Weekend Drinking 30/1/2 Sep/Oct

I'll kick things off...


We need to talk about Kevin's wine. The 2013 Riverby Sauvignon Blanc Semillon is a fruit-tastic party in a glass. Just so much fun and utterly delicious! Name 10 random fruits and they're probably in here, as well as a few vegetables. A month's worth of "5 a day". But it's more than just fruit & veg, of course. Mild salinity, touch of (white?) pepper and acidity to clean up at the end. Who doesn't want a self-cleaning party? Yum! Probably will be first into the blue bin - a wine for drinking, not talking about.

Should we also talk about Jon's wine, 2018 Le Rescapé Carignan, Domaine Treloar? Having had the Chilean Carignan "Dejabo" earlier in the week, I was interested to get a reminder of what the Treloar take on Musar's bones* might be. I'd forgotten how serious this is. There was a striking aroma of "something" on the nose that I liked a lot, but was struggling to put a name to. Maybe some kind of sour cherries? It reminded me of something I associate with Chinese food - so perhaps 5 spice? No, not that. Whatever, it was one element of many things. This is quite a "thick" wine compared to the Dejabo (which is very light, so hardly surprising). Herbal, meaty, fruity, spicy, savoury, and ultimately rather satisfying and worthy of contemplation. I'm sure that if you stare at the label long enough, you can enter a trance-like state and thus derive maximum pleasure. Nice one.
On reflection, might be some kind of sour plum that I'm thinking of - like the plum in plum sauce?
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My three bottles of the Riverby 2013 sauv-semillon have all gone down an absolute storm.

Domaine Piétri-Géraud Collioure Blanc L’Écume 2020: Beautiful pale gold, star anise, stone fruits, marjoram, mint, orange peel and bergamot. Lovely line and acidity. Definite maritime character. We weren’t eating one but I could see it would be a thrilling match for a bourride.

Refosco dal Pendunculo Rosso “Morus Nigra”, Vignai da Duline 2009: If you took a Côte-Rôtie, dialled the bacon back a bit and added some signature Italian morello, you might end up with something like this. I really liked it. Very poised middleweight Italian red, all in balance, some powdery tannins, very long. I did get some Persian toot or perhaps that was suggested by the name. VGI. The white pepper character on top of the fruit went off very nicely with a reimagined steak au poivre (secreto with green peppercorn emulsion).
Called into the excellent Dvine wine cellars in Clapham this evening and I’m now enjoying a 2021 Ochota Barrels the green room Grenache, light to medium body, juicy and very drinkable at 12.2%. vines planted in 1946 on limestone and schist it tells me. Screwcap and a clear glass bottle, it should only be kept as long as it takes to chill it to cellar temp
Mixed start to the weekend! Glad I bought quite a bit of Droin 2017...

2012 Pol Roger Champagne Brut Rosé - France, Champagne (30/09/2022)
Just OK, and therefore a bit disappointing. Fine mousse, and pleasantly textured, energetic with tangy blood orange and red fruit, but a bit astringent and, frankly, boring. A 2008 I had last year was superb, so I guess I'll just leave my other bottles of 2012 and see if they get more interesting. (89 pts.)

2017 Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru (30/09/2022)
This is great stuff. Neither the wine nor I can decide whether it's classical Chablis or something creamier and sunnier, and that's a fun situation to be in. Oyster shell, green fruit and a touch of smoke of the nose. Actually seemed broader in the mouth shortly after opening and then, with air and warmth, seemed to tighten, emphasising its bitter and saline qualities; there's definitely a touch of spice too. Long finish, and really very moreish. I'm delighted this is the first of six; no real need to wait on the others. (93 pts.)

  • 2003 Château Lalande-Borie - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien (01/10/2022)
    Nose has a capsicum and red fruited character. Some tomato leaf greenness too and something in the citrus spectrum; maybe some blood orange zest.

    Palate has more of the same, texturally it's not the finest grained of wines but there is still lots to like. This improves with some air. Wonder if the second half of the bottle will have opened out or opened out and died in the fridge door!

    Works well with steak frites.

    My impressions of 2003 are less negative than many but (with the exception of Beaumont which was excellent) the grands chateaux, I think, handed the exceptional conditions better. (88 pts.)
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Lovely to see @Alex Lake 's note, and @Jonathan Hesford 's carignans getting a bit of an outing. This was lovely - just the thing to cut through the six nebbioli I had at lunch...

  • 2012 Domaine Treloar Côtes du Roussillon Le Maudit - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon (01/10/2022)
    Enjoyed at home with sausage and mash, after a somewhat heavy lunch. Just lovely - on the nose, completely clean - none of the funk of previous bottles. On the palate - the crunchiness and vibrancy, but also length. There's a real thrill to this - perhaps not quite at the level of a good bottle of Allemand Cornas - but there is a resemblance there.

