Last week we had our monthly SW London dinner at Artisans of Sardinia. This time we welcomed @Embee for the first time.
It feels like many moons ago (work and children with 40c temperature all week) so my notes a vague but the impressions of the wines are still very clear.
I will say that unusually the whites were my favourites or least the biggest surprise (in a good way).
First off the Boizel Rose which was wonderfully creamy and rich with a good finish and went very well with our first course of Fresh Scottish scampi sashimi. Sublime!
Next was a wonderful introduction to me of the Oenops Vidiano 2019. So aromatic and fresh, very floral with a dry and appetising finish. Paired nicely with Tagliolino octopus and courgette.
The second white was a surprise from Sardinia, Arekena late harvest Cantina del Vermentino 2019. Not close in any aspect a regular Vermentino. Although late harvest this is dry, weighty and beautifully balanced. Paired with our second pasta dish and wild sea bass.
The first red was the Ktima Foundi Single Vineyard Xinomavro 2018. As long as I can remember this was the most tannic wine I ever tried. A tannic nuclear bomb. It was decanted for about an hour and after 20 min in the glass the tannins were more subdued and a nice fresh fruit element came out. Lovely wine and with a long drinking window.
Because the xin was so tannic we decide to pour the other 2 wines to go with the dish that was going to pair with the xin. A Sigalas MU 2017 and Produttori del Barbaresco Montefico 2011.
The Sigalas was nice and approachable although no rush to drink it. Nicely balanced and with fruit and good acidity to the fore. The Produttori was classic Nebbiolo, more fruit than aromatics, good acidity and length and IMO starting its drinking window although still young. Both went along nicely with Malloreddus Pecorino & Pepper. The Ktima Foundi paired with superbly cooked black pig cheeks and celeriac and truffle mash.
Finally we come to pudding. Lavender panna cotta with wild berries paired with Dourakis Euphoria 2014. Beautiful dark colour, expressive nose and really good acidity and finish. Well balanced and can be enjoyed on it own.
Here’s the thing, having abandoned a trip to Sicily we are heading in our motor home to better weather in Andalusia at a pace. However we stay two nights in rural Benissanet , in the Ribera d’Ebre province of Tarragona to walk along the Ebre. We have been cooped up a while so after a good walk we arrived back at the local Co-operative to buy one of all their offerings. Back at the motor home we open them , two white and a red. The first was a melange of three grapes Macabeo, Grantxa & Muscat. As light as a feather, 11.5 abv, almost water like in the glass , a nose of a little fruit it’s sole quality in the mouth was an ethereal pineapple. Not unpleasant but as quickly gone as it was to discern. Next a 100% Macabeu that had been oaked for eight months and not to it’s benefit we thought. The red was again very light and unfortunately we decided to abandon all three.
Why bother you may ask ? Well we are inherently curious people and although we undoubtedly hoped for more you can never really know till you’ve tasted. Their EV Olive Oil was tasty mind and we will enjoy the walnuts from there with a good spaghetti and taleggio sauce tonight. Drink? A white Rioja I think, safety first!
This evening, a Rhône wine that always delivers, to accompany the ‘Great Chieftain o’ the pudding-race’:
Vinsobres Altitude 420, Domaine Jaume 2017
An EP purchase, and a delightful wine in every way. To paraphrase estate agents (sorry, looking at properties at the moment) this is deceptively full. Or is it deceptively light…? In any case, the freshness and lightness of touch here are a good reminder that ABV should not always put one off.
Barely any suggestion of age in the glass, the nose is filled with plums, cassis, cedar and spice, with a hint of dried Mediterranean herbs and smoke. On the palate this wine is zingy fresh, marrying delicious fruitiness (damsons, elderberries, cherries) to a zesty hint of citrus and a tingle of cedar. There’s liquorice aplenty, good amount of acidity and grainy tannins. As for the finish – forget tar and roses, this is all tar and citrus. Great stuff!
Happy Burn’s Night!
Definitely a Southern Rhone is the best match for Haggis. We had a Burns supper on Friday and I supplied a Séguret which was spot-on too. Bon appetit.
But here it was a meal for hungry skiers - local Magret de Canard, orange and wine sauce, sautées and sprouts.
I picked this red 2018 Roero;
Barolo from that year is said to be “charming and fruit forward for early drinking” according to JR (Oh and incidentally I’ve put my hat in the ring for the more “traditional” - austere ? - 2019 TWS Barolo EP mixed 6 …) Order the wines
I digress. This Roero Barolo, sorry, Nebbiolo, was just spot-on. For me, ready to go. A little tannic bite, but mainly red fruit notes, some balsamic, hard wood dust, mushrooms.
Another vote for a good quality non Barolo / Barbaresco Nebbiolo without the price premium.
We picked this up in a wine industry promotional shop in Saumur, next to the Tourist Information Office.
where they give comprehensive advice and free tastings… Don’t believe the negative reviews on TripAdvisor.
On opening a smell of apple strudel but on the palate a dry Granny Smith. Nice smooth mouthfeel and a lip-smacking finish.
One of my favourites producers tonight, Elio Grasso Langhe 2020.
Aged balsamic and sweet cherries
Pot pourri, and almost an eau de parfum note which is probably a floral scent mixed with some spice I can’t identified. Extremely floral and light is its feet. You could never tell this is 14,5% alcohol. TOH first comment was: omg flowers. It’s so perfumed!Well balanced and integrated tannins.
