Domaine Arena Blanc Biancu Gentile 2016
A new wine and varietal for me from Corsica. Sadly now out of stock, this was very satisfying. TWS note is good: “fresh-flavoured, fragrant dry white with a touch of flint and wild herb.” More than a hint of flint I’d say and a lovely pineapple nose and taste. Extraordinarily long finish.
‘Old & rare whisky’ online - however I had their only bottle. I was actually looking for the 2022 ‘Campbeltown Loch’ for under £40, but stumbled upon the old bottle by chance. If you ever see one, buy it!
They say that whisky does not change or mature once bottled, however I disagree - there is a brown sugar / mustiness which developes which is very agreable. I think the cask influences also become more integrated.
The standard 2022 'Loch is certainly worth trying, not outstanding but pretty good for the price in my opinion.
Ach I should have photographed the glass tilted, it was deep at the core but almost crimson at the rim. Very fragrant, filling the large glass with dark fruit. The fruit continued on the palate, I couldn’t quite place it, not quite damson, not quite blackberry. This was offset by some lovely graphite, really nicely in balance, with the barest hint of cinnamon at the end. Nicely textured in the mouth with fine tannins, a somewhat layered density, and just the right amount of polish. It started off a bit firm (I didn’t decant) but relaxed over the course of the evening. It didn’t change much except for maybe the spice note showing a bit more. For me, drinkable now both with and without food, even at the firm start. I’m not sure how the wine will develop; I’m looking forward to finding out but I also feel no need to wait for the second bottle.
I’m going to cook something nice and more appropriate for my partner’s return this evening, but this Saint-Julien was perfect with burger and chips taken out from a local independent!
This is my first Moueix, and I know I’ve seen some disparaging remarks about it, but it is a fine easy drinking St Emilion; no great complexity (but what can you expect from a £13.50 St E!) however it is very smooth and rounded. I wonder if it might have been a bit of a fruit bomb in its youth but it’s nicely balanced and slipped down very easily now.
Technically Friday so the weekend. But hey ho - it’s not like I’m DRINKING the wine, just a taste while decanting for later
Slightly narked the vintage is 2020, not 2018 as description. But given that this is more of a translucent scarlet rosé (same colour as the label) - young is a good thing. Same grape / different clone to Barolo, yet almost zero tannin (Beaujolais Village).
Quite aromatic - I might chill it slightly. Tonight with steak tartare & garden potatoes (the first of the pink fir apples).
Last night Oak Bistro hosted the third meeting of the Cambridge group - ably organised by @Andrew1990. An excellent time was had, and it was good to see @thewinelake and @Fenman again, and to have @Rafa join us for the first time, together with various spouses, partners and ringers. Here was the lineup:
A bit invidious to try to pick a favourite, as the quality was uniformly high. A few notes:
Janisson Baradon Champagne Brut Nature. 50/50 chardonnay/pinot noir, but I’d have put it as higher chardonnay. Quite a lifted style, but some biscuity lees there too.
Terlan Vorberg Pinot Bianco. I’d never have guessed this was a high-altitude wine, or a pinot bianco for that matter. Rich, but well balanced.
Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis 2019. I have very little experience of this grape variety, but liked this a lot. It was fragrant and a bit spicy on the finish.
Bruno Sorg Muscat GC Pfersigberg 2017. Very fragrant on the nose, a bit of sweet attack, and then dry, mineral and minty through to the finish. Very typical of this wine, and a well structured vintage.
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Rully Les Cailloux, 2017. Not too oaky - more apparent on the palate than on the nose - with lots of refreshing acidity too. Rounded and classy.
Rolly Gassmann Pinot Noir Réserve Rolly Gassmann 1991. Yes, 1991. Despite its age, it still had lots of fruit and freshness. Soft tannins, and proof that Alsace pinot noir can be built to age.
Little Beauty Marlborough Pinot Noir (not sure of the vintage). Fresh and fruity, but probably the simplest wine of the evening.
Forrest Limited Edition Central Otago Pinot Noir. Far more complexity and intensity of fruit and acidity, and the clear winner of the two NZ PNs
Domaine Ardhuy Savigny-Lès-Beaune PC Aux Clous 2017. Still young, still lots of red fruit, but some nice savoury goodness to add interest - a bit of forest floor.
Château des Jacques Morgon Côte du Puy 2018. Very tight on opening, to the extent that I wondered if it might be slightly TCA affected, but happily not - it blossomed more and more as the evening went on. Long and sappy, but the fullest of the reds. Needs more age, though, to really strut its stuff.
Contino Viña del Olivo, 2009. Quite sweet coconuty oak, and a textbook Rioja. I’m no connoisseur of the style, though, so others might like to fill in some more detail!
Chateau Raymond Lafon Sauternes, 2009. The one bottle that’s not in the picture, and glorious in both colour and taste. All the rich, apricoty, candied peel and dried fruit that Sauternes can bring, but all the balanced acidity too, which made for a wonderful end to the meal.
Thanks again to @Andrew1990 for his valiant cat-herding efforts in getting us together, and I’m very much looking forward to the next one, whenever it is.
After two days of listening to staff moaning and complaining about each other I felt the need for something straightforward and alcoholic when I got home and Le stopgap fitted the bill nicely.
It’s not memorable but eminently quaffable. Fresh and ripe and just a little bit of zing. It’s not decent burgundy but at the price it doesn’t need to be - I’ll buy again !
Watney’s ALSO made an excellent real ale (I think it was called… London Bitter?) - I used to grab a pint at Kings Cross station back in the day - WAY before the real ale revolution. Sadly that isn’t often remembered.
Their brewery also sat on prime real estate land (I think?) in the City. So Money did the talking.
Back in the UK after a week in Lake Garda (er… well, next to it at least). Intended to post a regular update but a quick cover off of some highlights:
Massolino Dolcetto d’Alba 2021 - about €10. Very, very young - tightly wound and intense, but at this price point I’d happily grab a case in the UK and cellar for a couple of years. Makes me think that his Barolo, of which I have two vintages in Stevenage, needs a good 10 years.
Dining at Osteria Rivelin - recommended. With a challenging four-year-old, less so. The Fulvio Beo an interesting sparkling wine for the price, and a very pleasant corvina from the list too. Very simple food and wine, and an ex-dairy steak bigger than someone’s head.
Vineyard tour at a tiny (3ha) local place. Again, recommended. An interesting guy who does natural wine because it feels right (and has gone for the full natural winemaker look). Started in 2019 having stopped selling the family grapes to a collective. Passionate about his craft, makes decent Chiaretto with insane vintage variation (2019 / 2020 were like wines from a different vineyard). Unconvinced by the only available vintage of his sparkling rose, and his Corvina white is more a curio wine. His reds have promise - again, huge vintage variation which he took as a compliment.
My previous report of torrential rain did not hold through the week, but impressive night thunderstorms did.
TWS used to stock the Massolino Dolchetto. I bought a couple of bottles of the '17 a while back and liked it so much I bought another half case. However, I assume it didn’t sell well as it was discounted when I bought it again and I haven’t see it since.