Monday, 28 February 2011

Formal Hall

Tasted Sunday, 27 Feb 2011.

Bi Blos Falanghina Di Majo 09
Oddbins £9.99 B

Clean, bit tight and lean, touch of width and oak? Plank, slight organic edge, green melons. In the palate, citrus fruits, touch of bitterness like grapefruit. Inoffensive but unremarkable.

Eidosela Albarino Rias Biaxas 09
Cambridge Wine Merchants £10.99 B+

Plenty of white fruits, sweet nectarines, peaches, even floral tones. Nice palate, fresh, clean, runs through, crying it for some good grilled shell fish. Fat acidity, all correct and balanced.

The Tin Mine 08
Oddbins £9.99 B

Smells bitter and burnt, alcoholic, full, fells like it might be big but its underwhelming on the palate. Tannins are out of place, still plenty of red fruits, extraction is weird. Cassis, dark cherries, but not big. Disappointing.

Malintoppo Simonelli Santi Aziende Agrarie 04, Orcia Tuscany.
Cambridge Wine Merchants £11.99 B+

Full of red fruits, nose is quite lifted, red berries, touch of violets and even floral tones, seductive. Palate is generous, mature, plenty of red berries, primary fruits fading away; nice fat acidity still there. Drinking at its peak, I think.

Thursday, 24 February 2011


Tastes Wed 23 Feb 2011.

Domaine de Grand Veneur, Blanc de Viognier 2003. Cotes du Rhone.

Honeyed nose, sweet apricots, nectarines, faint floral notes, maybe even a touch of toast. Palate is settled, generous, full mouthfeel, acidity barely there, fat, minerality comes through. Ripe, perhaps if anything, a touch flabby. Good expression of an aged viognier.

CUWS L11 - Bouchard Pere et Fils

Tasted Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011. A flight of wines in the Bouchard Pere et Fils stable, a major Burgundy negociant. Led by Tim Stanley-Clarke; and in true Burgundian style, the reds were tasted first. Prices are approximate retail.

2008 Bourgogne Pinot Noir 'La Vignee'
£10 B+

Light pale, Mostly red fruits, touch of earthy, wood, nice cherries there, lovely nose, slight alcoholic. Fresh acidity, lovely on the palate, light and nimble, plenty of red fruits, raspberry, strawberry.

2006 Cotes de Beaune-Villages
£12 B

Mostly red fruits, lifted, slightly baked nose, earthy, damp, some floral, violets. Slightly aged, acidity leading to astringent, fruit dying away, bit drying. Less lively, bit past its best?

2007 Beaune du Chateau Premier Cru

So highly perfumed, lifted, red fruits, slight mint even, floral, definitely earth, damp. Nice mouthfeel, very generous fruit, cherry, the oak can be felt, structure is good, will keep at least another 5+ years, bit woody. Nice length.

2008 Gevrey-Chambertin

Lifted, earthy, damp, woody, definitely a classic burgundian, theres a whiff of animal, lots of spice, also bit of vanilla. So much going on there. Fuller wine, a lot more body, generous, oak, so much fruit, acidity really still bracing, great complexity, structure. Great length, will keep another 10 years, just lasts.

2009 Chablis William Fevre
£10 A-

So much citrus, lean, mineral, touch of flint, stony. Fresh, clean, precise, plenty of citrus, acids still there but not bracing, quite generous, thought it would be more austere, nice fruit expression, ripe. And if below £10 would be good value.

2009 Macon-Lugny Saint-Pierre
£15 B

Pear, apple, citrus, grapefruit, floral, elder flower, hint of oak? Plenty of ripe fruit, generous, supple, fat perhaps bit dilute. Juicy, not as precise, perhaps a touch flabby, not austere, drinks very well on its own.

2009 Montagny Premier Cru

2007 Meursault

Formal Hall

Tasted Sunday, 20 Feb 2011.

Dona Paula 'Naked Pulp' Viognier 08. Mendoza, Argentina

Oddbins £11.99 A-

Still as crazy as when I last tasted this in Dec 2010. So much fruit on the nose, with white flowers, peaches, nectarines, some honeyed complexity too - it does smell like a sweet wine. Palate is full, textured and thick, generously coats and fills the palate, touch of oiliness too. Theres a hint of bitterness at the back, all in check. Its a big big wine - 14.5% and it still has a touch of residual sugar, this must've been really ripe stuff.

