Thursday, 12 July 2012
Wine in Threes
Yes it is, it's a magic number.
- De La Soul, The Magic Number
With something of a backlog of review wines to get through chez CWB, we invited some friends round to help us try them out.
@cambridgelass is a blogger with an interest in Cambridge's local history who is currently studying for WSET level 2 with former B-Movie lead singer Steve Hovington at Cambridge Wine Merchants.
@winemarathon is a marketing director studying for the WSET Diploma as well as running marathons.
I based the format of this evening on a Champagne tasting I attended recently with Nick Adams MW with flights of a similar style of wine in increasing quality.
Three New World Chardonnays
Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Unwooded Chardonnay, 2011, McLaren Vale, Australia
Lean, unoaked Aussie style of chardie, with lots of tropical citrus and zesty kiwi; sharp, grapefruit and pith, tart and a bit unbalanced, especially on the finish, not generally popular.
I tried it with some goat's cheese to see if the acidity would make sense - it didn't.
Vinas Del Vero, Chardonnay 2010, Somontano, Spain
From Spain, this is technically a European wine, but non-traditional Spanish = New World style.
Golden in the glass, there is some gentle oak on the nose, floral aromas and sweet vanilla; weightier, fuller and more complex than the previous wine; supple with good acidity, it was generally popular, but for me a bit straightforward.
Match with sweetish white fish such as lightly cooked sole.
Jackson Estate Shelter Belt, 2008, Marlborough, New Zealand
Toasty, yeasty nose with tropical fruit; on the palate sweet vanilla spice, good leesy depth and balance, rounded prominent acidity; nice pungent yeastiness from thick-skinned grapes.
The popular favourite of the three.
A versatile wine, it will match with hard yellow cheese, pasta with creamy sauce or chicken.
My favourite was the Jackson Estate for its complexity and tangy yeastiness.
Three Louis Jadot Red Burgundies
Louis Jadot is a leading grower and negociant based in Beaune with around 150ha of its own vineyards which produce only AOC wines.
Louis Jadot Chateau Des Chaques, Moulin a Vent, 2007 (£14.49, independents)
A Gamay, this was smokey-herby on nose and a touch of damp forest.
Light on the palate with red berry fruit; pleasant enough, but felt rather overpriced and not universally popular.
A bit acidic and astringent on the finish. However, I found it improved the following day (which rarely, if ever, happens with Burgundian Pinot) and was much more balanced on the finish.
A Pinot-lite, if you will.
Quaff in the garden in summer, or match with a light game terrine, cold cuts or coq au vin.
Louis Jadot Beaune Premier Cru, 2008 (£16.75, Majestic, independents)
A few pounds more expensive, this was a proper, if still entry-level, Burgundian Pinot.
Textbook nose of truffley undergrowth,with cherry fruit. Good, soft, strawberry-ish texture and balanced finish; elegant with good structure and length.
Match with something gamey, such as pigeon, quail or pheasant.
Louis Jadot, Côtes de Nuits Villages, Le Vaucrain, 2008 (£18.75, independents)
This wine, which had the potential (i.e. price tag) to be the best, was sadly spoilt - thin, vinegary and with no fruit, something had clearly gone wrong under the cork.
Whilst I suspect the Côtes de Nuits should or could have been the best wine here, on the day it was the Beaune.
Three red Rhônes from Jean-Luc Colombo
Jean-Luc Colombo is something of a maverick moderniser of the northern Rhone - his wines are often GSM blends, but use modern techniques.
Jean-Luc Colombo, Côtes du Rhône Le Vent Rouge, 2010 (£9.25, Oddbins)
This wine had a nose of dark berry fruit and garrigue herbs, lots of elderberry and black cherry fruit on the palate with prominent acidity and a good finish.
A well-made, juicy characterful red to match with salami.
Jean-Luc Colombo, Côtes du Rhône Bonne Roche, 2009 (£9.99, independents)
For just a few pennies more this wine had a more interesting texture and greater complexity.
Match with roast beef or garlic and rosemary lamb.
Jean-Luc Colombo, Cornas Mejeans, 2009 (£22.99, independents)
This was really a step up from the previous two in terms of complexity and intensity - great texture, lovely balance, long finish.
The Mejeans is the best wine of these three, but given the pricing, the Bonne Roche represents the best value for money.