First week of May wines

It's Fran's birthday this evening so a few nice things lined up (though she is back on a GP shift at 8am so I guess I'll help things along!). First up is another bottle of 1996 Dom Perignon. These have all been superb and I'm now down to my last three. I'm hoping for great things again. This has consistently been the best performing Dom I've had. This will go will some home beetroot cured salmon, followed by a lobster mac'n'cheese (one of Fran's favourite things).

To go with Lancaster salt marsh rack of lamb I've pulled out a solo bottle of 1999 Dujac Clos St Denis. Well you have to drink them. This was a gift when Jeremy Seysses came to do a tasting at University quite a few years ago now. I have high hopes judging from the tasting notes I've seen. Just hoping it is not in a grumpy phase. But having pulled the cork just now I'm pretty sure it is not!

Not sure we'll have anything to go with alphonso mango and passion fruit mousse, possibly just a wee postprandial cocktail to keep things well oiled.

Right off to check the madeira sauce reduction.
 
To go with Lancaster salt marsh rack of lamb I've pulled out a solo bottle of 1999 Dujac Clos St Denis. Well you have to drink them. This was a gift when Jeremy Seysses came to do a tasting at University quite a few years ago now. I have high hopes judging from the tasting notes I've seen. Just hoping it is not in a grumpy phase. But having pulled the cork just now I'm pretty sure it is not!
It certainly wasn't grumpy a couple of years ago, though possibly not as stellar as its positively eye-watering current cost would suggest. I'll be fascinated to see what you make of it.
It was served blind, and David Strange nailed it more or less in one, all the more impressively as more than one or two wines had been generously poured previously.
 
It's also my birthday today but we won't be eating or drinking as well as the Powells that's for sure.

Pouilly Fuisse 2014 Ch Fuisse with smoked rainbow trout timbales for starter. I visited Ch Fuisse 20 odd years ago and it has had a special place in my heart ever since. Monty Don could learn something about topiary from the wonderful yew bottle that they have beside the Chateau. I suspect the 14 will be superb, as usual, and frankly the only white wine I'd swap it for is Le Clos from the same producer.

I've cooked the main course of lamb shanks in rioja and it looks rather good I must say. So I thought it just has to be a rioja. Vina Real Gran Reserva 2010 should do the trick.

No idea what pudding is but I doubt we'll get that far as far as wine goes.
 
It's also my birthday today but we won't be eating or drinking as well as the Powells that's for sure.

Pouilly Fuisse 2014 Ch Fuisse with smoked rainbow trout timbales for starter. I visited Ch Fuisse 20 odd years ago and it has had a special place in my heart ever since. Monty Don could learn something about topiary from the wonderful yew bottle that they have beside the Chateau. I suspect the 14 will be superb, as usual, and frankly the only white wine I'd swap it for is Le Clos from the same producer.

I've cooked the main course of lamb shanks in rioja and it looks rather good I must say. So I thought it just has to be a rioja. Vina Real Gran Reserva 2010 should do the trick.

No idea what pudding is but I doubt we'll get that far as far as wine goes.
Happy birthday, John. I’d be interested in your thoughts on the Vina Real.
 
Location
UK
Finishing off the Bank Holiday whites with notes.

From left to right…

2016 Chateau de Montfaucon Clairette "Vin de Mme la Comtesse" (Lirac Blanc) - 85% Clairette blanche/15% Clairette rose (1870 vines), 13%
Pale gold & had a 30 minute decant. Really, really old vines planted in 1870, a splendid field-blend of Clairette blanche/Clairette rose. There is a good dollop of richness lurking within with good depth, balance & complexity. The palate shows white stone fruit/guava/pear skin/touch of ginger with some fennel and soft herb complexity. The finish is long with a subtle bitterness, some palate-cleansing acidity and a sensation of minerality. Deeply savoury and regional. A delicious nuanced bottle of wine, beautifully textured with enough detail to excite the mind. A delight to drink. 91pts

2016 Domaine La Barroche Pure Blanc (Chateauneuf) - 100% Clairette blanche (2002 vines), 14%
Pale straw. This bottle is much more open than the last one drunk 14 months ago, having gained weight & complexity. Impressive aromatic nose with a depth of summer stone fruit plus quince, citrus, herbs, almond & fennel notes. The palate is sensationally clean, with a slight mineral tinged texture, great purity with a stimulating fullness. A cosmic finish, both refreshing and substantive with its palate-cleansing acidity & a slight bitter edge. So much energy running through its veins. There is a huge dosage of tartrate around the punt, surprising for such a young wine. Greatest winemaking from young vines and worth seeking out. Glittering stuff but this 1st vintage is rare. 95pts

