So, two wines in this review, both opened on Friday evening and gently enjoyed with some very original food – which Richard, being the chef, will describe.
Firstly, a Guigal Condrieu 2008, spotted in a Waitrose sale so not as expensive as they usually are. It was quite a distinctive pale-green, very bright with some viscosity. On the nose, there was the pronounced peach and apricot fruit aromas, quite floral and delicate rather than earthy. Typical Viognier style, you might say. The palate was a little disappointing, albeit with a heavy mouth feel, rather short, dryish but lacking in any vigour. However we both agreed it might have been better decanted or even left opened to get somewhere closer to warm room temperature. This is not a white that can be treated like the others and whipped out of a cool spot and drunk immediately. However, this wine almost needed the cool to give it some ‘backbone’ – it seemed a little soft – attenuated, Richard suggested. We decided to decant the next one.
The 2010 Craggy Range Pinot Noir circa £30 from Majestic was er … majestic. It was a clear, but deep, red with plenty of viscosity. There was no hint of purple, suggesting maturity. Initially, it was shy on the nose – the aromas there were vegetal although the longer it was opened the sweeter the nose. The palate was silky smooth, dry and delicate yet with some body giving it structure. A well-made wine which was easy to drink, it initially had some minerality on the finish but this vanished as it developed and we were left with the wonderful sweet flavours that only a good Pinot shows. This delicious wine – there are five more, thankfully – was a revelation with the food, coming up next.
[Richard, great wine and one where you are really hoping there is another glass left, even though you know there isn’t.
The food. Two recipes from Jerusalem, the new book from Yotam Ottolenghi. First cod cakes in tomato sauce. Lots of spices, like cumin, paprika and coriander in the cakes and the sauce. Mint added at the end gave the sauce a lift. If I did it again I would’t food process everything, only the breadcrumbs, then finely chop the cod and mix by hand. A decent match with the Condrieu.
Next was saffron chicken and herb salad. I like using saffron so was keen to try this. The base is a sauce made from long simmered orange segments, honey, wine vinegar and saffron. This was used to dress a salad of grilled chicken, sliced fennel, red chilli and lots of herbs. The pinot, being slightly sweet. was a good match.
Finally some cheese given to me as a birthday present. A very runny and very pungent Vacherin which went well with what was left of the Condrieu.]