Absolutely beautiful and highly recommended
Campervan meal of Couscous of fresh prawns and a little smoked Chili sauce with whilted chard, meaning we could continue to drink a lovely Cava from Raimat. A Chardonnay based wine it’s
sizzles in the glass and mouth , fresh apple on the nose and a light but satisfying floral mouth full , a delight at 10 euros!
Cheese for me to follow with a Bordega Borsao Grenache based red with a local cheese. And, the weather is looking up as we are ensconced hundred metres from the sea, wild camping, heaven!
Camper van cuisine is our favourite. Where are you parked for the night ?
I’ve posted about this wonderful Czech variety Palavà before, but not gained much traction. It deserves a place at the top table. It’s a savagnin rose x muller thurgau cross. So here’s another plug, just in case TWS buyers feel like venturing in its direction.
This was a cellar door / tasting room purchase in the neighbouring country, Slovakia, where we went in 2017, from one of the country’s biggest producers, Karpastka Perla.
Tonight I thought it would be good with pan-fried fresh Pyrennean Rainbow Trout with almonds and sautées, and rocket salad. I was not wrong. This variety is a full bodied fruity, medium acid, slightly salty mouth-bomb.
We are parked behind the beach in Saler, west of Valencia. It’s idyllic and free if you have solar panels etc. We’d washed up down the road in a Campervan Park, pushed to the back of the property and not really to our liking so after seeing vans parked here we quickly decanted and have a beachside view of the Valencia coast. The sea air is exhilarating !
With roast chicken, garlic and lemon potatoes… Henri IV would have been proud
An old favourite, with ridiculous amounts of concentration for a reasonably humble wine, with high acidity (and as for so much else from the South West, it’s therefore a bottle for the table).
Big profile with a touch of pineapple, lemony acidity, and a nice sort of anise finish (a sometime Cauhapé signature in my experience). If I might venture a slight criticism - and it’s true for many a Jurançon Sec from the warmer, lower, west of the appellation - it’s that it has a lick too much alcohol and lacks a touch of freshness. But who’s complaining on a cold and dreary Thursday night in January?
Having thoroughly enjoyed a bottle of this six months ago, a revised, more ambivalent, opinion this time around…
…a Chinon ‘Pierre de Tuf’ 2016, Domaine de la Noblaie.
Why the ambivlance ? Because, for the first 90 minutes after opening there was a distinctly brett-y note of Elastoplast on the nose and palate. Which, like all volatile chemicals detectable in wine in small concentrations, displaced its true character. Thankfully, as someone who fixates on perceived faults, it’s becoming less evident and intrusive with air. Otherwise, bramble berry and black cherry fruit, a touch of cedar-like spice and a savoury potting soil / damp leaf quality on the nose and palate. initially disappointing but far more enjoyable with air so would strongly recommend decanting it for an hour minimum should you have a bottle at home to enjoy yourself.
To go with it, even by my standards, hardly a photogenic plate of food…
…but the chickpea, cooked from dried, and feta salad to go with the lamb steaks was a revelation. Even for a meathead like me
Lopez de Heredia Viña Cubillo 2012. Ah, this is lovely, sweet cherries, some oak, a little funk; delightfully light on its feet with its bright acidity; again cherries and red fruits, with a touch of oak. Fair bit of tannin going on too, and a lovely finish. Delicious, just has that lightness with enough seriousness. That CNDP blanc (Clos S Michel) was rather a disappointment, a shadow of a good southern Rhone; it was recognisable, but distant, hollow, and short.
Edit- after 24hr, the CNDP has opened up a little and more drinkable, but I still don’t think it’s any better than a similar CdR. The Cubillo has also come alive with subtle, but distinct tobacco/leather aromas coming through
Strange JLL give it 4*….I know we are all wary of the upcoming Ep vintage maybe you’ve just encountered it
I’m really enjoying one of these for this evening - a 2020 Saint Cosme Principauté d’ Orange Blanc - with some roast 5-spice pork belly with rice & slow-cooked savoy cabbage with some soy & ginger & sesame oil.
This really is a lovely lovely wine - served blind, you’d imagine this to be really quite some way more expensive than the £12.95 TWS asking price. Beautiful rich slightly oily texture, lovely viscosity and pours in a luxurious coherent clean stream, and a divine floral [something of Spring daffodils in there maybe] and honeyed nose.
And the taste - wow! Subdued but rich fruit, creamy nuts, slight honey again, a dash of light subtle citrus to give a perfect balance, and with an ever so slightly light herbal lick in there somewhere.
Amazing stuff and a bargain to boot :~}
Too tight, so maybe too young. But I’ve not always agreed with his reviews anyway… Horses for courses!
Excellent, I’ve one arriving on Monday
Has Yellow Tail ever featured in the drinking threads before?
My wife opened the bottle her ex kindly bought us last night and I thought I’d try a small glass with a spicy vegan chilli.
Powerful raspberry jam on the nose, which followed through on the palate, which opened with an overwhelming sweetness, which dissipated leaving a strange acrid, burnt plastic sensation in the mid palate. No tannin to speak of, some heat despite the 12% alcohol, and a sour acidic finish. Not a rebuy.
That’s terroir. They left it in, unfiltered.