    Looking at my previous note - the winemaker commented that he thought that that bottle may have been slightly corked - based on this I think he was right. This was just delicious. Somewhat sad to only have a single bottle left...
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A few wines enjoyed over the last few days; last night a Fruscalzo Collio Cabernet Franc 2016 was deliciously typical with just a hint of chocolatey richness despite only being 13% alcohol and now showing some attractive secondary flavours. It was an understated wine, but the kind that accompanies food so well. Collio cab franc is seriously under-rated if you're a fan of this grape variety. On Thursday night in a restaurant in Boston we had a 2020 Foradori Vigneti dei Dolomiti Teroldego which was excellent if obviously too young, but everything else on the wine list was too young too. It really needs time, but Foradori's straight teroldego is always a pleasure to drink, and the tannins were super-fine in this case. The 2009 we drank earlier this year was more to my taste in terms of evolution though. Trimbach's 2018 standard Alsace Riesling was also a delight on Wednesday evening. There were a couple of disappointments earlier in the week - an Ogerau Anjou Blanc 2018 was a bit cheesy, leaden-footed, and slightly too alcoholic, and a 2018 Scattered Peaks Napa Cabernet Sauvignon was the kind of wine that could put you off ever drinking again.
I tried the basic Adank Swiss Pinot, the Barrique and the Bachtobel No3 from the Sampler, all 2018s. I wasn’t crazy about them but they may just need more time. The Bachtobel (£52), marginally the most expensive was the pick of the bunch. The barrique Adank (£49) I preferred to the basic version (£36)

The Bougros is reassuring flinty, slaty and austere, old school Chablis, love it. The Gruaud was something else. It opened up superbly well. if it was in the Wednesday/Alino 60 line up it would have been my #7 placed wine.


2018 Bass Phillip Crown Prince Pinot Noir. Really quite a strange appearance, very pale and cloudy, it reminds me on Robinson’s summer fruits barley water. This theme is continued onto the palate and is alarmingly thirst quenching. There is some grip and acidity on the finish that rescues it, I do rather like it, but am really not sure that I have had anything like it before. I shall leave my other bottle well alone for a few years. 65F04044-CC62-444E-8CD7-B27F2B45748C.jpeg

2012 Gimmonet, Cramant GC. Piercing and primary nose, nice balance and energy on the palate, I think this has a lot of potential but at the moment it needs to fill out, lacks a little depth. I will revisit in a couple of years.

This is interesting as I bought half a case from Seckfords of the Bass Philip, I'll leave mine a while before I take them out........ cloudy is never something I feel warmed by

I have never tried the Crown Prince before so have no reference point. I have had numerous bottles of the Estate though and this seems to be a completely different beast, perhaps this was a duff bottle, enjoyable though it was.
Last night we drank another Fruscalzo red, in this case a Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso 2008. The fruit for this is grown in the Friuli Grave area but designated on the label as IGT Venezia Giulia. It is obviously fully mature, but still in its pomp. Refosco is not for everyone with its high acidity and dark, slightly gamey, graphite inflected fruit, but I loved it. There were also notes of hot cinders and smoke on the nose as well. Again, an attractively refreshing wine at 13% alcohol.
Opened yesterday my last case of Leoville Barton 1994. With the 1994 Pontet Canet my preferred 1984 beside the 1er Crus. Slightly musty at opening it cleared up quickly but we had the impression that the wine would have benefited from a decant. The last glasses after 75 minutes were the best. A very good old school claret with dark berry fruit and forest ground notes. Dark, clean colour, blossoming in the glass, nobody would have guessed 1994. Now cellaring was rewarding and we are quite happy to have some left. Patience was all what was needed to get a beautiful mature Bordeaux onto the table. Really good with our entrecôte.

A small birthday celebration with some great wines, very thankful to have had 3/3 Burgundies with age that showed well. Was pleased with my guesses for the two wines that I was blinded on - after a hint that the first two reds were from the same village but different plots, I thought that the Mortet was a CSJ and the Laurent to be a Gevrey GC which were close enough guesses I suppose. Finally the LSG surprised on the upside, haven't had many TLBs before but bought this based on it being one of their best plots.
  • 2018 Domaine Robert-Denogent Pouilly-Fuissé Les Cras Cuvée Claude Denogent Vieilles Vignes - France, Burgundy, Mâconnais, Pouilly-Fuissé
    Brought this as an apéritif. Oak was not shy on this one and still needs time to integrate. Very tropical fruit, bordering on exotic, e.g. pineapple and mango. Some honey notes, warm vintage was evident here. (89 pts.)
  • 2002 Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
    Opened side-by-side with the Laurent by a generous friend, think I liked this a lot more than him as can be seen from the previous note.

    Vibrant and seductive, shimmering bright red in colour which I always think bodes well for Burgundy. Took a while to get going but had a superb purity of fruit, didn't get any signs of oak at all on this. Step behind the Laurent for complexity but it was beautifully balanced and had the magic which is hard to explain in words. This was just such an ethereal wine. Thankful to have tried an old Mortet wine, had been on my bucket list for a while. (94 pts.)
  • 2002 Dominique Laurent Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Vieilles Vignes - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
    Opened side-by-side with the Mortet by a generous friend. Once I nosed this, didn’t have any doubt that it was a Laurent with the signature oak spice and cola nose. A little advanced on the colour compared to the Mortet but the palate was absolutely singing. Dark red fruit of wild berries, surprisingly muscular for a CdB but had such depth and a fantastic finish. (95 pts.)
  • 2007 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru
    My contribution. Surpassed my expectations as I was expecting a muscular wine from the maker and plot, but think the vintage really helped to balance this out. A little light but in no way dilute, fresh pure raspberry fruit with a little earth thrown in. Haven't had many 2007s but Idefinitely see the similarities to 2017s, even though I feel that '17s have more substance. Loved this wine. (94 pts.)