Monthly Archives: June 2015

Some good pinot

newt vos

Drunk over the weekend. The Newton Johnson came from our WS visit and is from South Africa. Not known as a place for good pinot and I’ve only every tried one other, which was Burgundian in style. This was more New Zealand-ish, quite ripe fruit, good varietal character, smooth, easy to drink and great value at £13.50.

The Vosne-Romanee comes from Grivot who is reckoned to have made great wines in 2010, despite losing 40% of his vines to a -21C freeze in December. Tiny yield so, in theory, concentrated flavour which was delivered. The wine is a blend from six vineyards within V-R. I’ve been pretty critical of red burgundy in the past but this was excellent. Bright fruit, smooth tannins and the much sought after silky mouth feel. Intense and spicy. Lasted well into day two. ‘This is a good wine’ was a spontaneous comment from Angie. I bought it en primeur from the WS for about £30. Berry Bros have it at £35.

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Two red Rhones

jab red

Both these wines came from a snappily titled WS mixed case – 2009 Rhone North and South (Revised Selection) –  purchased en primeur in 2011. Cost of the case (12 bottles) was £127 plus another £51 in duty and VAT, which makes £178 or around an average of £15 a bottle. In fact the Jaboulet was less than that and the Mont-Redon more. Both makers are on the up after a period of decline. I used to buy a case like this every year but have come to realise that it is not a good idea. Better to pick wines with characteristics you like which in my case would be early maturing and lowish alcohol. For example the case includes two bottles of Ventabren Escaravailles at 15% which I’m reluctant to open. Both these wines are ready to drink with the Jaboulet at 12.5% and the Mont-Redon at 14.5%, although that difference was not evident in the taste.

2009 in the Rhone, especially the north was hailed as a brilliant vintage. A wet winter was followed by a long, hot, dry summer. In the south it was too hot and too dry – at least until September.

The Croze was excellent. Plenty of syrah fruit with some acidity providing a lift. The tannins were integrated and it probably didn’t need decanting. I’ve never really appreciated CdP – a bit like Barolo I think. A large area with no obvious quality structure, the wines often heavy, over extracted and too alcoholic. We’ve only blogged on a couple of CdP reds. One – from a renown maker – we weren’t too keen on. The other was a lovely oddity made in a style no longer seen. So I opened the Mont-Redon with some trepidation. Actually pretty good, more full bodied and tannic than the Jaboulet but very drinkable. Not as jammy as the Usseglio linked above and lasted well into day 2. Will doubtless keep for a few years. The vineyard website is silent on the grapes used and I suspect it is a mixture of most or all of the varieties (now up to 18) allowed in the appellation with a high percentage of grenache.

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Supermarket challenge

tas oat

I enjoyed this tasting not least because it was the first R. and I had done for some time. It was good to get back to our Sunday night routine.

This was also a comparative tasting of Chardonnays, a grape I particularly enjoy, despite all of its bad press. Comparative tastings show up nuances of flavour in each wine that a single tasting fails to do – this was no exception. We were comparing an Aldi offering – Tasmanian Lot 02 Pipers River Valley – to a Co-op wine – Robert Oatley Margaret River. Each were around the £10 mark.

Both wines were very pale green in colour, the Tasmanian, if anything, slightly less coloured; both were tinged green.  There was some viscosity evident in each wine. Lemony acidity was certainly evident in each wine as was a slight oakiness but the Tasmanian wine had a more perfumed note which made the nose a bit more interesting.

The palates were appreciably different. Both had the lemon acidity but Oatley’s had the bigger, richer offering of the two as well as a heavier mouth feel, quite unctuous. Although definitely dry, it gave a slight fruit sweetness, possibly because of the richer style. The Tasmanian wine was not as rich but was higher in acidity. It had a pineapple flavour and, to us, seemed slightly more refined and delicate than Oatley.

Both were very well made wines and very pleasurable to drink. Good value at £10. I prefer the richer style of Chardonnay, possibly more oaked than these were, but, nevertheless I enjoyed both wines.

[Richard: Geoff mentioned he was bringing a chardonnay round and I spotted the Lot 2 in Aldi the same day. Otherwise not planned. This is the second of the Aldi Lot series I’ve tasted and thought it pretty good and just preferable to the Oatley where the superior mouth feel was undermined by some residual sweetness.]

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Wine in Kefalonia

kef 6 kef 7 kef 5 kef 4 kef 3 kef 2 kef 1

Just back from a week in Katelios, a village on the south coast of Kefalonia. Two small ‘mini-markets’ (aptly named) were the only source of wine unless you had a car and could visit the local vineyards. Mostly white grapes grown. Actually not a bad choice in these shops and we enjoyed all of the above. Not especially cheap (not much is on the island) although there was plenty of bulk wines available in plastic bottles. We didn’t buy any but tried plenty in the local restaurants. Drinkable and only €6 a litre. Robola is the biggest co-op on the island as well as being the most common grape.

Rapsani (this is the wine on the left in the last photo), Mt Olympus, 2011, 13%, €9.50, blend xinomavro, krassato, stavroto. Ripe fruit, cherry, good acidity, complex, ruby colour, nice wine but faded by day 2.

San Gerasimo, Robola co-op, 2014, €9.40, San Gerasimo, 12.5, chalky nose, some spritz, reminded me of muscadet/picpoul.

Domaine Foivos, Keffallonian robola, 2013, 6.70, full flavor, some acidity, melon nose, almond finish vg, 12.5%.

Ainos Wines, Nefele, 2014, Tavianatos Vineyard, €6.30, syrah, CS, mavrodaphne, light ruby, bright acidity, some oak, Sangiovese like, cherry, good mouthfeel 12.5%. I thought this wine was the best value red we tried.

Linos red, 12.5%,nv, from Kefalonia but ‘blend of Hellenic grapes’, €6.45, least interesting so far, some spice, savour.

Robola of Cephalonia 2014, 12.5, €6.90, not as complex as other whites tried, chalky nose, some fruit. This wine, with its cloth bottle cover, is the most common up-market wine seen in the shops.

Domaine Siglas Mu 2013, Santorini, mandilaria and mavrotragano grapes, €13.50, 13.5%, dark red, sour cherry taste, some tannin and acidity, very good.

Atlantis Estate Argyros 2013, Santorini, assyrtiko 13.00%, €8.80, typical varietal nose, pale lemon colour, not complex, refreshing acidity, lemon and apricots. Is, or used to be, sold by M&S.

These last two (non-Kefalonian) wines came from a wine shop in Agostoli, the island capital.

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