Author Archives: ricmmorris


Some wines, like Chateau Musar or Vina Tondonia are generally easy to spot from the aroma. Another is (most) white burgundy. And so it was that I confidently pronounced this wine (Saint-Aubin Champs Tirant, 2014) as such, despite it being opened twenty-four hours and double decanted. As it turned out I’ve got a bottle, as yet undrunk, Geoff having picked up a few marked down in Waitrose. A classic supple, spicy nose, with a hint of struck match, rich smooth mouth-feel followed by a complex lemony taste. A bargain at the reduced price of £16.99.

[Geoff: I’m delighted to hear that Richard has another bottle – this wine was excellent and certainly a bargain. I’m becoming an advocate for decanting all wines, regardless of colour, as it certainly paid off with this wine. Pre-aeration it was closed, slightly reductive on the nose and dominated by lemony acidity. When tried 40 mins after decanting it became broader, livelier and had lost those dominating aromas and flavours. After enjoying it on Saturday night I returned it to the bottle where I vacuum sealed it with the result Richard has described. Decanting is a must]

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Never before drunk.

This was served blind and, on the nose – rather vegetative – I thought it might be mature champagne. It smelt ‘old’. There was certainly a fine and persistent mousse. The taste was rich with some acidity, almost a demi-sec which is not a style I’m fond of. Nevertheless very drinkable. My second guess was French but not champagne. Way out as you can see from the slightly blurred picture. This is only our second Tasmanian wine after an Aldi chardonnay in 2015.

[Geoff: Whenever I spot a sparkling wine which has the equivalent price to Prosecco I buy it. Whilst I appreciate the quality of some of that Italian fizz, I find it hard to find distinguishing traits between the wines. They could have all come from the same (very large) tank. My ignorance, perhaps?

What I liked about this was its richness; I didn’t find it a demi-sec rather a full flavoured sparkler. Claire found it too acidic, it was very appley, but needed it to balance the full flavour. Good value at about £10, from M & S]

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2 x 2009

Friends round for a meal last night and, by coincidence, we tried two red wines from the 2009 vintage.

Muga is one of my favourite Riojas and this (Muga Seleccion Especial 2009) didn’t disappoint. Mature with ‘old school’ Rioja characteristics, like tar and leather with a lean savouriness. Very good and seemingly much better than the 2004 Selection Especial blogged earlier in the year.

The other wine was a claret, the Ch. Sociando Mallet 2009. Many years ago when I bought claret en primeur this was one of the standout purchases, reckoned to be of fourth or fifth growth quality at a lower price – ‘the Latour of the Northern Medoc’. Now it’s much more expensive but I found (in 2012) a half case at Tesco online for about £32 a bottle. This was decanted, unlike the Muga. As expected this was not quite mature (Rioja tends to be released only when mature) but was still very drinkable, despite the owner wanting to make a long-lived wine. Firm, weighty, minerally,  still some tannin and just as unmistakeably Bordeaux as the Muga was Rioja.

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A new appellation…

Namely Touraine Chenonceaux. Actually created in 2011 but in French wine bureaucracy terms that is as yesterday. The link has lots of useful information if, like me, you had never previously heard of this area or tasted their wine.

Speaking of which: a French style sauvignon blanc, that is to say lacking the sharp, sometimes piercing nose of a New World equivalent. Quite shy in fact with some melon or similar – a rather ‘sweet’ nose which led you to expect an off-dry taste. In fact, on the palate and wine was rich, slightly raw with some good acidity and length. Not tasted blind which was just as well as I’m not sure I would have picked the grape. Geoff found it not to his taste so I took the bottle home where Angie liked it a lot.

The wine: Domaine des Caillots 2014 ‘pur sauvignon blanc’.

[Geoff: The hospitality of three French vineyard owners (husband and wife teams) in Chenonceaux  was infectious. All essentially rivals, but also keen to promote their new AC, they provided a tasting of a selection of their wines and then gave us two bottles each to take away! They’d have liked us to stay longer but we had a tunnel time to meet. We did feel guilty about not doing them justice – only 90 minutes for 9 wines.

I’m glad Angie liked it. For me it had the hallmarks of Sauvignon – albeit much muted – namely acidity, lack of richness and breadth with little complexity. However, I did appreciate its difference to the vast majority of Touraine wines which can be rather anonymous. A Chenonceaux white is stocked by Majestic.

We’ll try a Chenonceaux red soon which is the AC’s standard blend of Cabernet Franc and Cot (Malbec). I enjoyed these more than the whites.

I wish the new region well.

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Red retaste

A few years ago Geoff and I attended a wine tasting in Lichfield arranged by Worth brothers, the Lichfield wine merchant, mentioned here. We weren’t much impressed with the wines but did like a Corbieres – Chateau D’Aussières. The blog mentions a 2007 but this was a 2008. I bought it in 2011. Not sure of the price as the WS records don’t go back that far. Not sure also as to why I hung on to this for so long since we thought the 2007 was very drinkable two years ago. Anyway a mature spicy red with lots of forward fruit flavour but not much excitement or complexity, despite it being a GSM blend plus carignan.

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A return to riesling

First riesling for a while. Decanted and tasted blind on a warm sunny evening, in Geoff’s garden. It was Domaine Saint-Remy’s Grand Cru 2009 from the Hengst site.

Bright yellow. I recognised, but couldn’t quite place the nose, which was lemony and smokey. The taste was lemon again, quite rich, of medium length, a good mouth feel, but with not quite enough acidity or complexity. I was sure it was from Alsace but the off-dry edge persuaded me it was pinot gris rather than riesling. As the wine developed I think I caught some of the well known ‘petrol’ aroma the grape produces but that may have been auto-suggestion. As the wine warmed up it started to cloy and we both felt it needed to be fridge cold to show at it’s best.

[I bought this from Gauntleys in Nottingham. It was lying rather forlornly, alone and slightly dusty in a wine rack. To me, it was not off-dry just rather rich in body and I can see why it could be mistaken for a PG. Later on, and cooler, it was still full-flavoured with little of the characteristic ‘petrol’ nose – or limes for that matter – but more cooked apple and pears, moving into more tropical fruits; I enjoyed this richness. 2009 was the third of three successive good vintages in Alsace – it showed in this wine.]

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Tio Pepe Fino En Rama

I’ve bought quite a few bottles of TP the en rama fino over the years but it’s never been blogged, to my surprise .

The wine was bottled on the 21st of April, this year, unfiltered and unclarified. The claim made is that because of this what you are drinking is as if ‘straight from the cask’. As you can see it is still a very bright, clear wine with an unmistakeable aroma, even at a distance. However the taste had a slightly sweet edge – fino is usually bone dry – which was rather disconcerting, although there was a dry finish with the usual sherry flavours. In an ideal world I’d have a bottle of the ‘normal’ Tio Pepe open as a comparison. I don’t but my memory is that has a drier taste. Nevertheless the wine went well with Geoff’s fish soup, where the sweetness blended well with the richness of the dish.

From Tanner’s, about £15.

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