I’m on holiday so why not kick us off? Both the Carignano and Vermentino from last night have improved with a day recorked in the fridge. The Vermentino showed more fruit - and was better slightly warmer than fridge temperature as well. The Carignano is more balanced, less chewy, with a pepper note dominating the finish. Definitely a wine worth introducing to a decanter. There is a very good wine shop in Villasimius so I will be making a kid free run before we head home.
Altos deTorona Albarino Rias Baixas 2016
Absolutely my last, last bottle of this anywhere in the house and very good it is too. Lots of lemon flavours and just a little saltiness. Happy to drink it, sorry to see it go!
Oh, thought I’d posted a link, but dont seem to be able to.
Trying moderation tonight. This hits the spot nicely.
I tried my first Cypriot wine last night:
This full bodied leggy red was a little heavy on the nose, with oak and a whiff of nail varnish, but surprisingly smooth and fruity on the palate. Had to have it chilled so it didn’t evaporate in the Cypriot heat. Thumbs up!
Spent today driving along one of the island’s seven wine routes buying far more bottles than I’ll be able to carry back. Barbeque tonight, and some tough decisions ahead, but will post a few more notes on the Cypriot thread in due course.
We were out tasting at Frédéric Mochel today.
It’s the second visit for us, and won’t be the last. They’ve got a dry and food-friendly house style, and their crémant is outstanding - 80% chardonnay and 20% pinot noir, so from champagne grapes rather than the usual Alsace pinot blanc base, and aged for 3 years on lees giving plenty of toasty, yeasty, orchardy richness. Great riesling and muscat too, both in classique and Grand Cru form from the Altenberg de Bergbeiten. The GC riesling stays very dry, mineral and vertical, while the GC muscat pulls off the trick of adding some sugar to fill out the mouthfeel (17 g/l), while keeping a freshness to the nose, and an acidity that makes it still seem quite dry. I suspect that it will age quite a lot better than many muscats - I intend to keep back a bottle and see.
What’s to celebrate this week? No, not the European elections. Ah yes! France! 30th May is the feast day of St Joan of Arc. Some regard her as France’s second patron saint. Sadly this maid had to wait 500 years. In 1920, the Roman Church had found three nuns in Ireland who could testify to the required three miracles. So the pope canonised her. The reason for the delay was because some English soldiers saw her boobs when she swapped clothes with a man.
Equally sad is that the blame for St Joan’s martyrdom has always fallen on Les Anglais. She was tried by her own people, in her own country. The English weren’t involved. But we lit the fire.
She was burnt at Rouen. Any wine suggestions?
It’s The Boy’s birthday today, so something from his birth year, why not:
Yum. Smells like blackberry crumble. Nice balance on the palate, still a bit of grip there; I’ll try another one on his 7th.
This is a real find. Very pretty, almost floral Grenache with lots of red fruit flavours, rose petal, oregano, a really pleasing sweetness without excessive weight. It’s 15% but you would never know it, this is the 2015 and I would not hold onto it as the tannins are in the background already so if the fruit backs off the heat will show. But really well done, buon vino have the 2016 at £16.50 which if comparably good feels a good qpr for me, at €14.50 locally it’s very good indeed.
A little bit of Assyrtiko with s**t football and a dark episode of Game of Thrones tonight. The wine easily the highlight. It is a triumph, like top Puligny, just more interesting with the salinity.
Had a friend visiting Monday and Tuesday and we consumed this:
A lovely mature Rioja. Rich, deep, smooth with beautifully integrated tannins and acidity. Definitely recommended! And pretty good value at £18.50 (well £19 now!) for a Gran Reserva.
Then went for some nice easy drinking last night:
This is exceptional value for money. Dark fruit forward with a hint of conifer and spice and pretty much no tannin. A little short maybe and lacking in complexity but with this level of smooth full flavoured wine at £6.50 who’s complaining!
Got some of this in my latest order, looking forward to trying! A very different label though, thought I was sent the wrong wine at first.
Also in the order was the Bin #001 which I tried last night. It took a while to come round, thought I had a dud at first given all the coments, but eventually it opened up and the delicious dark fruit shone thorugh. Also stood up to some spicy buffalo cauliflower! It’s a heavy wine though.
Me and the other half attended a tasting in Hove last night, run by Quaff. The theme was ‘Obscure France’ – which, in many cases, translates to ‘South West France’. This was, indeed, the case with some of the wines, but there were a couple other gems. We tasted 8 in all – so here are some thoughts:
Le Rocher des Violettes, Petilant Original, Loire Valley 2014 (£21)
Not exactly an ‘Obscure France’ location-wise, but they wanted to show the pet-nat, minimal intervention style, and there were a few people in the room for whom the style was completely new. It had a very intense nose of yeast, bread dough and sour cream from the lees; not much else. The taste was that usual mix of sour apples with some faint breadiness which I am not all that enamoured with. The husband thought it tasted like his homebrewed Saison beer, but in all honesty – I prefer his Saison to this. Not my thing – though interesting to try!
