Friday, 29 April 2011

Some wines enjoyed over an extended Easter holiday

Just thought I'd take time out from writing-up my Burgundy trip notes to tell you about a few interesting wines we've enjoyed at home over the last week or so..........

Bodegas Campillo Reserva Especial 1995 Rioja
As befits a wine with 22 months' oak ageing and a further 14 years in bottle, this has a definite mahogany tinge. There's also a touch of mahogany to the nose as well (of the polished variety) which is rather attractive, in a relatively non-fruit sort of way. That said, there are some nice cherries-in-eau-de-vie aromas and a faint whiff of strawberries and cream. I'm not sure this was made in an entirely "old-school Rioja" way, and it may well have been quite chunky and rich in its youth, but it has certainly evolved into something quite evocative, with some really enticing woody/old oak, exotic spice and autumnal forest floor aromas. The palate is initially quite rich and powerful, but there's an underlying elegance to it - sort of a halfway house between Bordeaux and Burgundy. Again, the fruit flavours are verging on the secondary - red cherry and wild strawberries and again a touch of eau de vie - but the marriage of fruit, wood, tannin and healthy acidity really does work very nicely indeed, with the "wininess" lingering for quite a while on the finish. In fact, if a Martian asked you "what does wine smell and taste like?", then this would be a perfect example. Whilst it isn't quite a profound wine, it is certainly a very good one, which seems to me to be in a perfect place rght now. Drink now or keep for perhaps another 3 to 5 years. 13.0% abv.

Domain Org de Rac Family Reserve Shiraz 2005, Swartland, South Africa
Quite a deep blood red colour, with a narrow carmine rim. The nose offers enticing aromas of bramble and raspberries, with a touch of eau de vie, some interesting bready and savoury/meaty notes and just a hint of tar. If there's any oak, it is very much in the background, because this is all about fruit - and some pretty good fruit, at that. The palate is initially quite rich and chewy, but not overly dense, with lovely bright bramble flavours, firm (but also quite fine) tannins and a lovely backbone of acidity. In fact there's a lightness (in a good way) that you don't often encounter in new world Shiraz, and whilst I would hesitate to compare it to a northern Rhone Syrah, neither does it fit the template of a new world blockbuster. The finish is warm and spicy, with a lovely sweet and sour note lingering on the palate, and the 14.5% abv really doesn't show, in what is really quite a balanced wine. It isn't complex, but neither is it a simple quaffer, and although lovely to drink now, I'd be interested to see what it does over the next few years. A nice wine. 14.5% abv.

Mas de Morties 1995 Coteaux du Languedoc Pic Saint-Loup
This is a remarkably youthful colour, given that this is almost 16 years old - deepish blood red at the core with a raspberry rim. The nose is fragrant with scents of garrigue herbs and spices, leather, meat/savoury and plenty of fruity nuances - raspberry and bramble, wild strawbs and a touch of citrus. The palate is initially quite reticent, almost as if the fruit has faded. But lo and behold - after half an hour in the decanter, it really begins to blossom, albeit in a fairly secondary way. All of those fruits begin to emerge, along with myriad savoury and earthy elements, soft spices and again garrigue herbs, complemented by almost-resolved tannins and juicy citrus-tinged acidity. It really is delicious. I've tasted a bottle or two of this wine before - indeed, this bottle was given to me by my friend and local restaurateur, CY Choong, as thanks for a favour - and it has never failed to impress. It is yet another example of a Languedoc wine with plenty of bottle age that more than holds its own against wines from much loftier appellations and regions. And yet it screams Languedoc - it simply could not be from anywhere else. And therein lies the moral of the story....... fine Languedoc wines such as this may be deliciously drinkable when young, but also have the capacity to age very gracefully indeed! A really lovely wine.

