Sunday, 6 July 2008
General, 8 June 2008
Three wines with dinner, and a tawny afterwards.
Devils Lair Chardonnay 2001, Margaret River, Australia
Noel Young - £12.50 (bin end sale) A-
A settled New World Chardonnay. Last week, we tasted the 1998 vintage and although I enjoyed it, some of my dinner companions thought it to be too musty/tired for their liking. This Chardonnay still displayed a nice vibrancy to it; there is still remnants of fruit characters here, but its not the fresh, aggressive citrus-driven flavours but has developed into a sweeter, fuller palate like that of pineapples, as opposed to citrus/lime. The oak treatment and acidity, along with the aging makes this wine feel more like a rather young white burgundy/chablis, it has more of an old-world feel than a new-world one. I thought the balance and structure was spot on; caught at an interesting time in its development where the fruit hasnt all disappeared yet, whilst still developing the creamy, more textured feel that comes with age. Wonderful really and good value too.
Independent adjudicator: 7/10
Was had with: Potted shrimps with lime mayonnaise. Went well with the food too. The lime mayonnaise really cried out for a substantial white wine and this one delivered.
Ch. Ramage La Batisse 2000, Cru Bourgeois Haut Medoc, France
Noel Young - £35 (Magnum) B+(+)
First time I've brought a Magnum to dinner; it sure is impressive when placed on a table, shows everyone else that you mean business. Was bought because it was one of a few Magnums that could be found retail at short notice. Vintage is widely regarded as excellent, so no worries there. Again I felt that this wine was caught at an interesting point in its evolution; the fruitiness was still there, displaying plump red fruits, blackcurrants and plums. Towards the back of the palate, this wine begins to display its age and slightly more evolved characters, with hints of wood and cedar coming through. I think its could easily be laid down for another five years at least or even longer should you like your Bordeaux to be settled and mellow.
Independent adjudicator: 7/10
Was had with: Beef olives, new potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Beef and Bordeaux can't really go wrong. The gravy with the beef was somewhat tomato-driven, which is never easy to pair with wines.
Fairview La Beryl Blanc 2007, South Africa
Noel Young - £10 (50cl) B+
Made from a blend of Semillon and Chenin Blanc that has been air-dried to lose its moisture, leading to a naturally sweet, unfortified wine. It displays lovely notes of sweet apricots/nectarines, floral honey and even pineapples; it really reminded me of one of those fruit juice blends you buy in M&S. Sweetness isn't cloying, and acidity provides nice balance. I dont see why it wont age, but nothing too long, perhaps 5-10yrs. My only criticism of this perhaps would be that the flavours aren't integrated/together, which I tend to find in New World sweets. This desert wine doesnt feel as intence or concentrated as say a classed Sauternes would, so I think its suited to light, summery puddings, perhaps an apricot crumble with custard? Good value too.
Independent adjudictor: 8/10
Was had with: Raspberry trifle. Not the ideal pairing, but it still went acceptably well. I drank most of mine on its own, after having finished the desert itself; did more justice to the wine.
Old Redemption Exceptionally Old Tawny NV, Barossa Valley, Australia
Noel Young - £15 (50cl) A
Made by the boutique winemaker David Franz from parcels of his families' vineyards all over Barossa Valley. He is known to make such strange things as Sparkling Cabernet Sauvignons. This tawny was made from a blend from various reserves that have accumulated over the years, so placing an age is not straightforward. The appearance of the tawny struck me as being a rather attractive pink like slightly diluted cranberry juice (cosmopolitan, anyone?), with a slight golden tinge. Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth and elegant, flavours are mainly of raisins and sultanas but it isnt overwhelming, just sorts of lingers and goes on in the background. Another unique thing about this tawny is the spiciness of it, its like caramelised ginger with a nice fiery kick to it. So really, lots of things going on everywhere. Absolutely lovely and quite unique (hence the higher than usual rating), excellent value for what you get.