Popular Posts

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Iberian Afternoon Tea

Iberian afternoon tea with friends - and tapas from Que Rico Tapas

Iberia may just be one of the most complex, vibrant and dynamic wine regions in the world - both countries on the Iberian peninsula have moved beyond their staple classics of port, sherry and Rioja and are busily, dizzily reinventing themselves in all directions.

The usual format: bring two wines to be served blind or disclosed, with some food.

Que Rico Tapas is run by Estefania Led Ramos who provides various catering options - we chose to collect some pre-cooked take away tapas to share:
- Spanish omelette
- Piquillo peppers
- Meatballs
- Croquetas
- Manchego cheese with figs and nuts
We started with a wine that was Iberian only in a politico-historic sense - Spain was once part of the Austrian empire, absorbing its ornate flamboyance and courtly rituals. From there it was much more conventional.
Domaines Kilger Blauer Wildbacher Brut 2015, Weststeiermark Austria (T, blind) an elegant and well-structured, fresh pink fizz; delicate red berry fruit with a mineral backbone. No autolytic character, likely tank fermented. Very popular aperitif.

Contino Rioja Blanco 2012 (J, disclosed) old school white (deep yellow) Rioja with lots of oak, ripe melon and pineapple fruits and substance. Good.

Ardiles, Priorat 2014 (J, disclosed) hefty 15%+ Grenache beast with ripe dark fruits kept in check by fresh acidity; Rhone clone. Good

Chryseia, Douro 2005 (G, blind) lots of everything, bramble fruits, sweet American oak and some age, with a fleshy, supple structure - I guessed a Rioja but the trainee MW spotted some porty character and said Portugal. From the Symington Family portfolio, it has their characteristic aristocratic elegance.

Good.

Pintia, Toro 2008 (G, blind) pure, fresh and intense; vibrant and youthful, despite its age with dark fruits and very fine tannins. Very impressive and reminiscent of Vega Sicilia; turned out to be one of their "lesser" wines. My wine of the night. Very Good.

Grahams Reserve Tawny NV (T, disclosed) classic and very typical blended tawny to finish. No surprises here, just a lovely tawny port.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Villa Maria Private Bin Lighter Sauvignon Blanc 2015

A lower-alcohol Sauvignon from Kiwi producer Villa Maria

Lower alcohol wines are a bit like de-caf; or, perhaps more accurately, filter rather than espresso.

Either way, for many wine enthusiasts concentration, substance and intensity are the sine qua non of great wine. Yet importers Hatch Mansfield report that they get more consumer inquiries for stockists of this wine than for almost anything else

So, if you must have a lower alcohol wine, then this Villa Maria Sauvignon is perfectly fine. Lighter in alcohol; full flavour? Yes, absolutely. For those that want that sort of thing.

Villa Maria Private Bin Lighter Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (£11.25, independents) aromatic Sauvignon with all the usual kiwi hallmarks - cut grass, lemongrass and nettles. Pure, refreshing and mineral with zippy lime, the lower alcohol makes this an easy quaffer, rather than anything more contemplative.

Sip in the garden on a warm day, or have a glass as an aperitif - it does not really stand up to food.

Stockists are:

- Vino Wines
- Fountainhall Wines
- Islington Wine
- Amazon
- The New Zealand House of Wine

Friday, 14 April 2017

Domaines Kilger

Two elegant Austrian wines from Styria's Domaines Kilger

Established in 2015 by Munich businessman Hans Kilger and veteran Styrian winemaker Christian Reiterer, Domaines Kilger produce three wines based on Sauvignon and Blauer Wildbacher.

For the uninitiated, Styria is a bucolic region of woods, grassy meadows and pastures with fruit and wine gardens in southern Austria; the vines grow on steep slopes and the climate is mildly influenced by the Mediterranean.

Styria has three distinct sub-regions:

- East Styria's volcanic soils give powerful and profound wines
- Southern Styrian gives fruitfulness
- Western Styria is characterized by spice and cool charm.

