Posted by: jmbwineblog | June 8, 2010

Some Wines from Before Piemonte…

First of all, a bit of an apology to those who have been waiting a few weeks to read anything new from me; its been quite hectic the last few weeks, and I haven’t had much time to think for myself of late… which has led to a lack of posting here. Over the next few weeks, you will probably experience a bit of a mind field of great new posts about people you will have never have heard of, but first some stuff that you can most certainly pick up in the UK and most other wine importing countries.

To celebrate the return to the UK of my soon to be wife, with some friends, we opened up a bottle of NV Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle which I had given her as a gift almost a year beforehand:

minerals, pepper, white pepper, ripe apples, chalk, nice licquorice lift, a very delicate slightly nutty, baby vomit finish. Classy but not a WOW Champagne, great for aperitifs or celebrations. *****

We went out for a quick meal at Carluccios later on, and as one does drinks something Italian… and in this case White as the others are bigger on their whites than their reds, and for me at the lower end of the price spectrum although you have to pay more to get great white wines, for Reds it is certainly a case of stay away from the cheap stuff. I duely picked out a 2008 Terre di Chieti, Pecorino by Umani Ronchi, probably not their most fantastic wine, but when you consider the quality of the wines from them in Abruzzo, and what you have to pay for the same quality elsewhere, you are always on to a winner:

pepper, pecorino cheese, nuts, vanilla, minerals, crisp, fresh, nice and easy drinking. Solid wine with a nice nutty, apple and pear drop finish; mineral as oppose to fruity. ****

Many moons ago… well actually last November… I’d given our gracious host a bottle of one of the most splendid top Cuvee Champagnes that I have tried from a top vintage. The number of times I have now tried it is absurd, but it really is that good. Having said that it is starting to shut down now, and if you are serious about trying this wine, you’ll need to wait a little longer!! Anyhow, because I love it so much, I have always seemed to bring a bottle when she was going to open it… Christmas, New Years, felt like Champagne (the usual excuses), but this time there was no better opportunity. My fiancee and this family get on like a house on fire, so whilst we were out eating, this bottle of 2002 Cuvee Josephine, par Joseph Perrier, was chilling happily in the fridge awaiting our return:

peach, minerals, chalk, wonderful depth, crisp apples, hugely concentrated and poised with white plum, floral, elderflower notes as well. Balanced, apple, pear, brilliant stuff. A special wine with time on its side. Wonderful length, mineral, chalky, apple, still very youthful but drinking. Superb. ******(*+)

Next on the list was a bottle of wine given to me by a friend after she heard that I was in the wine trade. Her father is a winemaker and used to own a huge amount of vines, now he has two hectares, but still with about 11 different grape varieties. Most of the land he has sold is to his neighbours, one of whom he consults for and the wines there are quite brilliantly made and to a quality that belies their price, they are Weingut Prectl, but this is the 2006 Gruner Veltliner by Weingut Doeller:

nuts, almond syrup, honey, rich, floral, ever so slightly white peppery, cooked lemons, butter, minerals, earth, balanced and intriguing. Fudge, really nice but not to everyone’s taste! Very different to the same wine from the next door neighbours at Prectl. Clear signs of minerality and terroir! ***** [the next day we polished off the bottle: still holding up well, more mineral and classic white pepper, less sweetness, but now with hints of tea leaf, lanolin and beeswax coming through. *****]

The next day was barbeque day, after we’d stayed over, and as usual I was charged with going to get some wines that we would drink before the crowds arrived!! This always means a trip to the Sampler and some quickfire (or slowfire depending on what is in the machines) sampling… I started with a 1996 Bonnes Mares by Comte Georges de Vogue:

bonfire, burnt matches, plum, cherry, glycerin, wild raspberry, very primary and delicate, nice concentration and balance, a touch green, mineral, stony charactar meaning that it needs a bit more time, shy finish, a touch medicinal and perfumed. ***(**+)

Then it was onto some 1993 Penfolds Grange:

pepper, blackcurrant jam, earth, tar, cassis, smooth but not giving a lot although drinkable. Dense, concentrated and balanced, crystalline fruit palate finish, currants, sweet, needs another few years to get past the fruit and tannin, but this isn’t overpowering, elegant but jammy with herbs and eucalyptus. ****(*++)

Next up, a 2000 Cote-Rotie; Les Jumelles by Paul Jaboulet Aine:

earth, rock, minerals, brett, ferrel, deep and concentrated; red plum, wild raspberry fruit, cleaner palate, fresh and bright, slightly herby finish, rosemary and thyme, nice but still very young. ****(**+?)

