Tuesday, 5 May 2009

April tasting notes - some cracking reds (and a delicious rosé!)

Following on from yesterday's notes on white wines, here are some notes on just a few (honestly!) of the reds tasted in April..........

Chateau Saint Cosme Rosé 2007 Gigondas
OK, so not strictly a red, but this rosé was noteworthy - a lovely , rich, fruity, but serious wine, with some real complexity and none of the sweet-shop notes so often found in rosés. Although made from Grenache, it actually put me in mind of a very decent white Rhone wine.

Domaine Joblot Clos Grand Marole 2006 Givry 1er Cru
A gorgeous cherry and raspberry nose with a touch of sous bois and tar. Lovely, light, forest fruit flavours, a touch earthy, lovely acidity. A bitter/sweet/sour finish. Cracking stuff, if a touch on the light side.

Pata Negra Reserva 2003 Valdepenas
An enjoyable wine, with cherry fruit and good acidity. Light-ish, but balanced and quite refreshing, given the hot vintage. Not special, but currently on offer at Sainsburys at £3.99 and a bit of a bargain at that price.

Domaine Marcel Richaud 1999 Cairanne
A wine I bought a good few years ago on one of my visits to the domaine, this is still inky-dark, with aromas of blackberry and plum and an interesting note of iodine. Rich, fruity, herby and spicy, with a touch of chocolatey tannin and ample acidity. No rush to drink this - although I now have just one bottle left!

Castello di Ama 1986 Chianti Classico
A quick Google tells me this is 80% Sangiovese, 8% Canaiolo, with the remaining 12% Malvasia Nera and Merlot. Just a hint of brett, with complex aromas of meat, olives and lilies - all secondary aromas, elegant and rustic at the same time. It was so good, it was almost Trévallon-like! Rich fruit flavours and beautiful balance. Nicely aged, but still very much alive. A stunning wine.

Chateau Saint-Pierre 1996 Saint-Julien
Blimey - a Claret that actually appealed to me! I thought it was lovely and soft, full of interest and at the peak of its powers. It split the jury, with some others thinking it was just a rubbish, boring wine. I say "vive la difference"!

Domaine Ogier La Rosine 2004 Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
I've yet to taste a wine from this grower that was anything less than brilliant. Mind you, none of them (this one included) are cheap. This might as well be a Cote-Rotie, it is so good. What a nose - lilies, red meat, smoky bacon, gravy, even a touch of lemon zest. The palate has intense, almost ethereal acidity, with such wonderfully intense, minerally, pure Syrah fruit. A fabulous wine. I just wish that I could afford to buy these wines myself!

Domaine de Montcalmes 2004 Coteaux du Languedoc
OK, so this didn't quite reach the heights of the Ogier above, but it is pretty lovely nonetheless, and shows what Languedoc is capable of. Mostly Syrah, but with some Grenache too. A lovely nose of lilies, bacon fat and heady Syrah fruit, with carefully judged, coffee-infused oak. Rich, yet beautifully poised and elegant, with lovely acidity. A top Languedoc Syrah - and at about 15 quid, I can (and did) afford this one! I have half a dozen left and think it will age beautifully for 5 to 10 years.

Chateau des Jacques 1985 Moulin-a-Vent
Wow! So this is what they really mean by old Beaujolais taking on Pinot Noir characteristics. Almost to a man/woman, we were somewhere in the Cote d'Or with this one. My second guess would have been Rhone, which tells you something about the style of this wine. A touch muddy (to look at, not to taste) with a lovely, decayed Pinot/old Rhone nose. Full of earthy, light, tertiary aromas and flavours, it really did taste like quite a special old Burgundy. A delight to drink, and a real revelation - and not about to fall off its perch, either!

Jean Marc Morey 1990 Bourgogne Pinot Noir
How good should a 19-year-old basic Bourgogne be? Not this good, you would have thought. Deliciously light and delicately perfumed, still full of raspberry and cherry fruit and hints of leafy undergrowth. I've had several bottles of this now - the worst was still very good, if just a little tired, whilst most (including this one) have been very much alive and simply wonderful. I paid the princely sum of £72 (including commission) from a recent J Straker Chadwick auction. I think £6 a bottle for a mature Burgundy of this quality makes it my bargain of the year. Unfortunately, I have just 2 or 3 bottles left. :-(

Delas Freres Marquise de La Tourette 1991 Hermitage
This simply screams mature northern Rhone Syrah. Red and black berry, violet and smoky bacon aromas and flavours, with amazing poise and elegance. Lovely wine.

Domaine Mont Redon 1998 Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Lovely, rich Grenache and Syrah(?) nose. Rich palate, but beautifully soft and earthy. Balanced and elegant and really lovely - a real surprise, for what has turned out to be an extremely variable vintage in southern Rhone.

Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2003 Cotes du Rhone
This is a cracker. A touch bretty, perhaps, but with some real complexity. Black fruits, Bovril, mushroom, earth on the nose. All manner of slightly baked red and black fruit flavours and an interesting note of roast pork! I really loved it - a revelation.

Domaine du Vieux Télégraph 1983 Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Somewhat bretty and barnyardy, but with a lovely core of fruit - amazing for such an old Chateauneuf. Raspberries and strawberries and undergrowth. Lovely mature fruit, and so light on its feet, with ample acidity and an almost Burgundinan elegance. A gorgeous wine, from my favourite Chateauneuf grower.

Leon Stolarski

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