Styrian Sauvignon is familiar enough to anyone who knows this part of Austria; Blauer Wildbacher, however, is specific to the region.

These two wines are elegant and fresh, yet rounded and substantial.

Kranachberg Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Südsteiermark New World lemongrass aromatics with ripe tropical fruits with Old World substance, white pepper florality and leesy-mineral underpinnings; classy, elegant and substantial.

Very Good.

Rosé Reserve 2015 Weststeiermark elegant, substantial pink with alpine strawberries, redcurrants dried herbs and oatmealy-leesy minerality.

Good

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Languedoc's Domaine Gayda

Four ripe, adept wines from Languedoc's Domaine Gayda

Domaine Gayda is a Languedoc winery based in the foothills of the Pyrenees, producing several range of wines under different labels; I have tried a number over the years and always been impressed. 
Viognier 2016 zippy lime-marmalade, florality and white pepper; substantial with melon fruit, minerality and good underpinnings.

Good.

Figure Libre Freestyle Vin Blanc 2015 citrussy pineapple and melon frui with sweet spices; good underpinnings; waxy yet fresh, rich and warming.

Good.

Figure Libre Freestyle Vin Rouge 2015 Rhone-esque fresh, ripe dark fruits, pencil shavings, tobacco leaf and spice; supple, plump and mineral with good underpinnings.

Good.

Figure Libre Cabernet Franc 2015 lifted plum, black cherry and raspberry fruit, leathery-earthy mushrooms, tobacco leaf and spice; fresh and supple with an inky texture.

Very Good.

Stockists: Harper Wells, Oxford Wine, Cambridge Wine Merchants 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Judean Hills Tasting

Notes from the Judean Hills Quartet tasting

Israeli wine has, at best, no perceptible brand awareness. And yet the quality of the wines from this quartet of producers all based in the Judean Hills just outside Jerusalem was very high indeed.

These are classic, European-style, food-friendly wines that deliver finesse more than power - sophisticated and complex, they have an international pedigree but a local accent.

The Judean Hills have everything you could want for winemaking - Mediterranean climate, shallow terra rossa over poor-quality limestone or dolomite soils and high altitude. The only challenge is excess sun exposure and heat which is managed through maintaining a leaf canopy.

This region also has vintage variation and in a good year like 2015 when everything comes together, the results are spectacular.

The quality is reflected in the prices; £30+ for most, and more for the "C" Blanc. Like other emerging areas, prices are high at the bottom due to small quantities but low at the top due to lack of brand awareness.
The Whites

Tzora Vineyards Shoresh Blanc 2015 (100% Sauvignon Blanc) aromatic and leesy, pure and elegant; Bordelais in style. Substantial with good underpinnings; long, deft, textured and linear. Very Good.

Sphera White Concepts - Riesling 2015 aromatic and floral with honeysuckle and beeswax; ripe fresh yellow stone fruit, candied pineapple pieces and lime zest. Mosel-esque but with more warmth. Long and substantial, pure and deft. Very Good.

Sphera White Signature 2015 (100% Chardonnay) fresh and elegant, delicately oaked with good underpinnings. Flinty and mineral; tight yet harmonious. Very Good.
"C" Blanc du Castel 2014 (100% Chardonnay) textured and substantial Burgundian Chardonnay; ripe melon and baked apple fruit with substantial, creamy-nutty-oatmealy underpinnings. Substantial and fresh. Very Good Indeed.
The Reds
Flam Classico 2014 (Bordeaux blend plus Syrah) lifted and floral with dried green herbs, sweet spices and fresh, juicy cherries and bramble fruit; long with fine tannins and a mineral backbone. Deft and elegant. Very Good.

Castel Grand Vin 2014 (Bordeaux blend) focused and intense nose, muscular and precise with spices, black-cherry and dark berry fruit; Pure, precise, linear and mineral with very fine tannins. Complex, muscular and athletic. Very Good Indeed.

