Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A few wines tasted recently

Over the last three weeks I seem to have gone from intensive holiday blogging to taking a complete holiday from blogging! To be honest, although I have been busy doing lots of other things, I've also been a bit lazy. When the sun is shining and the weather is hot (and we've at least had a decent amount of that, so far this summer) it can sometimes be a bit of an effort to make yourself do something that you know you really should do, but don't actually have to do. I've spent far too much time enjoying Le Tour de France, The Open Golf Championship and various other sporting extravaganzas - lazy, I know, but we all need to chill out occasionally. We have also been tasting through quite a few sample wines (of which more, in a future post) and enjoying the delights of our new gas barbecue - possibly the bargain of the year at £100, from wilkinsononline. It's brilliant - here's a photo of my new pride and joy......

Nevertheless, the longer I go without blogging, the more I feel I'm letting the side down - after all, I have millions (well, tens, at least!) of followers, hanging onto my every word! So I'd better get the ball rolling again. I'll start with a few thoughts on some nice wines tasted over the last couple of weeks at Nottingham Wine Circle....

Michel Lynch Reserve 2006 Graves
Glory be - a white Bordeaux that really hits the spot! Actually, I seem to have a better success rate with the whites from this region than the reds, 90% of which leave me wondering how on earth they gained the reputation they have (and I'm talking classed growths, as well as the lesser wines). Anyway, this had lovely aromas of licourice and fennel, cloves and woodsmoke, with lemony, minerally fruit and classy oak - a really complete nose.The palate was just as good - spicy, herby, rich and warming, with a core of citrus fruit, subtle oak and a backbone of minerally acidity. Lovely stuff, which makes me think I should explore white Bordeaux a little more.

Domaine du Closel "La Jalousie" 2000 Savennieres
Wet stone/slate, wool and herbs - a classic Chenin Blanc nose. Gently oxidative on the palate, with not a lot in the way of fruit flavours, but lots of complex mineral and secondary notes - stoney, cheesy, even sweaty. If you've never tasted lean, austere, steely Savennieres before, it probably sounds awful, but it isn't - it is wine for contemplation (and food). Austere, but classy.

Schug Chardonnay 2005 Carneros, California
Oaky, in a typically Californian style, but not big. Classy Chardonnay fruit and evident (but not clumsy) oak and deep, mineral flavours, like a weighty Meursault. Not exactly subtle, or even particularly complex, but an impressive, enjoyable wine.

Domaine Bachelot Vieille Vignes 1996 Gevrey-Chambertin
Boy, this was a stunner - rich and fruity, with a seductive lick of oak vanillin. The palate was amazingly bright, fruity, full of vitality and with a huge backbone of intense, mouth-watering acidity and intense fruit flavours, laced with cloves and flowers. Amazingly elegant and right at the peak of its drinking window (though it will hold for a good few years, I guess). A brilliant and beguiling wine, which probably wouldn't convert lovers of new world Pinot, but is a Burgundy lover's delight. Village Burg doesn't get much better!

Noel Verset 1996 Cornas
Oh my goodness, what a lovely wine! Aromas of lilies, bacon, herbs and spring flowers, with a waft of slate/schist minerality. The palate is savoury, but oh-so fruity, in a slightly rustic, tangy sort of way. Which is just how a great Cornas should be - at ease with its imperfections and effortlessly seductive. It has stunning acidity, with lovely, complex flavours of apple, bramble, cassis and spices, with just the right level of tannin to keep it all together. A gorgeous wine and a great match (and indeed the equal) of the Bachelot Gevrey.

Dr Hermann "H" Riesling 2009 QBA
This is the first Mosel Riesling from the 2009 vintage I have tasted and - for a humble QBA (in theory, the most basic level in the German wine hierarchy) it was brilliant, and easily a match for many a Kabinett and Auslese I have tasted. It is aromatic, slatey, orangey and even winey (in a primary, grapey sort of way). The palate is packed full of bright, minerally, lemon and apricot-tinged fruit, with fantastic acidity. It alsmost seems a shame to drink this at such a young age, because it will certainly improve and evolve with a few years in bottle, but it is just so lovely now. Young Riesling at its best.

Clemancey Freres 1984 Fixin-Les-Hervelots
26 years of age and still going strong - well, sorf of! It had a pungent, almost gassy (if you get my drift) sort of stink, when first poured, along with forest floor, old wood and decaying fruit. in other words, when the gassy notes "blew off"(!) it was a classic old Burgundy, and really quite alluring. Peppery, spicy, almost Syrah-like fruit, yet very light and even austere, with minerality and acidity to spare. Elegant, in a grand old dame sort of way.

Clos des Papes 1996 Chateauneuf du Pape
My note was rather brief, but you'll get the picture. Bretty and funky, but full of fruit. Fresh - even light - but hugely elegant, in the typically "Burgundian" Clos des Papes style, with lovely acidity (a rare treat in Chateauneuf), good balance and good length. Lovely to drink now, but will certainly keep a while. Does Clos des Papes ever make a bad wine? If they do, I've yet to taste one. Shame their prices are now heading for the 50 quid-a-bottle mark.

Over the next few posts, I'll tell you all about a couple more visits I made whilst on holiday in France, plus a trip to London, where I was on the judging panel of the Beziers White Wine Competition(!)


Anonymous said...

Love reading your blog, Leon. Isn't Verset's Cornas just lovely!

Leon Stolarski said...

Indeed, Guy - as with all great growers, Verset's wines are almost always a joy to drink. Shame he has retired now (well into his 90's, I believe).

Anyway, keep reading - and spread the word! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Also delighted to read your report on the Verset Cornas Leon. I have planned to do a tasting of 1996 Northern Rhones in a month or two and the Verset was one of four Cornas I dredged out of my cellar for it.