Ch. Villa Bel-Air 05. Graves.
Berry Bros £15 B+

Beautifully mature, good value claret. Aromas of cedar, cassis, dark fruits, touch of spice and tobacco, inviting. Palate is rounded, tannins have mostly resolved, fruits are just about there, mature. This is at its peak now, should hang on for another couple of years.

Kracher No. 1 Cuvee TBA 03. Burgenland, Austria.
Noel Young £25 (375ml)

Kracher never disappoints, really. Off the bat, the aromas are just jumping out at you, candied peaches, dried apricots, acacia, honey, marmalade. Palate is textured, luscious, proper TBA style, still nice acidity running through, not cloying. Simply beautiful.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

CUWS L11 - Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aine

A tasting of the Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aines range led by Jean-Luc Chapel, Brand Ambassador for Jaboulet and Peter Rowe of Liberty Wines, their UK distributors. Prices indicated are approximate retail by the bottle. There are some technical details preceding the tasting notes.

2009 Cotes du Rhone Blanc 'Secret de Familie'
£9.99 B+

Sourced from southern Rhone, 60% Grenache Blanc and other varietals.
White stone fruits, peaches, apricots, some floral, some citrus, slight alcohol tinge, organic high. Quite full on the palate, thick texture, food wine, mostly fruits, easy drinking.

2009 Crozes Hermitage 'Domaine Mule Blanche'
£24.99 A-(+)

A half and half blend of Marsanne Rousanne, grown on terroir with stone pebbles.
Some oak on the nose, funky yeast, bread, maybe even salinity, definitely mineral, still white fruits all the way, some white flowers, so expressive. Really full on the palate, so much fruits, nice mouthfeel, feels grown up, layered complexity, beautiful. Drinking very well now, but surely will age.

2008 Cotes du Rhone Rouge 'Secret de Familie'
£9.99 B+

A 60/40 blend of Grenache / Syrah.
Plenty of red fruits, cherry, currants, some earth, bit burnt, alcohol shows somehow. Slight green notes on the palate, mostly fruits, nothing remarkable, bit thin. Easy drinking, nothing complex.

2007 Gigondas 'Pierre Aiguille'
£16.95 A-(+)

A 85/15 blend of Grenache / Syrah, exceptional vintage.
Restrained nose, notes of chocolates, cherry, plenty of red fruits, heady, expressive. Good extraction not over done, plenty of dark fruits, bit herb, nice acid still runs through, a good hand at work, everything is in balance, together and integrated, surprisingly classy and drinkable (Gigondas can be a bit muscular and chunky sometimes). Will give immense enjoyment for another 5-10 years, no problem.

2007 Domaine de Thalabert Crozes Hermitage
£28.99 B+(+)

40ha of vines, Syrah only, 14 months in barrel with no more than 20% new oak, an exceptional vintage.
Plenty of dark fruits, some wood, savoury characters coming through, gamey, smoke, restrained nose, coy. Nice acidity, plenty of fruits, tannins are still there but is not chunky, dark red fruits. This is restrained power, didn't go all out, it releases the layers on the palate. Not showing that well tonight, perhaps needs time to open up. Potential.

2005 Cornas 'Domaine de Saint Pierre'
£44.49 B+(++)

3.9ha Syrah only, 12 months in oak, 20% new; vintage almost universally excellent, typically described as big and muscular.
Pastilles, violets, damsons, floral almost, expressive, lifted, plenty of red fruits, ribena /cordial like, develops to cedar and wood. Really plenty of fruits, brooding, dark fruits, not as generous on the palate as the Thalabert, just that bit thinner and closed, but the tannin far more prominent on the back. Notable length and finish. This should be beautiful when mature.

2006 Hermitage La Petite Chapelle
£52.95 B+(++)

Made in the same way as the Hermitage La Chapelle, only in final blending that the two are differentiated, La Chapelle. Hermitage AC is 125ha, Jaboulet owns 26ha, different plots contributing to the Chapelle & Petite Chapelle.
Generally 2006 Rhone a bit under-appreciated, sandwiched it is between the exceptional 05 and 07.

Red fruits, some mint, herb, spice, cloves and nutmeg, you do have to work at it though. On the palate plenty of darker fruits, some spice too; good extraction, notable fine tannins, great structure; lingering finish. Will age at last another 10 years, perhaps even 20, very much in youth now.