Tzora Vineyards Misty Hills 2013 (CS, Syrah) lifted and aromatic with ripe dark fruits, cool mint, minerality and peppery spice; supple and full with an inky texture. Fresh, elegant and drinkable with a balanced harmoniousness.

Flam Superiore 2006 (Syrah, CS) complex mature Medoc-esque nose of bell pepper, rosehip, old leather and spice cupboard leading to raspberry and tobacco leaf with ripe dark berries, spice and liquorice. Supple, harmonious and fresh with good underpinnings.

Drinking very nicely now, this is just at its peak.

Castel Grand Vin 2008 (Bordeaux blend) ripe bramble fruit and spice; vibrant and youthful, it is just ready; harmonious and fresh with fine tannins and just a hint of bell pepper and rosehip aromas coming through. Very Good.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Italy's San Marzano - Puglia

Four wines from Italy's San Marzano, based in Puglia

Established in 1962 by 19 local winemakers, Cantine San Marzano is now a co-operative of over 1000 small growers specialising in the local Primitivo grape, but also producing whites.

Big, bold and expressive yet well-made and classy, these are easy-to-enjoy wines with a southern warmth.

Verdeca 2016 (100% Verdeca) tropical citrus and kiwi with sweet spices. Ripe and pleasing with a fresh salinity.

Salento Bianco Edda 2015 (80% Chardonnay, 15% Moscatello Selvatico, 5% Fiano) ripe yellow stone fruit and melon with aromatic beeswax, heady honeysuckle blossom and white pepper spice; full, waxy and substantial.

Good.

Primitivo Rosé Salento 2015 - Tramari ripe, soft red-berry fruit, creaminess and spices. Very-enjoyable food rosé.

Primitivo di Manduria Riserva 2013 Anniversario 62 Sun-baked, spicy southern Italian red with sweet, ripe stewed prune and juicy black cherry fruit with tobacco leaf, spice and fresh, mineral backbone. Supple and substantial yet elegant.

Good.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

An Evening With Barone Ricasoli

A tasting of Ricasoli wines with Barone Francesco Ricasoli

Meeting the Baron

An elegant and charismatic man who makes elegant and impressive wines, Baron Francesco Ricasoli talked over dinner about the challenges not just of vintage and climate, but also deer and wild boar in the vineyard as well as Italian bureaucracy.

Dismissive of the natural wine movement, he wants to make the best wines he can that will stand the test of time, not be the dog that barks at every passing car.

What most impressed me, however, was his sense of team work at the winery - more important than his own strong opinions, he encourages all of his team to think, learn and explore ideas and challenge existing norms.

For the Baron, the team's role is not simply to carry out their jobs but beyond that to learn from outside influences, challenge assumptions and come up with new ideas.
A bit of history
One of the most established producers from the Chianti region, the Ricasoli family has been associated with winemaking in the since 1141.

Italy’s oldest wine estate, and now the largest in Chianti, it was Francesco's ancestor Bettino Ricasoli who created the classic Chianti blend in the 1870s.
The wines 
To start
2015 Torricella Chardonnay fresh, elegant, deft and harmonious in a tight, pure unoaked style. Good.

Flight #1
A pair of super-Tuscans 

2013 Casalferro (Merlot) very fresh with varietal coffee grounds and cherries, spice and fine tannins. Merlot with a Tuscan accent. Very Good.

2006 Casalferro (Sangiovese, Merlot) fresh and youthful, still primary with plums, tobacco leather and liquorice; elegant, pure and harmonious. Very Good.

Flight #2
A trio of Chiantis from different vintages - all showed fresh, pure cherry fruit with  fine tannins and leatheriness. Here the 2008 stood out as the best. 

2013 Castello Di Brolio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione fuller, plumper, more youthful. Very Good.
2008 Castello Di Brolio Chianti Classico fresh and primary, very adept and balanced. Very Good Indeed.
2003 Castello Di Brolio Chianti Classico the beginnings of some rosehip and aged character. Very Good.

