Our recent trip to Burgundy almost seems like a distant memory now, although it is actually only 6 days since we returned. Nevertheless, I still have plenty of notes from the trip to write-up, which I hope to get around to over the next few days - watch this space. Meanwhile, here are my notes on a couple of lovely white wines enjoyed over this (rather glorious) early Spring weekend.
Domaine Gayda Cuvée Occitane Blanc 2008 Vin de Pays d'Oc
This is a blend of 48% Grenache Blanc, 28% Marsanne, 16% Roussanne and 8% Viognier, sourced (as often seems to be the case with this grower) from various different parts of Languedoc and Roussillon. This one is predominantly from the Fennouilledes area of Roussillon, with some of the Marsanne coming from the Minervois sub-region of La Liviniere. It's an interesting concept (and one which Australia has pioneered for a long time) and if the wines are this good, who cares if it lacks a "single" regional identity? As I write, the bottle has actually been open for 2 days, and the wine seems all the better for it. When first opened, it had a delightful floral aroma, with notes of spring blossom and honeysuckle, but those aromas carried through to the palate in a way that was a bit too intense for my personal liking (although TLD loved it). However, 2 days later and it is really singing. There's still a hint of flowers, but also some nicely-integrated (and quite subtle, quite smoky) oak, and hints of peach and lemon zest, but with plenty of secondary/non fruity, though beautifully "winey" notes. The palate has also really settled into its stride, with gentle peach and lemon fruit flavours, a hint of earthiness and again, beautifully integrated oak (older oak, I would imagine). It also offers a delightfully tangy streak of stony minerality, making for a wine which actually possesses a good deal of complexity - it just takes a day or two in the fridge (or a year or two more in bottle, perhaps) to really show its class. As with many of Languedoc's (or in this case Roussillon's) classier oak-matured whites, this isn't too far removed from the old-style Riojas I enjoy so much. All-in-all, this is a really promising wine, which is lovely to drink now, but which may well turn into something even more interesting with 3 to 5 years more in bottle. It really is very yummy indeed, which makes me look forward even more to visiting this estate in a couple of months' time. Meanwhile, you can buy it at Cambridge Wines for £12.69.
Esporao Duas Castas 2010 Alentejo
A blend of Gouveio (a new one on me) and Verdelho, vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks for a short time on the lees. This is less serious than the Branco Reserva 2009 from the same grower that I reviewed in January, but a tasty wine nonetheless. Aromas of apples, lemons and almonds (as suggested on the Cambridge Wines website), with a hint - though not too much - of peardrops, a touch of florality and a subtle herbaceousness - a sort of halfway house between a southern Rhone blend and a Loire Sauvignon. The flavours are also dominated by apples, pears and lemons, with mouth-watering acidity to match, but a touch of depth and richness that lifts it above the merely simple. Although not particularly to my taste, it is another beautifully-made wine, which would be a lovely match for light fish dishes or even mackerel pate with a salad and vinaigrette. £9.99 at Cambridge Wines.
More on the Burgundy trip (and some really lovely wines) over the next couple of days, but for now, here are a couple of photos of a hot air balloon which drifted very low of Saint Gengoux Le Nacional last Sunday evening. My new friend the Reverend Michael Thompson (David Bennett's neighbour in Saint Gengoux) has been asking me to post these since last week! The second photo shows just how low - I hope the occupants made it back to terra firma safely - and I hope you like the photos, Father Michael!
Hot air balloon over Saint Gengoux
Hot air balloon just about in Saint Gengoux!