Author Archives: ricmmorris

Chianti?

I struggled with this one (Waitrose IPW Chianti Classico Riserva, 2013, £12). Having suggested Italy I couldn’t get enough Sangiovese characteristics to consider Chianti, which it was.

Rather faint nose with some fruit, quite pale and light with a lean mouthfeel, dry savoury tannic to taste but no giveaway cherry flavours that I could detect. Not bad for the money but I think a classico with some bottle age should offer more complexity and/or generosity.

[Geoff: I’m generally sceptical of Chianti but I have to disagree with my fellow taster. No, it wasn’t what immediately comes to mind when thinking of Chianti but it was five years old. It had matured gracefully and went very well with roast beef. Not fresh but a deeper taste and, I would imagine, great with Tuscan sausages and a rich sauce. I liked it, and I didn’t think I’d say that about Chianti. A good value wine.]

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Sheltered (Cobijado 2014 Barbadillo/Carvajal)

Apparently ‘cobijado’ means sheltered in Spanish. The wine’s name refers to a kind of burka which used to be worn by the women of Vejer de la Frontera, where the winemaker’s mother came from. This is a 15% Vino de la Tierra de Cádiz, Tempranillo 35%, Merlot 25%, Syrah 15%, Tintilla de Rota 15%, Cabernet 10%. Dark red, a powerful an enticing nose led on to a very full bodied wine with some fruit and spice and gentle tannin. Very good and another classy wine from the Cadiz region. Purchased from the duty-free at Jerez Airport, about €18.

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A (very) pleasant Pinot

This (2005 Savigny-Les-Beaune Camus-Bruchon) was a fine example of mature pinot noir. Pale red, light brown rim, an appealing nose which said ‘drink me’, fruity, still quite tannic, some length and complexity. In the glass it became deeper and darker with an attractive cherry note. A pleasure to drink and a reminder that there is nothing quite like a French pinot noir with some bottle age.

[Geoff: If last Sunday’s wines were disappointing, this Sunday’s were a joy. Both French, both classic regions and both red. And they were drunk in the right order! This was a lovely Pinot – even agreed by Pinotphobe Richard -which later went beautifully with pork chops. Very generous, gentle and, although a generic Beaune, it developed character as it breathed. I can’t remember where it came from, but there’s no more alas.]

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Something wrong?

We don’t taste many wines made from the Semillon grape and I never recognise it when we do. And so it proved on Sunday, despite me knowing in advance the wine was from Australia (Lehmann 2010 Margaret Semillon), where the grape is widely planted. There was a rather generic bouquet and the wine was very dry and acidic, without the richness and complexity you might expect from an eight year old wine. In addition there was a peculiar taste in evidence, rather like sour milk which made me wonder if the wine was faulty. Over to Geoff.

[Geoff: One of my often fruitless searches is Semillon. It’s not stocked, as a mono-varietal, in many outlets but can be found blended with Sauv. Blanc. As a single grape it needs time, probably ten years, before it starts developing the richer, lanolin notes that I, and others, find attractive. This was a part-bottle left from a wine tasting two days earlier and had been vacuumed.

When young Semillon is almost unpleasantly acidic that is why Lehmann will not release the wine until it’s had five years’ ageing in bottle (it never sees oak) and they recommend it can go for another ten years i.e. fifteen years from vintage. The ABV is only 11% so we can assume that the high acidity is critical to its ageing well.

This wine was still way too young but was just beginning to show lemon curd i.e. creamy lemon notes (Richard’s ‘sour milk’ perhaps) and needed more time. I quite liked it but it wasn’t at its best, by any means. I’ve got some older vintages of the grape as well as other winemakers, notably Mitchells from the Clare Valley and Elizabeth from the Hunter Valley. We’ll open those in a few years time and report back.]

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If this is Sunday…

…it must be a Cabernet Franc. and so it proved. A 2012 Domaine de Bel Air from Bourgueil. Old looking, brownish rim, not especially grassy or green but with a touch of farmyard on the nose. A big, pure taste with acidity balancing richness. A refreshing wine which was a pleasure to drink. Further proof that, providing it is well cellared, vintage Cabernet Franc is worth seeking out.

[Okay it was CF – but a good one from Tom Innes of Fingal Rock merchants in Monmouth, remarkable value at about £10. This developed nicely over the course of the evening; it certainly wasn’t one of those one note CFs that you come across all too often. Bourgueil and its neighbour St Nicholas de Bourgueil are the stand out communes for CF and this did not disappoint. No more CF for a while and if I do succumb I won’t report on it.]

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A different Cabernet Franc

I was tempted to reuse the title of the last post as this was a very different cabernet franc to those encountered in the Loire. So much so that I thought it was a claret blend since the typical green herbaceous nose was quite muted. A deep colour, cherry red, some vanilla on the nose, quite dry with lots of fruit, good mouth feel and well balanced. A very drinkable wine which I look forward to retasting as has Geoff sold me one of his bottles.

[Geoff: This wine offer was spotted by Richard, and being Cabernet Francophile, I couldn’t resist. My only concern was whether its SA origin would move it away from the Loire style that I love. My fears were unfounded. It had just enough tannic rasp for me whilst the forward raspberry fruit flavours did not diasppoint. Although quite light in style there was bags of flavour and room for development – which is good news as I’ve another four.]

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It’s Pinot Noir, Jim…

…but not at all as I know it, so I was completely baffled, despite having tasted the grape in champagne, either alone or in a blend.

Haltinger Pinot Noir Blanc de Noirs Trocken.

Pale yellow – I couldn’t see the hint of pink Geoff claimed, big floral, chalky nose which soon faded, rather oily in appearance which led to a thickish mouth feel, some acidity and a slight caramel sweetness, although it was definitely dry. No champagne notes for me. I also found it a little cloying on second taste. So, an interesting curiosity.

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