Flight #3

A duo this time; both were plump and supple, fresh and elegant with cherry, plum and rapsberry fruit.

2013 Colledila Gran Selezione lovely fruit, fine tannins and great length. Very Good.
2010 Colledila full and plump. Very Good Indeed.

Flight #4
2007 Castello Di Brolio Vin Santo fresh and floral with beeswaxy honeysuckle; toffee, butterscotch and dried apricots, sweet spices, leather and freshness. Very delicious. Very Good.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Olivier Dauga's Ukraine and Bordeaux Tasting

Notes from Olivier Dauga's Kolonist and Rollan de By tasting

The Ukrainian wines at this tasting were the more interesting but less technically adept; the Bordeaux wines showed flawless typicity and precisely reflected the conditions of their vintage.

Kolinist was founded around 15 years ago and is located on the Romanian border; Rollan de By is a modern Médoc estate that has expanded since 1989 to 70 hectares.
Kolonist
Bisser Sparkling NV (100% Chardonnay) significant bottle variation, but the better of the two showed fresh elegance with yeasty brioche

Sukholymanske white 2015 (100% Sukholymanske) fresh and light with green apple and a Jura-esque florality-nuttiness

Cabernet Merlot 2011 ripe and supple with dried green herbs, bramble and cherries; light and fresh

Cabernet Merlot 2012 soft, supple and elegant with good bramble fruit and dried herbs

Cabernet Merlot 2015 in magnum and from a better year, this has a little more oomph

Odesa Black 2015 (Cab, Alicante Bouschet) ripe bramble and berry fruits, dried herbs; fresh supple and spicy - big and full but balanced
Riesling 2015 full and fresh with ripe yellow stone fruit, spiciness and minerality; slightly off-dry

Domaines Rollan de By
Ch Haut Condissas 1999 dried fruits, dried bell peppers and rosehips with a muscular mineral core; long, substantial and supple but tiring. Drink up now. Good.

Ch Haut Condissas 2010 expressive, vibrant and fresh with bramble fruit, dried green herbs and mintiness. Wonderful wine from a wonderful vintage. Very Good.

Ch Haut Condissas 2014 sits somewhere between the light 2012 and the substance of the 2010; Good.

Ch Greysac 2012 light, fine and elegant with bramble fruit and mint; can't hide the inherent weakness of its vintage

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Judean People's Hills

Judean Hills tasting

- Are you the Judean People's Front?
Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
Watch the clip here


Ever had an Israeli wine?

These wines from the Judean Hills are superb - deft, harmonious, complex wines with a European style and, even, aging potential.

The rocky Judean Hills - up to 1,000m altitude and around 50 miles inland from the Mediterranean sea - have the soil type, altitude and climate to make great wines. What they don't have is any brand awareness - of Israeli wines, of the Judean Hills area or of the four wineries that make up the Judean Hills quartet.

These are not volume producers, but small-scale, quality-led wineries. In that respect their challenge us similar to what Austria faced in the 90s - at best nil brand recognition, with low volumes and high quality.

The best advice I can give them would be to have a long chat with Willi Klinger, Head of the AWMB that has done so much to raise the profile and value of Austrian wines globally.

The quality of the wines is not in doubt - the challenge is more in raising awareness of why spending £30+ on a wine you have never heard of and that looks more like a mid-teens wine would be money well spent.

The four wineries are:

Tzora
Sphera
Castel
Flam
Detailed tasting notes to follow.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Olivier Dauga's Bordeaux and Ukraine Tasting

A tasting of Olivier Dauga's wines from Bordeaux and Ukaine

What do Ukraine and Bordeaux have in common?

