Some noteworthy wines tasted in August 2012, retail prices indicated where known.
2003 Chateau Bahans de Haut-Brion, Pessac Leognan
2nd label of first growth Chateau Haut-Brion. Nose was very lively, bramble fruit, though smells quite hot / cooked / baked earth initially, it blows off after some time in the glass to reveal a charming warmth with hints of sweet licorice, star anise and cedar. On the palate, the fruit is very rounded and yet persistent; velvety texture, very rounded, generous dark fruit and very juicy (unusually so for a claret); properly structured, the flavour doesnt just hit and run, it builds and sustains on the mid palate. Fine grained tannins towards the finish, so yielding and enjoyable now, but with lots of life ahead of it; drink now - 2020+.
Enjoyed with a rare Chateaubriand at Hotel du Vin, Cambridge - absolutely heavenly combination.
2011 Waitrose Sancerre 'La Franchotte' Joseph Mellot
Waitrose £10.79 | B+
Lemony nose, with hints of floral touches and some minerality. On the palate, it tastes like a classical Sancerre, with racy acidity and lemony fruit, but to me lacks a certain flinty quality that I look for in Sancerre. Very correct, a good example of a well made, if rather unexciting Sancerre.
2007 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay
The Wine Society £10.95 | A
Waxy lemon peel, though quite sweet too (presumably the oak); hints of butter and slight nutty / oxidative character on the nose. Palate is quite rich and textured, lots of lemony acidity, the generosity and ripeness of fruit is remarkable, tempered slightly by the age. Integrated, properly 'together' feel to this, its reallly aged nicely, gained lots of width on the palate. Ridiculously priced they might just as well give them out for free, such great value (even by Wine Society standards), this would knock the socks off most Burgundies twice its price. I would recommend to buy this by the case but unfortunately its now out of stock.
2010 The Wine Society Exhibition New Zealand Chardonnay
The Wine Society £12.50 | A
Made by the good folks at Kumeu River. Rich, buttery and toasty oak on the nose, quite sweet, overlain with ripe white fruits, very forward nose. Plenty of fruit on the palate, nice acidity running through; full, textured feel to this, the oak treatment is integrated, quite savoury. Very well made & great balance for my liking, such an immediately appealing and sophisticated style; a multiple award winner and deservedly so. Buy by the caseload!
2010 Domaine du Bosc Sauvignon Viognier Pays d'Oc
The Wine Society £5.95 | B+
Clean fruit, slight green notes to this (gooseberry and limes). Fresh acidity on the palate, ripe grapefruit with a touch of pith at the end; its not complicated, just honest well made wine. Very easy drinking.
2010 Toi Toi Reserve Riesling, Marlborough.
Flagship Wine £16.75 | A-
Waxy, ripe lemons here, touch of kerosense / petrol there, then ripe exotic fruits of mango and guava too; explosive, tropical, very aromatic, quite sweet nose. Bags of fruit on the palate, its off dry, perhaps 20-25 g/l residual sugar still there but lots of intense lemony acidity so the sugar doesnt feel out of place; good concentration of flavour, just carries on through the mid palate and beyond. Well balanced, classy stuff; award winner too.
2011 Moscato d'Asti DOCG, Elio Perrone.
The Wine Society | £6.50
Sweet green apples and pears here, very fruity nose, like Appletiser even. On the palate, its gently bubbly with plenty of sweet fruit, juicy with some acidity to keep it fresh and not cloying. Its a simple wine, but have this chilled with a nice fruit-based dessert and its a winner everytime. Characteristically great value from the Wine Society.