Domaine Treloar Tahi 2007 Cotes du Roussillon
I've waited a long time to taste this wine, since its predecessor the 2006 was released a good 3 years ago (and is still a baby, in terms of evolution). And I have to say, it has certainly been worth the wait. It is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, with a dense but bright purple core leading to a tiny cherry red rim. The nose exudes class, with considerably complex aromas including (but by no means limited to) black cherries, bramble, citrus fruits, garrigue herbs, incense and licorice, and a cloak of gently toasty, beautifully integrated oak. As the colour would suggest, the palate is dense, concentrated and tightly-knit, but not so much as to hide a certain degree of subtlety, with a huge core of juicy black fruits and exotic spiciness, complemented by firm but very fine tannins and tangy acidity. Although I wouldn't dare to suggest it is ready to drink yet, those curious enough to try a bottle at this early stage - preferably with food, of course - would certainly not be disappointed, because all of the components necessary for a very fine wine are there. Indeed, although the 2006 was a hard act to follow, I think this 2007 just about shades it, because of its sheer complexity and potential for elegance. And whilst the 2006 is probably another 8 to 12 years away from its peak, this one may get there a little quicker - but I suspect it will also stay there for longer. This will be available for purchase via my website in a few days, priced at £17.95 (and if you are on my mailing list, you'll be amongst the first to hear about it). A benchmark Roussillon wine - and for me the finest Treloar red yet. 14.0% abv.

Kurt Hain Piesporter Domherr Riesling Auslese 2009 Mosel
This is not one of the wines I feature on my list (i.e. sell) but, although I didn't get to taste it when I visited the Kurt Hain winery last year, I was interested enough to buy a bottle. At 17 Euros from the cellar door, it isn't particularly cheap (and if I were to sell it, the price would be around £22) but then again it isn't overly expensive, in comparison to other top Mosel growers' Auslesen wines. And, although at this early stage it is yet to fully display the sheer vivacity and "zinginess" of the Kabinett and Spatlese wines from the same grower, it certainly has the structure to evolve beautifully towards its peak (which I would say will be at least another 10 years). At just 7.0% abv, it is currently all about the fruit - and lots of it. Aromas of apricot, mandarin orange, lemon zest and lime oil fairly leap from the glass, accompanied by subtle hints of apple pie, basil and wet slate. Come to think of it, there's even a touch of florality as well. The flavours are super-intense, with all of those lovely aromas manifesting themselves on the palate, in a way that fills the senses and lingers for an age. In fact, as it opens up over the course of half a day, this wine really begins to blossom, to the extent that the acidity really comes to the fore - both on the nose and in the mouth - thus revealing some of the promise that lies ahead. Of course, I would happily sit and drink a whole bottle of this myself, such is its sheer deliciousness and up-front fruitiness, but it really does deserve to be kept for a few more years, in order to fulfil its enormous potential. A real cracker, which can only get better. 7.0% abv.


AlanM said...

I was lucky enough to taste the Tahi in barrel it is a corker and will become fabulous.
That Auslese sounds terrific too, I'm craving a glass as I sit here

Leon Stolarski said...

There's plenty more where that Auslese came from, Alan. ;-)

Graham said...

Great to see you've given the Languedoc a look in.
Used to drink Mories quite a bit in the mid-1990s. It was a bit bretty at times which I quite liked, but I think the winery was gutted and re-fitted around 1995 or soon after plus they started making fancy cuvees and the like.
Nearby Mas Bruguiere can also age well in some years but a 1995 would be well past it by now. I presume the Morties was old enough that it could have come from anywhere (reasonably hot).

Leon Stolarski said...

"Great to see you've given the Languedoc a look in."

Graham - how could you say such a thing?! I have to drink other rubbish sometimes, you know! ;-)

In my experience, good Pic Saint-loup can age very well. I remember visiting Clos Marie (before anyone else had heard of them) and buying some "basic" red, which was Christophe's only red cuvée at the time, and it aged beautifully for nearly 10 years.

I'm not sure what you mean in your last sentence, but if you mean did it *taste* like it could have come from anywhere, the answer is no - it tasted like an aged Pic Saint-Loup.

AlanM said...

I will order some o your German wines soon Leon honest.
Graham I'm a big fan of Bruguiere, terrific value for money too

Vinogirl said...

Great selection of wines for your home consumption...I'm jealous.

Graham said...

Thanks Leon. If a 1995 tasted like an aged Pic St Loup (rather than just a very mature wine) then that is remarkable. Perhaps it was a year with good acidity.