Quite a bit, actually, when you have former rugby player Olivier Dauga as consultant winemaker.
Over a dinner at Parabola in The Design Museum, Olivier presented a vertical tasting of wines from Rolland de By alongside wines from Kolonist with owners Ivan and Alla Plachkov.
At the pre-dinner tasting I was far more interested in the Ukrainian wines - and not just because I have a long history with the country. In my limited experience, Ukrainian table wines are fairly forgettable, so what would these have to make them worthy of interest?

With a fizz, reds and whites there is a range of wines and all are light, elegant and well-made. And after tasting Olivier's Bordeaux wines, the family resemblance was quite apparent.
Originally a plant manager in something typically Soviet and industrial, Ivan decided not to become an oligarch or buy a football club, but instead to make wine in Krynychne near the Romanian border.

On an exploratory trip to Bordeaux, he met Olivier and the rest is history.
Rollan de By is an excellent modern Bordeaux estate based in the Medoc - their wines were no less interesting - and, indeed, technically superior - but they told a rather more conventional tale; give me a list of recent Bordeaux vintages and I could put them in order of quality. On a good day, I might not even need to refer to the internet to do it.

And these wines precisely reflected their vintages - quelle surprise! - the 2010 showed best, followed by '14 and the '12; the '99 was fully mature with the fruit starting to dry out and nowhere further to go.

For the purist-traditionalist, the Rolland de By wines represent faultless Bordeaux - well-made, even in a weaker year, they are exactly what a Bordeaux should be, and demonstrate why vintage is such an important factor in this part of the world.

The Kolonist wines are not as strong technically, but provide a fascinating off-piste detour for the curious.
Detailed tasting notes to follow.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Loeb 2015 Rhône Primeurs

Loeb's 2015 Rhône Primeur tasting

The overall impression of the 2015 vintage in the Rhône based on this tasting is that this is a good year: the whites are fresh and elegant; the reds concentrated yet equally fresh and poised.

Top white - South

Domaine la Monardiere Vacqueyras Blanc la Galejade 2015 waxy and full, floral and fresh, substantial. Good.

Top white - North

Domaine Stephane Ogier Condrieu la Combe de Malleval 2015 leesy, oaky and substantial with fresh, adept fruit. Very Good.

Top Reds - South
Domaine du Pesquier Gigondas 2015 spicy, fresh with dark fruit, plump and supple texture and fine, firm tannins. Very Good.

Domaine Bosquet des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape Chante de Merle VV 2015 fresh, plump and harmonious; spicy and complex. Very Good.

Domaine de Marcoux Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2015 cherry-fruited and spicy, poised, fresh harmonious and complex with fine, muscular tannins. Very Good.

Top Red - North
Domaine Jean-Michel Stephan Cote Rotie Coteaux de Bassenon 2015 plump, supple and mineral with dark fruit. Very Good
Recommendations from Jancis Robinson who also attended:

Dom Nicolas Boiron 2015 Côtes du Rhône
16.5 points
Pale garnet. Warm, approachable nose with some dried herbs on the end. Good freshness and very appetising. Long. GV
Drink 2017-2019
£65 per case of 12 ib OW Loeb

Dom du Pesquier 2015 Vacqueyras
16.5 points
Mid crimson with a pale rim. Delightfully sweet, ripe nose. Very heady and exciting with good energy. I've had Châteauneufs that were not nearly as pleasurable as this. Hint of menthol adds to the fresh impression. GV
 Drink 2017-2022
£105 per case of 12 ib OW Loeb

Dom de Fontbonau 2015 Côtes du Rhône
16 points
Mid crimson. Quite a gamey nose. Then very rich and spicy on the palate. Just a bit too much for me. But would be very rewarding for those who seek concentration and ripeness. Quite a statement!
Drink 2019-2023
£95 per case of 6 ib OW Loeb

Dom du Murinais, Caprice de Valentin 2015 Crozes-Hermitage
17 points
Blackish glossy crimson. Really rather sumptuous though its oaky petticoat is showing a little at the moment. Very round and ripe and gorgeous. I defy anyone not to be seduced by this, even though it is about three times riper than a typical Crozes. GV
Drink 2019-2024
£85 per case of 6 ib OW Loeb