‘Le Veritable’ Gros Manseng, Jurançon 2017 (£9.99)
I’ve had a few examples of Jurançon Sec now, and this wasn’t as good. It had an interesting nose, for sure – vanilla, some peach and something herbal too, but the palate was fairly simple, with stone fruit and a (pleasant enough) mandarine/orange acidity on the finish. It was good, but nothing compared to, say, wines from Domaine Cauhapé.
Pinot Gris ‘Les Elements’, Domaine Bott-Geyl, 2016 (£19.99)
This was like coming home from the cold – somewhere familiar, loved and understood. Again, Alsace is hardly ‘obscure’ – but actually, quite a few people in the room didn’t know where in France Alsace is, let alone the fact that this IS the ultimate expression of Pinot Gris… beautiful wine, full of stone fruit, ginger and delicate spice, med+ finish, dry and moreish. The husband went into a state of ecstasy.
Clos St Jean Tradition, Cote Roannaise 2016 (£13.99)
I really liked this ‘Beaujolais wannabe’… the nose was showing a bit of age, with some mushroom, earth and spice; the palate was a classic Gamay- cherry, bramble a bit of red plum and even a touch of liquorice. Medium body and light tannins made this very quaffable. The other half was not moved much, though he loves Gamay usually.
Cuvee des Drilles, Domaine d’Escausses, Gaillac 2016 (£11.50)
This one was the surprise of the evening – a real find! We liked it so much for its weirdness, that we bought some. It’s got the strangest nose I’ve ever encountered in a red; bitter orange, cloves (in fact, make it ‘orange studded in cloves and chucked into mulled wine’), something intensely herbal/medicinal, and a pronounced pepperiness. This is made from Duras – never had this grape before- with some Fer and Gamay. They decanted it for 2 hours, and I’m glad they did because we thought it would be furry and undrinkable – but it was incredibly smooth, with orange peel, clove and cardamom too. In fact, it was like a dry mulled wine, if that makes sense! Great stuff!
Domaine du Cros, Le Sang del Pais, Marcillac 2016 (£12.99)
This was one of the first wines we bought from TWS, so I needed no converting. Great light red, with fine tannins and a lively acidity – rustic, yes, but pleasantly so, with cherries, red plum and raspberries underpinned by this irony/blood taste you get from the Fer Servadou grape. Yum!
Chateau Montus, Madiran 2012 (£28)
Wowzers! This one was a monster, just barely tamed. Incredible deep colour – and nose which was more port than anything else. Deep dark fruit, stewed plums, black tea, tobacco leaf and coffee - intense nose and even more intense palate. Again, they decanted it for 2 hours (indeed, poured it from the decanter), and thank god for that. We loved its gutsy, kick-ass concentrated flavours, and if it weren’t for the price- we would have bought a couple. Highly recommended, if you got a dark side.
Domaine de Clayou, Coteaux du Layon, 2018 (£13.99)
From the Beast, to the beauty! It is baffling why the wines from the Coteaux du Layon aren’t more celebrated (other than by wine enthusiasts, of course). What a delicate, floral, peachy and citrussy ensemble! That Chenin Blanc acidity kept the sweetness in balance, and it had a long and fruity finish, with a tingle of orange zest which just went on and on.
A great way to finish a very pleasurable evening!
Had this last night with some creamy chicken, leek and bacon pie.
Great wine for the price. Lively acidity. Some hints of cru Bojo but with a bit more earthiness about it. Loads of interest and think it could age in the short to medium term. I’ll be back for more.
Tonight it’s all about the Txakoli! Yes the local brew and very nice it is too. Very reminiscent of vino verde.
Spicy stir-fry with this tonight. Chilli and a bit of residual sugar usually work a treat together.
Lovely wine, coped with some rather strong chilli. Mandarin, nectarine and pineapple and spice; a hint of fairground toffee apple perhaps? Super value at under £10. Will buy more from Pfeffingen.
Funny, I opened my bottle last night and initially wasn’t too impressed either, but as @tom describes, it just needs some air and time. Definitely a little rustic, but in an enjoyable way. I have another bottle, so will keep that for another 6 months and see if it changes. Would have bought a case of 6 perhaps, but glad I resisted the offer of 12 before it sold out.
Update: Having a glass with a medium lamb curry and it’s doing really rather well. There’s not much tannin and some sweetness which helps cope with a bit of spice. The alcohol makes it seem a little ‘hot’ though.
Had a half bottle of this at a local restaurant with fresh grilled fish. Really excellent, great value at 10 euros, lovely balanced seafood wine with freshness and citrus acidity but a bit of weight as well and I see previous vintages have 90 and 91 scores from Galloni. Recommended.
Busy couple of (holi-)days on the wine front:
yesterday evening and
this evening (started by finishing the Status 99).
Some of these Cypriot wines are absolute bangers. Too busy drinking, still haven’t got around to writing more!
Love that series.