Wines from France, Italy and Australia

Pierre Gimmonet Champagne Blanc de Blancs “Cuvée Fleuron” 1993 – £19.49
What a lovely Champagne. Fairly deep lemony colour with a steady stream of small bubbles. Yeasty and nutty overtones to plenty of nettles and lemon fruit. Quite a creamy, dense mousse with racy flavours of apple, pear and citrus. Not at all lean though, with full-body and a rich mouthfeel, balanced by fine acidity. Excellent, with good length and finesse. My first experience of this producer and I’m very impressed.

Katnook Estate (Australia, Coonawarra) Sauvignon Blanc 1999 – £9.49
Pale lemon/green. Citrus and nettle herbaceous nose with little asparagus and green bean nuances. There’s a riper, sweet tropical edge too in the background. The ripe fruit is much more pronounced on the palate with lots of peach and sweet pear fruit, notes of lychee and melon. Acidity is quite punishing, a great push of pithy grapefruit acid in the finish that some might find too astringent.

Hugel (Alsace) Riesling “Jubilée” 1997 – £11.99
At time of writing this is reduced in Oddbins summer sale. I tasted this when just released in June last year and noted: “from the top quality Schoenenbourg (Grand Cru) vineyard. There is terrific ripeness evident on the nose, a great purity of fruit. Very, very intense on the palate with lime and apple fruit and terrific length. Balanced and very fine. A wine that needs 8 years or so to show its best”. Just in the year since it has developed lovely petrolly overtones and more waxiness, but the focus and quality of fruit is precisely the same. An easy candidate for long-term cellaring and at the current price, a bargain for sure.

Katnook Estate (Australia, Coonawarra) Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 – £11.99
I tasted this in a blind tasting last month and said “Rich, powerful, impressive but tiring to drink” and this experience didn’t substantially alter that opinion. The colour is deep and plummy. There’s a tinned-tomato note on the nose that for me is often present in over-ripe Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and is not entirely pleasant. It also has typical mulberry and chocolate aromas. On the palate there’s a slightly leafy, bracken-like quality as well as ripe fruit, some tannins and high acidity. A ripe, quite flashy wine that other people liked more than I did.

Icardi (Italy) “Bricco del Sole” Barbera/Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 – £15.99
Dark ruby/purple colour. Attractive aromas of charcoal, gravel and woodsmoke add interest to lush berry fruit. A very smoky edge to this wine on the nose. On the palate plenty of firm cherry and darker berry fruits with really chocolaty depth. The fruit is framed by firm, ripe tannins and moderate acidity and there is very good length. Very good, from the Monferrato sub-region of Piedmont.