Stéphane Ogier, La Rosine Syrah 2015 IGP Collines Rhodaniennes
17 points
Good, healthy, direct northern Rhône Syrah on the nose with quite a bit of polish but honesty too. Appetising and long. GV
Drink 2018-2023
£150 per case of 12 ib OW Loeb

Jean Lionnet, Terre Brûlée 2015 Cornas
17points
Blackish crimson. Salty/treacly nose with masses of fruit. Is this really Cornas?! Masses of pleasure. Most impressive! And not a silly price.
Drink 2018-2025
£225 per case of 12 ib OW Loeb

Stéphane Ogier, Réserve 2015 Côte Rôtie
17 points
Healthy deep crimson. A hint of oak on the nose here. Then rich and refined with more concentration than some. Masses of energy. Coiled-spring sensation. Splits the difference between classicism and modernism.
Drink 2020-2032
£245 per case of 6 ib OW Loeb

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Two Spring Aromatics

Two aromatic wines for spring - Robert Oatley and Jean-Luc Colombo

The days are getting longer, perhaps even a little warmer.

These two classy whites are textured enough for early spring and aromatic enough for lighter dishes.

Both are waxy and full with a nod to Italy - Fiano is originally from southern Italy, whilst the Vermentino (known as Rolle across the border in France) is also Italian in origin.

Both would make good picnic wines if the weather permits; otherwise match with garlic-and-herb roast pork, chicken or monkfish.

Robert Oatley Hancock & Hancock Fiano 2016 (£14.55, Luvians Bottleshop, Ann et Vin, Eynsham Cellars, Warren Wines, Amp Fine Wines) ripe, fresh  melon and pineapple fruit with a creamy nuttiness. Full and substantial.

Good.

Jean-Luc Colombo Collines de Laure Blanc 2015 (£13.85 Harrods, Campbell Moore, Evington’s, Islington Wine, Planet of the Grapes) waxy and floral with fennel aromas and fresh ripe melon and stone fruit. Full and substantial with a southern warmth.

Good.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Grand Cercle Primeurs 2017

The Grand Cercle Primeurs 2017 tasting of wines from 2016

If you want a bottle of wine to taste nice and be reliable, then the vagaries of Bordeaux vintages is not for you.

On one level, the idea that some years are better than others is an affront to common sense - why would you wish for weaker years just so that better years can be rarer?

Why have less of a good thing?

But we do not live in a monological world in which all Bordeaux vintages are uniformly adequate - and no more.

And that's the fascination - every year is different and some are better than others.

If that sort of logic does not appeal, then look away now.
2016 was referred to by the owners of a classed growth as better than 2010 - for vintage-watchers, that's quite a claim. Especially on the back of a strong 2015.

The Bordelais have established an unenviable reputation for declaring every year the vintage of the century.

But, make no mistake, 2016 is a very good year.

The wines at this tasting were all ripe, full and substantial - there is no lack of quality base material here. The only question is the quality of the winemaking.

Here are the wines that I most enjoyed - all 2016 vintage.

Pomerol
Ch Mazeyres ripe, plump, perfumed, fresh and substantial. Very Good Indeed.

Lalande de Pomerol
Ch Siaurac fresh, focused, precise, substantial and harmonious. Very Good.

Saint Emilion GC
Ch Montlabert plump, supple and full; pure and focused with food underpinnings. Very Good.

Haut-Medoc
Ch Malescasse ripe, plump, supple; harmonious with some grip and fine tannins. Very Good.

Margaux
Ch Haut-Breton Larigaudiere plump and lifted with ripe fruits; fresh with a muscular core. Very Good.

Ch La Tour de Bessan inky pencil shavings, fresh with fine-yet-firm tannins. Very Good.