2016 Domaine de Saint-Prefert Blanc (Chateauneuf) - 85% Clairette blanche/Clairette rose (1940’s vines), 13.5%
Pale yellow to the eye - the first bottle was corked (grrrr…). An off-the-shelf purchase so my first taste of the 2016. It comes across as weightier than the Barroche. Loads of personality here and 5 years from the vintage seems about right for me. The Roussanne element really pokes through adding depth to the Clairette brightness. Lots of summer orchard fruit here, with a garrigue mist coated with the slight sweetness of honey layered with almond skins and a floral observation - but all so clean. Some spicy licks contained too. Finishes very long with a superb rounded mouthfeel. Gorgeous. 93pts

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Happy birthday, John. I’d be interested in your thoughts on the Vina Real.
I've never had this wine before, I picked up one bottle in a WS offer, so am not speaking from a position of any experience. Both my wife and I loved it. Fruity-yes, oak hardly noticeable and an absolute joy. No rush to drink up if you have any-sadly I don't, but very enjoyable now. I think I need to start looking at Rioja a bit more seriously especially Vina Real.
 
It certainly wasn't grumpy a couple of years ago, though possibly not as stellar as its positively eye-watering current cost would suggest. I'll be fascinated to see what you make of it.
It was served blind, and David Strange nailed it more or less in one, all the more impressively as more than one or two wines had been generously poured previously.
Well the DP was as expected - excellent. The Dujac was lovely. Lots of heady spice, some sous bois and a lovely lift of berry perfume. The tannins are really caressing across the palate. It’s weight and finesse are of the sort of grand cru quality you might expect. Yet for all it’s charm I think I’d prefer more recent vintages, they have a little more depth and penetrating allure. And as Tom alludes this is ghastly expensive now for what it is.
 
I think you win this weeks Ronseal Award, Chris.

Steak, Chips, Claret - job done!
Here’s another tin for you, Alex. Half nine out of my half case of 95 Leoville P, and finally it‘s singing. After eight halves of “yeah, but so what?” three star efforts with the occasional ***1/2, this is at **** level. The fruit has lightened a little to a mid to deep red, the slight sullenness has been replaced by a controlled sweetness, and the dull, slightly threadbare velvet appears to be really quite silky. Hurrah!

9E6B6080-E6EB-4559-B809-086DB7D0FC4A.jpeg
 
Tonight a first rate de Courcel Pommard Rugiens 1999 that is finally hitting its stride. All sorts of compelling sweet and savoury notes emerge from the glass. Soil, iron, funk and general decay. The palate has a powerful, no nonsense personality with finely grained Pommard tannins providing balance and ultimate satisfaction. This is one of those wines where the last glass is even better than the first. It also shows why one ages red burgundy though it certainly helps to have the courage of one’s convictions.
 
Tonight a bottle of Puligny Clos de la Mouchere 2009 from Boillot. Light gold, very light, looking young and a fresh nose as well. Slightly mouldy cork, always a good sign, providing a really fresh taste, strong acidity, medium body, really EF6F7B15-5EF2-4F72-B745-E5694DDEBE77.jpeg good for a 12 years Burgundy. From this bottle a long time to go til maturity. A really good Boillot and looking forward to the next.
Cheers
Rainer
 
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Still enjoying trying out the few Grenache Blancs we have available. Today it was a Frisach L'Abrunet 2018 from Terra Alta, Spain. A "natural" wine that doesn't smell or taste "natural". There is almost Riesling aromatics here with citrus and minerals. Even the palate seems kind of riesling-y with its high acidity and almost tannic grip. The difference with this and previous Grenache Blancs I've had is that this isn't anymore neutral. I liked the others for their interesting, fleshy take on the theme of neutrality. But here we've got almost Riesling-like aromatics. Intriguing grape for sure if this is the range it can make and the whole range is fun and interesting.
 

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Finishing off the Bank Holiday whites with notes.

From left to right…

2016 Chateau de Montfaucon Clairette "Vin de Mme la Comtesse" (Lirac Blanc) - 85% Clairette blanche/15% Clairette rose (1870 vines), 13%
Pale gold & had a 30 minute decant. Really, really old vines planted in 1870, a splendid field-blend of Clairette blanche/Clairette rose. There is a good dollop of richness lurking within with good depth, balance & complexity. The palate shows white stone fruit/guava/pear skin/touch of ginger with some fennel and soft herb complexity. The finish is long with a subtle bitterness, some palate-cleansing acidity and a sensation of minerality. Deeply savoury and regional. A delicious nuanced bottle of wine, beautifully textured with enough detail to excite the mind. A delight to drink. 91pts

2016 Domaine La Barroche Pure Blanc (Chateauneuf) - 100% Clairette blanche (2002 vines), 14%
Pale straw. This bottle is much more open than the last one drunk 14 months ago, having gained weight & complexity. Impressive aromatic nose with a depth of summer stone fruit plus quince, citrus, herbs, almond & fennel notes. The palate is sensationally clean, with a slight mineral tinged texture, great purity with a stimulating fullness. A cosmic finish, both refreshing and substantive with its palate-cleansing acidity & a slight bitter edge. So much energy running through its veins. There is a huge dosage of tartrate around the punt, surprising for such a young wine. Greatest winemaking from young vines and worth seeking out. Glittering stuff but this 1st vintage is rare. 95pts