Having outlasted my stay, I popped back to start up the BBQ and drink some of the wines that I had walked away from the shop with. We started with the 2008 Sancerre par Nicolas Girard:

ripe, full gooseberry, modern, wet stone, a touch of minerality but this is overpowered by fruit. LAcks a touch of acidic lift, could have got more pleasure from Isabel Estate Sauvignon blanc… ***(*+)

Next up on the wine list was a bottle of the great value and well-made, 2007 Macon, Les Heritiers du Comte Lafon:

citrus lemon, lime, minerals, rich and round with a bit of butter and lemon butter, a touch tropical/pineapple fruit, really nice, simple but good Chardonnay. Quality Winemaking. ****(*+?)

Next was generally what the guests brought. Some good and others not. In terms of value for money and the fact that it is being offered at discounted rates but is nothing to write home about, was the Champagne Heidseick; nice crisp, fresh and zesty. (****) A fried brought round an interesting bottle of wine that he tasted from Priorat, a 2005 Prior de Neo, a bizarre blend of Carignano, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it was big modern, oaked and concentrated, good but in need of a serious amount of time to overcome the power and backbone. (****[*+]) This friend had also brought a bottle of 2005 Mas d’en Compte Blanco (Priorat) and old favourite of mine, although I have found that since 04 the style has changed and the wines are sweeter and more tropical as oppose to being fresher and more minerally. A shame in my opinion but the wines are still very good. (*****)

However, none of these could match the quality of my supermarket purchased and expertly cooked ;-p BBQ!!!! 😉 and they certainly got blown off the table by my wonderfully brilliant home made MOHITOOOOOOOOOSSSSSS!!!!!

The next day was a quiet one, but Monday night was a nice evening with some friends at El Gaucho Steak House in South Kensington, the first ever Argentinian Steak House in the UK. The Steaks are superb and we tried to theme it along Bordeaux and Languedoc lines and started off with a 2007 Las FLors de la Piera; Terrasses du Larzac:

plum, cassis, blackcurrants, vanilla, earth, iron, minerlas, something almost saline, nutty, concentrated, needs time to open up, unresolved alcohol. Deep, closed, underlying fruit, with some herbs, freshness and balance. Long earthy, cassis finish. ***(**+)

We then moved onto our two Bordeauxs, neither or them are truely stunning, but they are solid classic Bordeaux from less highly regarded vintages that will certainly give a lot of drinking pleasure from now and for the foreseeable future. They are not going to fall apart and as I prefer my wines mature they may even jump to life and surprise me one day!!!

2001 Chateau Langoa-Barton: 3eme Cru Classe: St Julien: classic open nose, cedar, tobacco, cassis, bramble, sous bois, classic St Julien, funky, earthy mineral charactar, shitty, farmyard, warm and round. Cassis, currants. Fresh, balanced, plum, the only downside are the lumpy but soft tannins. Lovely drinking, get stuck in! ****(*+)

2004 Chateau Cantemerle; 4eme Cru Classe: Haut-Medoc: herbs, rosemary, thyme, cassis, dark plum, grippy tannins, fruit, fresh, 04s being early drinking is a myth, this needs time… if this turns out like the 78s taste now, then I will be a happy man. ****(+)

On a completely seperate note, although we have a deal with the restaurant to bring our wines on Monday nights, the wine list has a really good selection of top Argentinian Wines at not ridiculous prices… definately a place to check out.

We took a bit of a breather from drinking, but a few days later, we visited a friend, and picked up two wines at Waitrose. Both great value and well worth the money that you pay for them. Waitrose has a really fantastic wine department and for great value wines, I think they win hands down on that front. We started off with a 2008 Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett by Dr. Loosen (12.99):

crisp, apple, pear, oil, simple and a touch of residual sugar, nice lemon, citrus, grass finish. Pleasant but it should get much better with a bit of time. ****+

The next wine, has to be Value for Money, the best value for money wine on the planet and made by one of my favourite WineMakers, Marc Kent, from SOuth AFrica, this wine is faboulous for what you pay, and as it was on offer at the time it was a miserly 4.59!!! 2009 Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc; Boekenhoutskloof:

fresh, grassy, mineral, slate and rock, stones, citrus, lime, gooseberry, depth and balance, slightly saline, salt, very nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc wuth a touch of depth, for the Money; Really fantastic. *****

The next day, and the day before our early morning flight to Piemonte to visit a whole host of different winemakers, we were making our one meagurely visit to the London International Wine Fair…. more on that very soon!!!!

A Dieu…


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