Graves
Ch de Cerons inky pencil shavings, substantial and harmonious with fine tannins. Very Good.

Ch Roquetaillade La Grange plump, supple, substantial and harmonious with fine tannins. Very Good.

Pessac-Leognan
Ch Haut Bacalan fresh, inky pencil shavings; substantial, ripe, harmonious and supple. Very Good.

Ch Haut Lagrange fresh , pure, plump, substantial and harmonious. Very Good.

Non-reds

Graves
Chateau Saint-Robert "Cyber Poncet-Deville" fresh, substantial and structured Sauvignon-based dry white. Very Good.

Sauternes
Ch de Myrat complex, honeyed-beeswaxy, fresh, floral and substantial. Very Good Indeed.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Ballerina - Chateau Brown Rosé

An elegant pink from Chateau Brown

Fly it, sigh it, try it ...
Step right up, and step right up
And step right up
Just like a ballerina
Stepping lightly

- Ballerina, Van Morrison (Astral Weeks, 1968)

Chateau Brown is based in the Pessac-Léognan appellation of Bordeaux and, despite a history dating back around a thousand years, is only a decade-or-so old under its present ownership.

This pink is ballerina-esque, delicate yet athletic.

Château Brown Rosé 2016 ripe, soft red-berry fruit; fresh and mineral wit toasty leesiness. Elegant, long and precise.

Very Good.

Drink as an aperitif or with prawn starters.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Wild Fruits, Wild Flowers - Abbotts & Delaunay

Two wines from Languedoc-based Abbotts & Delaunay available at Majestic

Languedoc-based Abbotts & Delaunay was created in 1995 by Catherine & Laurent Delaunay, two young Burgundian winemakers trained in the New World.

Accordingly, their wines are elegant and food-friendly with a ripeness and purity plus a touch of southern warmth.

Abbotts & Delaunay Viognier 2015 (£9.99) peachy-apricotty fruit, fresh, floral and ripe, slightly poached with some spicy late harvest richness and leesy Brazil nut depth. Elegant and pure.

Good.

Match with roast pork or chicken.

Abbotts & Delaunay Merlot 2015 (£9.99) cherries, coffee grounds and spice with a Burgundian delicacy and freshness. Supple, muscular core.

Good.

An easy sipper, match with sausages, salamis or arrabiata.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Chateau Lascombes Tasting - New and Old

A tasting of Bordeaux second growth, Chateau Lascombes at Les 110 de Taillevent

Chateau Lascombes is a second-growth Bordeaux based in Margaux - in simple terms, this means it is very good indeed, one of the best, and that the wines have a certain fleshiness to them.

In pricing terms, this makes Lascombes expensive-but-not-ridiculous. In a good year, you might buy the second wine for a fraction of the price and have a wine that will last and age to complex maturity.
Our tasting started with the 2016 - the first ever showing of this wine, it had ben brought over the day before in suitaceses.

This was followed by older vintages for a sense of perspective.
Blended by Michel Rolland, the 2016 is considered to be from a better year than 2010. Drinking nicely now, Serena Sutcliffe MW pronounced it rich and easy to drink.

Lascombes 2016 ripe bramble fruit, plump and fleshy, supple and harmonious with soft, rounded tannins; long with a firm, athletic core. Very Good.

With starter
Chevalier de Lascombes 2010 vibrant and fresh second wine from a good year; still youthful and primary. Rounded and harmonious. Very Good.

Lascombes 2011 classic mature Bordeaux; lighter, more evolved and less substantial than the 2010. Good.

With main
Lascombes 2009 from a warm year; big with alcohol and grip. Still quite primary with good freshness and firm tannins. Good.

Lascombes 2005 lovely mature Medoc, classic and typical with no rough edges or flaws. Very Good Indeed.

With dessert
Lascombes 2001 from an overlooked vintage, fully mature Medoc with freshness, precision, vibrant acidity and a muscular core, even if the fruit is becoming a little dried and herbaceous. Very Good.