1990 Domaine de Thalabert Crozes Hermitage
£74.99 A

An exceptional vintage, Hermitage are said to be best since the legendary 61.
Savoury, meaty, gamey, leather, moving to cedar, tobacco, plum red fruits, so floral, lifted, at the same time woody, musky. This is like nothing I've ever nosed, so many things going on, superlatives, gives something different every time you come back to it. Palate is very ready, so yielding, very complex, mature red fruits, developed notes of mushroom and earth, some metallic, copper, touches of warmth and spice, still with power throughout. Mouthfeel remarkable and filling. Elegant, class; drinking beautifull=ly now, probably approaching / at its peak. Truly remarkable, an absolute joy to taste.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Formal Hall

Avondale Green Duck 'The Duchess' 07
Naked Wines B+

Fresh, nice acidity, grapefruit, plenty if citrus. Really quite zippy, melon, plenty in there, really quite fun, tropical fruits? Oak treatment gives slight fatness, but not overpowering. Balanced.

Heartland by Ben Glaetzer Dolcetto Lagrein 06, Langhorne Creek.
Noel Young Wines B+

Red fruits, earthy, slight rustic, metallic tones, like pinot? Savoury, bacon, smoke, wood. Really fresh fat acidity on they palate, vibrant, fruits softened to sour cherry and raspberry. Not much tannins.

Vergelegen Merlot 06
Cambridge Wine Merchants B+

Nice green notes, green peeper, leaves, touch of mint and herbs, plenty of dark berries, but smoke, tar, heat. Palate is balanced, mostly fruits, not much tannins, so yielding, generous.

Krebs Grode Huxelrebe Eimsheimer Sonnenhang Beerenauslese 08, Rheinhessen

So lifted, plenty of citrus, marmalade, stewed oranges. Really plenty fresh acidity, sugar is probably approaching 100g/l but is masked very well by the acidity, quite refreshing, touch of floral, clementine. Fantastic mouthfeel, complex, definitely high quality.

Domaine Treloar Rose
Cambridge Wine Merchants B+

Plenty of red fruits, strawberry, blackberry, currants, really quite sweet, almost herby, mint notes. On the palate, its just more fruits, touch of sugar perhaps, really forward, quite dark for a rose, depth. A big rose, if such a term exists.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

CUWS L11 - Burgundy by Berry Bros

Led by Anne McHale, Wine Education Specialist, Berry Bros. Prices are retail by the bottle at

Berry's White Burgundy NV, Jean-Luc Terrier & Ch Collovray
£9.95 B

White fruits, touch of tropical, really clean and fresh. Fruits restrained, nice acidity, citrus, decent width, little bit of oak. Together, easily drinkable, short.

Berry's Chablis NV, Domaine du Colombier
£13.80 B

Clean nose, some minerality coming through, maybe chalk? Lip smacking acidity, really racy, piercing stuff, surely Chablis all the way. Quickly fades though, just a nice acid hit.

2007 Chablis Vaucoupin Premier Cru, JP & Benoit Droin
£22 B+

Nose very similar to the previous. Fuller acidity, still piercing but wider and fatter, slightly more funky flavours, nicer minerality. Definitely more complex stuff, less primary straight fruits. The better wine, one to go with food.

2007 Chablis Vaudesir Grand Cru, JP & Benoit Droin
£38.85 B+

Fuller on the nose, slight touch of vanilla and oak, quite buttery for a chablis. Racy acidity, really piercing, mouth watering, mouthfeel is fuller though, generous, minerality more pronounced on the palate and it lasts longer. Good wine, needs food.

2007 Meursault 'Les Vireuils' Jean-Yves Devevey
£27.55 B+

Smells like toast, touch of smoke. Nice fat acidity, oak treatment leaves nicer, wide mouthfeel, good texture. Still citrus dominated, bit lean, acidity still pretty much the backbone.

2007 Pouilly Fusse 'Terroir de Vergisson' Olivier Merlin
£22.95 B+

Funky, mushroom, brioche, yeast, probably some barrel fermentation? Really good oak treatment, fat, plump, below that still plenty of fruit, the oak just adds another layer of complexity, texture. Well made.

2008 Berrys' Extra Ordinary Red Burgundy, Nicolas Potel
£14.25 B

Plenty of red fruits, red cherry, raspberry, quite floral, damson. Palate is light, fruit driven, sour cherry, crisp acidity, somewhat crunchy. Perfectly correct for a bourgogne rouge.

2007 Volnay Jean-Yves Devevey
£25.05 B+(+)

There is earthy, woody notes, still red fruits, some floral touch too, real correct nose, maybe slightly alcoholic. Nice red fruits present through palate, the woody notes also come through, tannins present. Quite crunchy, acidity more apparent.

