And welcome to the end of Dry January (almost) , with congratulations to those who made it and a Guardian reader style badge to those who almost made it (me). Its not the winning but the taking part which counts
In the glass tonight: a dark and brooding Aglianico '16. Opened yesterday so plenty of time to breath (which it needs)
Highly aromatic nose: smoky rose petals? garrigue, roasting meat. Palate is equally complex yet hard to define… best I can offer is ‘hot southern Italian’ - it’s very more-ish and although 13.5% it feels hotter. Finish a tad tannic, bitter chocolate, short. £21 is about right.
So welcome to the working week! and for those who have retired - I envy you - welcome to a Glorious February.
(my thanks to @Inbar for correcting my usual poor spelling!)
Not exactly ‘fine wine’, so thankfully no risk of it ever appearing on the Liv-Ex list of unaffordable Pinot Noir. Praise the lord for that, though, for what a pretty, delicate and joyful wine this is!
The pale and lovely cerise hue is echoed on the nose, with an appealing cherries note, but also strawberries, raspberries rose petals (maybe even peonies) and a touch of almond. Not fully light on the palate - there’s some substance and meat on the bones - with similar notes to the nose of ripe strawberries and tangy, delicious cherries, a suggestion of bay leaf savouriness and floral background. Acidity is just right - appetising and lifting and not harsh in any way.
This could be a perfect summer wine, slightly chilled. Purchased whilst in Bruges for 13 Euros - just need to ensure enough remains to enjoy with dinner…
I’m just on the tail end of a cold right now so everything is a bit muted for me. Probably should have had a beer but only thought of it after I’d opened the bottle! However, despite that, this is really gorgeous; soooooo smooooooth. Bought as part of a “Mature Rhone Mixed case” back in 2018 I guess it’s definitely mature now but drinking so well (it was £20 for the bottle back then). Pepper and forest floor and smoke; just lovely!
Ferraton Hermitage Blanc Les Miaux 2019 (14.5%, 100% Marsanne) and Dom de Tunnel St Peray Prestige Blanc 2020 (14%, 80% Marsanne, 20% Roussanne).
Maybe a bit excessive for a Monday, but who’s judging? Well… I judge these to both be very good. Not a lot in it between on the nose, all honeysuckle, walnuts, maybe even something smokey on the St Peray. But the Hermitage is better drinking. It’s savoury, acidity goes well with a slightly oily texture; all about nuts and honeysuckle and there’s also a white-peppery spice as well, touch of marzipan. Finishes goes on and on with that spice and sweet walnut nuttiness, though a touch of heat from the alcohol. Maybe this will reveal itself more in the future. Elegant and delicious. I can still taste it as I write this. That said The Tunnel is also excellent so perhaps an unfair comparison … compare and despair… It has a slightly more prominent acidity, and a lovely intensity. Smokey/nutty into the finish, which goes on a fair while. Some peppery spice lingering. Excellent… I wonder if a few years will allow this to relax into its stride as well.
I think I’m able to appreciate the quality but I’m not sure they’re my style; I’d need to be wowed to buy these again for this money.
We shared a really interesting wine last night, to accompany confit of duck. Best’s (Great Western) Nursery Block Red 2017. We bought it from the cellar door in 2018 and I knew I had to keep it a few years to settle down and evolve.
Best’s have a pre-phylloxera vineyard with a field blend of white and red varieties all mixed together and some years they vinify the harvest; in 2 lots, all the whites then all the reds ! Altogether there are 40+ varieties; some still unidentified.
The website doesn’t say too much Product - Best's Wines but at the cellar door there’s a list of them which I photographed.
It’s a so very un-Ozzie wine ! Very Burgundian and there was some quite attractive savoury and tertiary flavours competing with some of the berry fruit elements. As soon as I took a first sip, it shouted “Decant, Decant” and left it half an hour which really opened it up. Only 12.5% abv as well, a welcome feature.
A memorable very special wine. We only bought the two (the white was consumed a couple of years ago and was less interesting tbh) I can find no importer of this wine to anywhere in Europe sadly.
I was a little worried it might be over the hill, but it turned out to be delicious. Very youthful and fresh, full of dark fruit, blackberries, black plums, black cherries. It was so fruity it was almost hard to believe it was alcoholic, and certainly not the 14% on the label. Not a very complex wine but a very pleasurable drinking experience and recommended with the lentils.
Can’t remember where I got it, but probably from Waitrose; don’t think it’s ever been a TWS wine.
I picked up 18 bottles direct from the producer when released (their first organic vintage) for £17 ish each? very much a punt - and every now and then have opened a bottle to see how it’s coming along.
At last beginning to show surprisingly fragrant notes of spring cherry blossom, sandalwood, a touch of tar, very promising. The palate is still immature although there’s plenty going on - will no doubt open up after some decanter time? The rest of the bottles can stay put for at least another 5 years.
With slow-cooker leg of lamb braised in red wine. The wine being Loire Domaine Mourat Moulin Blanc Pinot Noir 2020, and I hope it cooks better than it drinks ! I had to saw the lamb leg in half to fit it in the crockpot… a scene from the battle of Trafalgar.
Update next day: 45% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec Now deeply aromatic & the spicy Petit Verdot is coming through. Drinking well and will only get better with keeping.
Well, I almost made it, but the combination of the bitterly cold weather and another wrangle with my insurers over the flooding in my flat (complicated by the ongoing issues with cladding), and I’ve sat on the sofa under the duvet with the following first drop of the year… (Château de Pitray, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 2019)
A firm member favourite and you can see why. From the ripe 2019 vintage, the fruit really shines through, with grippy burnt black fruits and integrated tannins on the palette, hints of wet slate and cherry liqueur on the nose with raisins and prunes building in the background. With the caveat that I’m sure I’d have given 5* to Echo Falls right now, this is a really terrific wine for the price.
Shame not to make it the whole distance, but 1.5 much needed stones lost and 23 new films watched means I’m quite happy with the effort. I do love wine though.
Lunch, grand tapas style,in Valencia. A modern bar but with excellent food and a good serving of Rueda with the prawns and mussels. City scape walking remains a killer but we love Valencia’s informal buzz and the Spanish enjoyment in all to do with what our French friend calls’ the life’ especially the life around the table. Not to mention the tiles! Beautiful memories of another age.