2016 Domaine de Saint-Prefert Blanc (Chateauneuf) - 85% Clairette blanche/Clairette rose (1940’s vines), 13.5%
Pale yellow to the eye - the first bottle was corked (grrrr…). An off-the-shelf purchase so my first taste of the 2016. It comes across as weightier than the Barroche. Loads of personality here and 5 years from the vintage seems about right for me. The Roussanne element really pokes through adding depth to the Clairette brightness. Lots of summer orchard fruit here, with a garrigue mist coated with the slight sweetness of honey layered with almond skins and a floral observation - but all so clean. Some spicy licks contained too. Finishes very long with a superb rounded mouthfeel. Gorgeous. 93pts

View attachment 18923
Lovely notes, the La Barroche sounds very good!
 
Out of curiosity, TWS Chilean Pinot Noir 2020. I haven't had a cheap Chilean pinot for about 15 years. This isn't ugly at all, which is quite an achievement in the bracket, but it is very banal indeed, its gently amorphous opalfruitiness suitable for consumption with a cheese football or two while sitting on the sofa watching television rather than at the dining table.
The WS basic red burgundy at only a pound or so more, currently unavailable, is in a hugely different class in terms of grip, freshness and interest.
 
Tonight a first rate de Courcel Pommard Rugiens 1999 that is finally hitting its stride. All sorts of compelling sweet and savoury notes emerge from the glass. Soil, iron, funk and general decay. The palate has a powerful, no nonsense personality with finely grained Pommard tannins providing balance and ultimate satisfaction. This is one of those wines where the last glass is even better than the first. It also shows why one ages red burgundy though it certainly helps to have the courage of one’s convictions.
What a thirst inducing evocation. Many enthusiasts of my acquaintance feel that Courcel's wines never come around. That is not at all my experience though of course it depends what one means by 'coming around'. I love the frangible grit and impassivity but those who look for voluptuous calm in their burgundy will probably always be disappointed here.
 
Picked this up from a shop in Highgate - rather nice

  • 2017 Jean Javillier Pommard 1er Cru - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pommard 1er Cru (5/3/2021)
    Picked up from Bottle in Highgate.
    Assume this is a blend of several Pommard lieu dits as no specific one is specified on the label.

    Nose of cherry, raspberry and hint of cola and spice.
    Very juicy smooth mouthfeel - delivers on the palate and nice acidity and decent finish; moderate tannins and a a little minerality balancing out the fruit. (91 pts.)
    c035cc56-cd2b-4d90-b8b8-6ebf3c46c357.jpg
Posted from CellarTracker
 
I was disappointed to not enjoy this bottling as much as others of this parish.
I picked up a couple intending to be on theme for once with the fizz at the upcoming Wimps
Perhaps the box sealed stock from Waitrose lacks the complexity of shop floor stock from elsewhere.A bit of lightstike might have helped this bottle.
Pleasant mouthfeel, but otherwise just fairly bland sweet soulless stuff.
Only £10.99, but on this showing I’d head to Lidl for their Comte de Seneval cheap champagne.6BE1C103-6754-47E5-BEC8-207F3300FCAB.jpeg
 
I was disappointed to not enjoy this bottling as much as others of this parish.
I picked up a couple intending to be on theme for once with the fizz at the upcoming Wimps
Perhaps the box sealed stock from Waitrose lacks the complexity of shop floor stock from elsewhere.A bit of lightstike might have helped this bottle.
Pleasant mouthfeel, but otherwise just fairly bland sweet soulless stuff.
Only £10.99, but on this showing I’d head to Lidl for their Comte de Seneval cheap champagne.View attachment 18942
We visited a few years back and found their ultra brut to be the sweet spot. There is enough sugar and acidity in the grapes that lessens the need for added dosage as this often gives sparklers in hot climates too much sweetness. Not sure if you can get it here. But it was our poolside cheap cap classique of choice in SA.
 
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Tom Cannavan

Administrator
We visited a few years back and found their ultra brut to be the sweet spot. Their is enough sugar and acidity in the grapes that lessens the need for added dosage as this often gives sparklers in hot climates too much sweetness. Not sure if you can get it here. But it was our poolside cheap cap classique of choice in SA.

Dosage on this is 9g/l and the base wine does not go through malolactic, so I think the impressions of sweetness (which i have not noticed particularly in my bottles) must come from fruit sweetness rather than sugar. Agree the Ultra brut is very good, as are their vintage wines generally.
 

Tom Cannavan

Administrator

Graham Beck, Brut Zero 2012

Robertson, South Africa, Sparkling White, Cork, 12% abv
92/200
Zero dosage. At least four years on the lees, but usually six. Good depth of colour here, almost a light rosé, plenty of small bubbles. Very meaty, loads of umami here, a touch of brioche and leafiness. On the palate mouthfilling and broad, some red fruits, lots of crunchy fresh apple and pear, and lovely acidity, not missing the sweetness of dosage at all.
 
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