ha of vines principally planted in the 1930s, 1945, 1947 and a little in the 1980s, now managed by Frédéric Burrier. 1/3 tank and 2/3 fermented in 228-litre barrels. Lovely tropical fruit note with citrus and a little peach. It’s making all the right noises for Burgundy, nose, palate. I feel a roast chicken coming on. What’s not to like for £13.50? 13.50 BU69561
France 2017 Domaine Guillemot-Michel, Viré-Clessé Quintaine Low yields for the region and excellent attention to detail on this tiny 6ha estate explain the high quality. Unoaked, fermented in tank and kept on its lees until bottling in the spring. It is ripe full-flavoured yet balanced with lovely lemony freshness. Exceptional. Pale golden, more powerful aromas than previous two, citrus/zest, more expressive on the palate. Simply delicious. 21.00 BU71251
France 2015 François D’Allaines, Auxey-Duresses Excellent assemblage of Auxey-Duresses. Over a third comes from the appellation’s best vineyard, Les Autés. Intense honeysuckle-scented nose, rich and powerful palate and good length of flavour. 100% fermented, then matured for approximately a year in barrel (15% new oak). Drink this year and next. Really notice the oak coming through in this one after the preceding three…very nice indeed. Definite floral note, if not able to pin down honeysuckle. This has more body. Go for guinea Fowl (Toby’s recommendation to counter our unambitious chicken!). I think Tom said he preferred this one, where I preferred the Vire-Clesse. (I’m still smarting at not receiving any Auxey-Duresses in the last EP offer…but why wait, when this is ready to go now) :slight_smile: 22.50 BU63081
France 2016 Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Bourgogne Rouge A lovely Bourgogne with all the joys of pinot noir: a perfumed nose redolent of red cherries and an alluring silky and creamy palate with intensity of flavour, rather than weight. Made with 30% whole bunches, this is light yet thrillingly vibrant Burgundy. Possibly served a little warm. Picking up perfume and cherries. Austere and difficult to appreciate. Cheap end of Burdundy, but when you consider the quality being provided at this price point. Get it before prices go up! 17.00 BU68961
Chile 2016 Undurraga Cauquenes Estate Carignan Sustainably farmed and low-yielding kekfrankos (aka bläufrankisch), aged in old Burgundy barrels for a year and a half. Deep and brooding, with red and black fruit aromas and a hint of dark chocolate. Lovely nose. Grippy tannins. Peppery, licorice (might be stretching it). Second mouth feels better. 8.95 CE10011
Chile 2013 Undurraga Altazor Alto Maipo Cabernet Sauvignon Altazor is Undurraga’s top cabernet. It comes from vineyards in the Upper Maipo, where cabernet is firm and savoury with structure to the fore. 2013 was a cooler year with fine cedary flavours and a firm, linear palate of excellent length of flavour. Similar to the last wine, but nicer (ie complementary rather than smothering). Hit of blackberries / blackcurrants overlays the secondary vegetal note. Nice piquancy to the fruit, with a pleasant bitter streak. More coulis than jam. 26.00 CE8531
Uruguay 2011 Pisano-Arretxea Grand Reserve Progreso The Basques brought the tannat variety and the Italians brought winemaking expertise to Uruguay. How fitting that the third generation of Pisanos united Italian and Basque origins as Don César Pisano married Doña María Elsa Arretxea. This is the company’s best tannat; big, broad, powerful and now harmonised over time. This smells amazing, and it’s teeth painting. I’ve not had many tannats, but this is a fine example. Most consistent of all the appellations apparently. Supply and demand! A snip at £28. 28.00 UR461