Posts Tagged ‘Pouilly-Fumé’
The final BBC1 of the year gave us some good wines and some interesting wines, and an interesting study in the importance of balance and the role played by acidity.
Strangely no one spotted the first white. Attractive pale gold colour, strong yeasty, wet wool and lanolin nose, which carried through to a buttery taste (oak or battonage?), with good weight and a nice greasy mouth feel that suited the wine, but was sadly not quite balanced by enough acid. With a bit more acid, this could have been a really good wine. Though we would never have spotted the “Terra Helvetica” Fendant, F & D Giroud 2010.
Wine two nearly got that balance right, but just over stepped. Its mild mid straw colour reflected the mid (muted even) lemon nose. This continued onto the palate which was reserved, but hinted at white stone fruit. The balance however was, initially, lovely. Somewhat surprisingly (once we knew the wine’s identity) it had body and substance, lip-coating body even, balanced by a good dose of acid that shone through to yield a crisp, refreshing mouth feel. The acid didn’t stop however, or perhaps the muted fruit fell away too quickly, leaving a tart sourness on the finish somewhat detracting from the overall enjoyment. Nonetheless, this Chateau de la Chauviniere, Granit de Chateau Thébaud, 2006 was agreed to be amongst the better Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine we had had.
Wine three also nearly got the balance right, though it could be argued that the slightly tart finish was intentional. Regular readers may recall the fondness some members of the group hold for oaked Sauvignon Blanc. Although not oaked, extended skin contact and time on lees meant that these members were very happy with Bouchié Chatellier’s Premier Millesime, Pouilly-Fumé, 2002, offering a mid nose of classic oaked gooseberry giving way to pink grapefruit and a lovely crispness that only slightly outstayed its welcome.
The final white continued a tradition in the group of the, shall we be polite and say, outsider. Its contributor had presented to a recent tasting a New Zealand sauvignon blanc of such classic style that it was spotted immediately by everyone. At his whimsical other extreme, we can now say that we have tasted white Sangiovese! And surprisingly good it was too. It did not have quite enough acid to balance its bulk (a consequence of the extreme wine making required to avoid extracting even the merest hint of colour from the grapes perhaps), but it did have a delicate almond marzipan nose, an attractive, if slightly unbalanced, oily palate and a finish that built and built and built. We all detected oak, certainly the weight imparting affects and classic buttery taste of oak, however, we were assured that the wine had never seen a barrel. It was a most enjoyable and unique experience from one of the region’s major producers: Bianco “Carmen Puthod”, Teruzzi e Puthod, Toscana IGT 2009.
The first red disappointingly demonstrated the mine field of Burgundy, when a famous name on the label belies the less than famous content of the bottle. We would have hoped that Louis Jadot would have endeavoured to uphold the reputation of a fine négociant, but its 2006 village Vosne-Romanée was disappointingly all that basic village level wines from the region can be. The muted taste and unbalanced sour acid were as extensive as my notes permit a description.
Happily, the second red demonstrated successfully what an excellent producer can do with its lower classification wine. Eben Sadie is undoubtedly one of the new world’s and South Africa’s rising stars. His 2004 Sequillo from Swartland showed a wonderful wine and one that reflected the more rapid aging associated with the new world. Its deep garnet colour only slightly suggested aging, but its strong savoury, OXO nose becoming full-on stewed fruit with a South African characteristic burnt edge, suggested reaching of an ideal tasting window. The richness was balanced by well integrated acid perfectly presenting a big wine held in delicate check.
This guest blogger who has been, not unreasonably, declared a wine snob on a few occasions, must admit that when he has tried the wines from Concha y Toro blind he has been impressed. The Marques de Casa Concha, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 being no exception. Yes it was made in a modern (Parker?) style, but let’s be honest, that can be attractive when done well! A big nose of bright berry fruit and oak belying a well balanced and delicate palate of more fruit, silky oak and fine chewy, close knit tannins. Perhaps simple in its way and trying to please, but well made and showing very attractively; besides what is wrong with trying to please?
The fourth red was surely another Cabernet Sauvignon? Dense purple in colour it too had a full-on fruit nose with, for one member characteristic, eucalyptus. High acid again held in check the new world opulent fruit of dark red berries, smoke and some mintiness framed by more new oak. That this came from the Clare Valley was not surprising, that it was Jim Barry’s, 2005, The McRae Wood Shiraz, was!
The final wine of the night completed a new world quartet, but showed a slightly over the hill version. Deep browning garnet with strong tertiary leather, mushroom and rotten vegetables gave hope for a good end to the evening. Sadly the initially weighty and albeit stewed fruit flavoursome palate all too quickly fell apart leaving an unbalanced spirit and sour finish. Past its best, but the Torzi Matthews, Eden Valley, Frost Dodger Shiraz 2003 was further over the hill than expected.
With many thanks to Rob – here’s to many great tastings in 2013.
February’s meeting of Andover Wine Friends was a spectacular lunch at The Harrow Inn, Little Bedwyn. They put on a great show for 17 of us, while running the front half of the restaurant as usual. I was seriously off duty – too much good food, company and excellent wines – so there are no detailed notes this month. However, here are a selection of photos of some of the seven or so courses plus cheese, almost entirely from these islands. And a brief note on some outstanding wines.
The approach in this restaurant is easy to describe – genuinely warm hospitality, outstanding sourcing of ingredients, perfect timing in the kitchen, innovative combinations and a profound love of wine. What a great combination! The event started well with Ruinart Blanc de Blanc Champagne, being poured above left.
And the wines? Some were bought at the Harrow and some came from people’s own collections. To pick out some unfairly:
- the Ruinart is wonderfully balanced and very refined
- Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Silex, Loire – great, concentrated mineral Sauvignon Blanc … because there is a tradition of drinking this great wine at the Harrow
- a stunningly good, moderately priced Semillon from Australia which the Harrow stocks: Mount Horrocks Semillon, Clare Valley, Australia
- a wonderful white Grenache (not a phrase you can often employ!) from Catalan Spain – Ctonia, Masia Serra
- three Rieslings to compare – Eden Valley, Australia; classic Mosel; Schlumberger Grand Cru from Alsace
- decent Condrieu from Christophe Pichon and Cornas from Domaine de Rochepertuis
- sadly another ‘drink at the Harrow’ tradition here did not come to pass as the 1985 Hermitage from Jaboulet was over the hill – I suppose in this case it just rolled gracefully down the hill
- Spinnifex’s Indigene and Shiraz-Mataro from the Barossa, big fruit numbers but beautifully structured and complex, especially the latter
- there were quite a few others which probably deserved a mention …
- and finally, a brilliantly concentrated and only moderately sweet Banyuls: Coume del Mas Quintessence Banyulus Rouge
- some people found a little space to try two different Grappas
With many thanks to the whole crew at the Harrow – you deserve your success.