This week’s learning point at Nottingham Wine Circle - Ribera del Duero

This week’s tasting was badged as “undiscovered Germany”. It centred around a half-case with that title bought from Yapp a little while ago and was added-to from the presenters cellars with a no-Mosel rule and an intention to try some non-Riesling whites.

The standout white was no.12, the Donhoff Riesling Trocken - pithy grapefruit, very racy, beautifully balanced, more RS than I imagined for a trocken, but all the better for it.

The easy head-and-shoulders best of the reds was the Meyer-Nakel Pinot - a producer we’ve had a few times at the group and who seems to me to make very convincing reds. This 2012 was still young and fresh with every possibility for positive development to come.

If I said the rest were a mixed bag that would be pretty kind to them, The absolute worst was the Aldi Pinot (wine 5) which was terrible value at £6.95 - odourless nose, confected fruit, though a dishonourable mention is due to wine 6, Klumpp’s blend of blaufrankish, Cab Sav, St Laurent & Pinot which tasted of cherry cola and was a bad joke for £18.25.

On this showing the learning point was that the established producers are making much better wines than any of the ‘undiscovered’ producers.
Some really interesting wines at this week’s bring-a-bottle tasting.

it’s good to be proved wrong from time-to-time and my opinion of Jane Eyre’s micro-negotiant wines, based on a tasting in London a few years ago, was clearly wrong. At that tasting I thought her wines were too big, too rich, too fruit-stacked, too…..Australian to be proper Burgundy. This village Volnay shut me up! Absolutely typical black-fruited and very savoury CdB wine. Not in the least bit closed-down and actually quite evolved. Hugely enjoyable typical Volnay.

This 1999 kabinett from Egon Muller reminded me I was wrong to ignore German wine when treats like this were obtainable for sensible money. Really layered and fresh but with the complexity and depth of maturity. Super wine.

Finally, the pleasures of lesser Bordeaux with lots of age. I don’t own a single bottle of Bdx but this was a really charming mature wine and I could see the attraction of luncheon claret like this!
Back in the 1980s, the restaurant at the Hôtel de France in the center of Chablis had a list of Chablis going back to the 1940s, maybe even the 1920s. The wines were identified by vineyard but not producer, and they were not marked up to current prices. As a result, younger wines were often more expensive than the older ones. All were from Raveneau (who I understand was a relative of the proprietor at the time). Yet when I ate there, no one else was drinking Chablis.
The Vau
Thanks for sharing Andy.
You fared better than I did recently.

I asked for a mixed 6 from the importer of a grower who had been spoken of well around here Roland Lavantureux…….totally underwhelmed ( I imagine a Lidl Sauv-Sem would be my call blind) with the first 2 I have tried.
I opened the M&S as a yardstick, it was no more proper Chablis but at the tenner paid it was a passable wine.:(

Two non Chablis
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The Vauprin 2017 is f’ing lovely. Suspect vintage has not been your friend here Ray.
A rare occasion this week when a wine merchant visited and gave us a tasting. Preet Sahota from Edgmond wines has been to the group a few times now with his selections of niche and low-production wines from South Africa. He’s a great enthusiast and gives a good tasting. My pick of the whites was Roodekrantz Rhenosterbosrug Chenin Blanc 2020 which was a bit reduced but nonetheless elegantly constructed with slightly nutty honey and some delicate florals. Full, rich and structured palate which has balance and also strives for elegance. There’s only 1200 bottles of this. Others in the group were more taken with the same producers Brand se Berg Chenin 2020 which had some white peach notes and a cream soda softness.

Also of note, maybe as much for its rarity as anything else was my first SA Viura - Pilgrim winery, 2021. This sees just a little extra skin contact which really fleshes it out texturally. Only 200 vines & 500 bottles.

The reds were a mixed bunch. My pick was the Jakob’s Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, made by the Crystallum winemaker. Really good typical new world cab - in structure and balance it reminded me of Ridge Estate Cabernet. It needs some time to soften and integrate as the tannins are pretty assertive just now but there’s fruit and acidity sufficient to see it good in the medium term. If I was buying red for the cellar I’d give this some consideration.

There we’re some really good wines here, especially the whites, and I definitely learned I need to pay more attention to these - there’s value, drinkability and potential for ageing.

The wines were…
Pilgrim Viura 2021
Villa Esposto Chenin Blanc 2021
Roodekrantz Brand se Berg Chenin 2020
Roodekrantz 1983 Chenin Blanc 2020
Roodekrantz Rhenosterbosrug Chenin Blanc 2020
Roodekrantz Die Meeselaar 2020 (Chenin/Chard blend)
Roodekrantz 1954 Cinsault Rose 2021
Villa Esposto Pinotage Rose 2021
Coup d’Etat (red blend) 2016
Villa Esposto Pinotage 2018
Roodekrantz 1954 Cinsaut 2018
Jakob’s Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Pilgrim Shiraz 2019
Villa Esposto Muscat d’Alexandrie straw wine 2019
This week we were given a tasting of Ribera del Duero wines. Unlike last week’s SA tasting which pleasantly confounded expectations, this was unfortunately pretty much as expected. On the whole these were fruit-heavy, often oaky and frequently obviously alcoholic wines. There was just one that had some delicacy and lift, the 2015 Tempranillo from Aalto which had a gorgeous violet nose and a soft silky texture. Otherwise there wasn’t anything to win-over a sceptic.