Semi-random reds

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I’ve never been much interested in food and wine matching, even when I’ve tried the ‘matching wines’ which restaurants which sometimes offer to accompany a tasting menu. The explanations of the sommelier as to how the taste of the wine complements the food never quite convinces. At home I just pick I wine I fancy, irrespective of the meal. But steak normally means claret and on Friday we had Chateau Cissac 2010 (WS, about £10) alongside a salad with cote de boeuf and chips. This was smooth and approachable, lots of fruit, not very tannic, 79% cabernet. But it didn’t really say ‘Bordeaux’ to me, as it used to – no ‘cigar box’ aroma. In the eighties we bought this wine en primeur a few times and my memory is that it had more sense of place then, although I’m sure it was also more tannic and less ready to drink after 5 years.

I also opened a 2008 Contino Rioja (WS, about £23), unusually made from 100% Garnacha. Geoff had passed on an unfinished bottle of 2011 Ogier Chateauneuf (M&S £20) which he didn’t rate. The main component of this wine is Grenache so I thought it might be an interesting comparison. In fact – very different. The CdeP showed lots of bright fruit but was rather anonymous. The Contino was much heavier (although it faded badly on day 2) and definitely Rioja in style. A curiosity but, as last year I’d rather have tempranillo.

Finally on Sunday, with chicken salad, a nice light burgundy, Beaune Premier Cru Teurons Domaine de Bellene, 2010 (WS, about £28). Soft and round, very easy to drink, little complexity (despite 50% new oak) but good of its type. Enough acidity to complement a dressed salad. Made by Potel, a WS favourite. I’ve never seen a back label with so much information. What it doesn’t tell you is that the grapes suffered from 80% millerandage (uneven berry size, reducing yield), not a word we have ever used before, I think. It may be the cause of the small production – only 2336 bottles.

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