2007 Nuit-St Georges 'Vielles Vignes' Domaine Michele & Patrica Rion
£31.25 B+(+)

More earthy character, some spice and leafy. Drinks very easily, nice ripeness there, still plenty of fruits, more cherry than raspberry, acidity is a bit dulled, needs more acid? Touch of tannin at the back, but still very rounded, integrated.

1999 Gevrey-Chambertin, Domaine Christian Serafin
£58.25 A-

More earthy, fungal, farmyard, leather, developed, still vibrant, the fruit is still there. Palate is softened, plump cherry, mature, ready.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Formal Hall

Domaine O'Vineyards O'Syrah 05
Naked Wines B +

Settled, rather subdued darker fruits, bit extracted, slight alcoholic burnt notes, some woody tones. Perfectly good wine, but unremarkable.

Tim Smith Wines Barossa Shiraz 06
Naked Wines B +(+)

More lifted, red fruits dancing on the nose, jammy, compote, confected, fuller, doesn't hold back. Palate is generous, good width, nice fat acidity, really plenty of fruits, just good Aussie Shiraz. Still touch of tannins at the back, which together with the acidity should allow this to improve.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


Sofia by Garcia Schwaderer Pinot Noir 09. Casablanca Valley, Chile.
Naked Wines £19.99 B+

Lifted red fruits, cherry, raspberries, floral, good earthy, iron filings, touch of barnyard, farmyard. Its full of red fruits on the palate, feels substantial, full mouthfeel, so generous, fat acidity which lingers and is really wide, light tannins at the back. Classy wine, seductive.

Glorioso Rioja Reserva 05
Oddbins (on offer) £6.99 B+

Plenty of fruits, red fruits, touch of spice, clove, cinnamon, star anise. Palate is settled, balanced, red fruits, plenty of nice acidity keeping it fresh, so drinkable. And at the offer price, great value.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

CUWS L11 - Veuve Clicquot

VC Yellow Label NV

Plenty of zing and tang, lime, less of the yeasty / baked biscuit tones. Plenty of citrus notes, fresh, acid is nice and tingly, very easy drinking.

VC Rose NV

Touches of strawberry though not overpowering. Slightly bigger fruits, more clunky, theres some biscuit and yeast notes. Somehow doesn't feel together.

VC Brut Vintage 02

Richer, more buttery, bread perhaps, full, still citrus. Plenty of fat acidity, really quite piercing and sharp, palate is definitely full. Needs time, the acid seems somewhat overwhelming. I imagine this will be gorgeous in about 10yrs+ time.

VC Rose Vintage 04

More fruit on the nose. Palate is fuller than the NV, more concentrated, bigger fruits, just that much better than the NV. However, it doesn't quite jump out at you, have to work at it.

VC Rich Vintage 02

Touch more yeasty, more biscuit. Greater balance than the straight vintage, more ready to drink now, feels fuller on the palate. Dosage of 29 g/l, which is significantly more than the normal Vintage, really does improve mouthfeel, just that much rounder. Nice acidity still there, but not as taut or lean. Much more enjoyable now.

VC Demi Sec

Smells more sweet, floral? More sugar than the Rich, dosage is 45g/l, but not the length and presence. Possibly even to have with light deserts. Get the impression that this is unsure of itself.

VC La Grande Dame 98

Only Grand Cru. More biscuit, fuller nose, richer, yeast, brioche, really complex nose, absolutely fantastic, epitomises champagne. Still so much acidity running through, electrifying, so lively and fresh despite age, steely, still lean. Finish is disappointingly short, only the acidity remains. The palate doesn't live up to the nose.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc 08
Hotel du Vin Cambridge A-(+)

So much white fruit on the nose, sweet ripe peaches, nectarines, white flowers, daisies, so lifted, expressive. Nice fat acidity, theres minerality showing through, chalky, rather lean, some wood treatment; hints of bitterness at the back, probably the Viognier talking. Acidity is fat, but balanced. Gorgeous, will age with ease.


Highland Park 'Saint Magnus' 12yo Limited Edition
Orkney, 55%.
Highland Park Distillery £87 A-

Plenty of sherry, nice sweetness, even some orange, citrus coming through. Theres heather, and a good dose of smoke, making this quite smoky for an HP. Palate is textured, lingering, mouthfeel weighty, classy. The 55% alcohol didn't show, easily masked by the myriad of flavours. Theres something different on each sip. Beautiful scotch, definitely worth the money.