Saturday, 28 February 2009

General, 01 February 2009

Two wines with dinner.

Domaine JP Balland Sancerre Grande Cuvee 2005

~£15 | A- | Berry Bros

An impressively easy-drinking Sancerre, clean expression of muted fruit with a nice creamy elegance. The terroir really shows in this wine, with chalk, slate and flinty notes showing through. I suspect there is some oak treatment, but it wasn’t overpowering, if anything, it added a slight fatness to the wine giving it more weight on the palate. There is still some citrus fruits coming through along with the associated tartness. Overall, a well-balanced wine that is drinking brilliantly now.

Was had with: Warm goats cheese salad. Not the best pairing, I thought the wine would have been better on its own.

Domaine de Remizieres Crozes Hermitage 2004

~£8 | B | Individual Wines

A basic wine that shows some notes of red fruits; tannins has mellowed out substantially. Unfortunately, nothing remarkable or memorable; wine was disappointing overall.

Was had with: Roast Lamb.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

CUWS Lent 09 - Symington Family Port

CUWS Lent 09 – Symington Family Port
18 Feb 2009

A small selection of ports from the Symington Family stable, which includes marquee names such as Graham’s, Dow’s and Warre’s and the smaller houses of Quinta do Vesuvio, Smith Woodhouse, Gould Campbell and Quarles Harris. Tasting was led by Mr Tim Stanley-Clarke, a representative from the Symingtons. Prices indicated are approximate retail prices. First three ports are case matured; the rest, bottle matured and decanted prior to serving.

Warre’s Warrior Special Reserve
£7 | B

Nice fruit flavours, with sweetness and smoothness to the fore. Nose isn’t complex, just fresh bouquet. The relatively soft mouthfeel makes this a dangerously drinkable, easygoing everyday port – a definite step up from your standard ruby.

Dow’s LBV 2001.
£9 | B+

Bottled 2007. Nose slightly more complex, touches of sweet spices and pepper. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, flavours reminiscent of the spices in mince pies; sweet and not overpowering. Theres a touch of dryness at the finish, a rather ‘masculine’ port, according to some.

Warre’s Otima Ten Year Old Tawny
£11 | A-

Fresh, rather lifted port; not heavy and bogged down. Palate shows some integrated nutty flavours; balance is everything in this tawny, superbly composed. The fruitiness almost tingles on the palate, delicious when chilled. Again, very very drinkable.

Graham’s Crusted Port.
£15 | B+(+)

Bottled 2001. Both nose and palate seems like a step up from the case-matured ports above. The flavours are deeper, more complex. Expected port flavours of dark berries, spices and licorice are all there. Tannins still grips quite a bit, not quite refined yet; could do with a few more years to fleshen out. Drinks well now, but will be showing best between 2012-2015.

Warre’s Bottle Matured LBV 1999.
£17 | B(++)

Bottled 2003. Rich, spiced nose that’s incredibly attractive; theres hints of menthol / eucalyptus (like coughdrops) hiding behind the red fruits. The palate is quite light, apparently a virtue of the Warre’s house style; which makes the lively tannins seem out of place. I suspect that this port has greater potential than was tasted; worth a look at a later date. Drink now-2020.

Dow’s Quinta do Bomfim Vintage Port 1998.
£25 | A-(+)

Bottled 2000. Deep, concentrated flavours, as expected of Vintage Port. The nose is elegant even seductive, doesn’t jump out at you; one might even call it elusive. Red fruits and spiciness has married rather well, giving a very balanced and structured port. Tannins are softening out, allowing enjoyable drinking now, albeit slightly gripping. 1998 was not considered to be an outstanding vintage for Dow’s, probably even limiting its aging potential; this port will show its best roundabout 2015-2020, with further enjoyment till mid 2020s.

Smith Woodhouse Vintage Port 1983.
£50 | A

Bottled 1985. Fully matured port, with highly developed characteristics. Nose gives an impressionable nutty and toasted tinge, along with coughdrops and an almost floral note. On the palate, its incredibly silky smooth, tannins has softened out completely, leaving the port with a more tawny complexion. The weight of mouthfeel is very well distributed, giving a satisfyingly long finish. Showed superbly in the tasting, and undoubtedly ready for drinking. Brilliant; drink now.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

General, 9 October 2008

A general wine tasting, prices indicated are approximate retail prices.

Vinas Las Ninas Chardonnay 2006

£5 | B

Clean, pale, basic Chardonnay. White fruits, with fresh acidity but not too racy. A good palate cleanser, nothing remarkable.

Bestheim Gewurztraminer 2006, Alsace.

£7 | B+

Lifted floral nose (white lilies, elderflower and the like), perhaps a touch of honeysuckle; energetic aromas. Balanced wine, acidity is masked by the freshness. Hints of kerosene like that of an oily mackerel. Well made, to be drunk now.

Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2007

£5 | B+

Standard, reliable drink. Nose is vibrant and lively. Lots of fruit jumping around on the palate; herbaceous, grassy, gooseberry notes are evident. Ticks all the right boxes for a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. At this price point, its good value too. No technical faults, but common and unremarkable wine otherwise.

Cono Sur Reserve Pinot Noir 2007

£6 | B+

Soft, seductive notes of light red fruits (raspberry, light cherry). Palate is balanced and ready to please. Its like a well made, ready to drink Burgundy - less the complexity and class, but a lot less price too. Very drinkable.

Chateau Beaumont 2003. Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois Superieur.

£12 | A-

Large property in Haut Medoc, making good reliable claret; 2003 generally regarded as a good to v. good year. Attractive nose of classic claret; damp earth / musty characters. Dark fruits still there and tannins have mostly fleshed out, though several more years won’t be amiss. Well made and ready to drink claret (3-5yrs max).

Bodegas Arrocal 2006. Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero.

£8 | B+(+)

Lots of dark fruits, typical of Tempranillo; blue/blackberry notes, with some sweetness and smokiness, Tannin is there but does not overwhelm the wine; very much a food wine. Well balanced and would keep for several more years (5+ years).

Clos Baudoin 1990. Vouvray.

£20 | A-(+)

Apparently owned by a Polish Prince that is not quite interested in making or even selling wines; actual vineyard now run by locals. Nose of honeyed white fruits (peach, apricot); fantastic uplifted floral notes. Residual sugar is relatively high, but still refreshing and not cloying. Wine is matured and v. classy, acids has softened out. This wine is delightful now; age could add more complexity (anything up to 10 yrs). Excellent stuff, though not quite in the same league as top Vouvrays.

Lindeman’s botrytis Riesling 1994.

£5 | B+

Thick, treacle-like caramel; hints of eucalyptus/menthol, cough syrup. Plenty of acid to go around, fresh and will go well with fruit-based desserts. Different character to a TBA.