Sunday, 23 May 2010

An amazing 17 year-old Cornish wine

I've tasted a good many English wines over the last few years and, to be honest, the only one that really excited me was a vintage Nyetimber (1999, I think) with a few years of bottle age. Until this week, that is, when one of the Nottingham Wine Circle members produced this amazing little beauty....

Veryan Huxelrebe and Madeleine Angevine Medium Dry 1993 Cornish Table Wine
Yes, you read it correctly, a 1993 English wine. Or Cornish, to be exact - and just in case you miss it on the main label, there's a small sticker which proudly states "Made in Cornwall". For the uninitiated (and that includes me!) the back labels states as follows;

"Huxelrebe was bred in 1927 at the Alzey Research Institute from Gutedal & Courtillier Musque. Madeleine Angevine7672 was introduced into the UK by Barrington Brock in 1957 and probably originated in Siebeldingen."

Well that clears that up, then!

Anyway, what of the wine itself? This being a blind tasting, some people were guessing Germany (possibly Riesling or Muller Thurgau), whereas others were in Alsace (Pinot Gris or Blanc). When those were ruled out, we were all over the place (Luxembourg, Austria, Hungary, etc). It was only by a slow process of elimination that somebody finally suggested England. "Sort of", came the reply. "Cornwall, actually". We guessed wildly at the vintage, but nobody got close to 1993. I have to say that I have tasted many a wine with a far more aristocratic reputation that gave far less enjoyment than this 17 year-old Cornish beauty. The nose was quite complex, with aromas of Cox's Orange Pippin, lime marmalade, kerosene and brioche.The palate was citrus and stone fruit, with a good deal of stoney minerality, almost Riesling-like. Steely dry, but with a depth and richness brought on by years of bottle age - lime marmalade again. It was surprisingly long and complex, and very much alive. Everybody seemed to like it, but I really loved it, so much so that I took the bottle home at the end and enjoyed the last half glass the next day (and it was still lovely). Frankly, this is a wine that I would gladly drink a lot more of - so if anybody reading this happens to have a few bottles lurking in their cellar, please let me know. ;-)  In fact, it was one of the most pleasant wine surprises I can remember, and ranks right up there with the unbelievably good Lohengrin Liebfraumilch 1987 (in a 1 litre bottle) I took to a tasting 4 years ago!

It seems that Wine Circle Secretary David Selby can do no wrong with the amazing selection of wines he brings every week. Usually, they are a lot more "special", but this little gem gave me (and others) much pleasure.

If you are even geekier than me about wine and want to know more about Huxelrebe and Madeleine Angevine, here's a couple of links;

Happy reading!

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