Waitrose have been selling a St. Joseph red from the above co-operative for many years and it’s always ben a reliable Syrah, often with some complexity. However I haven’t bought a bottle for a while and – memory playing tricks, no doubt – it didn’t taste quite as I remembered it. In particular, the white pepper notes characteristic of Syrah were absent, leaving a fruity wine with little complexity. Youthful in appearance, some strawberry notes rather spirity on the nose, slightly smokey. A decent drink and if northern Rhone is your thing you’ll find it agreeable.
[Geoff: This was underwhelming when first tried which we have noticed before in wines from this particular AC, the largest in the northern Rhone. It seemed too young to have developed any Syrah characteristics. I kept it vacuumed and in the fridge for four days by which time it started to change into something more interesting. This confirmed my suspicions that it had been released and sold way before its time – a pity. I wonder if this is the result of stocks being piled up before of a certain political action?]
I like beer but I don’t like gewurtztraminer – so I couldn’t resist a bottle of beer (Redchurch Urban Farm House) made using skins from that grape. Advertised as a ‘sour’ it certainly didn’t disappoint, The presence of gewurtz was hard to detect, I’m pleased to say. Cloudy and a lot of unappealing sediment meant we didn’t finish the bottle. Nevertheless an interesting idea from a Bethnal Green brewery who always make beers worth trying. Bought at Connollys Wine Merchants in Brum.
[Geoff: Never had sour beer before and it certainly was that! I’m not a beer drinker nowadays but I enjoyed tasting a small amount. Treating it like a wine rather than knocking it back was certainly better for me. Great with pickled herrings, gherkins and the like, I should think. I’d drink this and similar again.]
Malbec is becoming a grape I always fail to recognise. This time there was a very purple wine, clearly young, slightly Cabernet France herbaceous and green, rather tannic and raw although it became richer in the glass with more fruit and a hint of mint. Not much else to say and I found it rather anonymous, so much so that I had no idea what the grape was and even got the continent wrong. (Poligonos Malbec Zuccardi, 2016).
[Geoff: Certainly was modest. From Morrisons, who have an interesting wine range, about £14. Grapes picked from various sites in the Uco Valley. Being cynical, I’m going to venture from various young vines that aren’t fully mature – but need to be picked for cash-flow reasons. This got no better, stayed quite green and slightly raw with none of the depth of flavour this grape can develop. Zuccardi have done better than this.]
We rarely blog wines from this village, what with them being so expensive but Geoff has acquired a modest collection over the years and decided to push the boat out. Not tasted blind but pretty easy to identify anyway as a white burgundy. However the ‘M’ word does heighten expectations… This was double decanted and presented a classic nose with a hint of reduction. This led to a blast of full-on flavour with a lemony attack. Subtle it wasn’t, nor especially complex. Good but not great. (Girardin Meursault, Le Limozin 2011, 13% ABV).
[Geoff: Certainly a ‘modest collection’, as R. states but probably one that needs a few years; Meursaults are usually long livers. ‘High Vis’ yellow, clear with lots of lemony acidity – so ageing potential is there. A smell of fresh, sappy vegetation (it always reminds me of holly tree leaves for some reason). The palate was a repeat of the citrus and not particularly rounded or classically nutty with a long dry finish. The nose was more complex than the palate. Drunk too young probably.]
This (Ch. Lalande D’Auvion 2015, Waitrose £10) was a medium red young looking wine with a red fruit scent, quite sharp and tannic to taste even though decanted into a jug, not at all complex. Surprisingly it improved and smoothed out a little in the glass. I thought I detected some Cabernet Franc but the blend seems to be 50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Decanter gave it a surprising 93/100 and claimed ‘savoury development’, which passed me by. In summary a wine lacking ripeness and generosity. I also have a bottle of this which I’ll keep for a bit, more in hope than expectation.
[Geoff: Strange this one. I’d tried same wine at tastings on two occasions and was impressed with it, hence my purchase. I have two more of the ’16 vintage, let’s hope they’ve more character than the ’15. It was better later with food but still not as I remember. Fresh red fruits, light and, as R. said, lacking richness. Couldn’t find anything about it in the Bordeaux ‘bible’.]
Have I? I recognised the distinctive bottle instantly but, tasting blind the wine didn’t trigger any memories, despite me liking it (not blogged though). Deep red in colour with a ‘red wine’ nose, lacking any specific grape aromas, rather spirity, some herbal fragrance. Raw and short to taste and lacking in character. The grape used – Graciano – is rarely bottled on its own and is mostly used as a component of Rioja blends. Not as good as the bottle I tried a few months ago. (Rey Noble Graciano 2016, from MWW).
[Geoff: Yep, I was disappointed with this. It didn’t seem as fine as one I’ve tried from M & S (which came from Rioja region rather than Navarre). There were hints of its delicacy but they stayed as hints and rather flattened by the bigger notes. Pity.]
Namely Lustau Puerto Fino. Not tasted blind but unmistakable anyway with its savoury pungent nose with hints of varnish and polish. Very pale green-yellow, still fresh with smokey notes on the palate and a rich bracing finish of medium length. Matured in the port town of El Puerto de Santa Maria but with not as much salinity as that found in manzanilla. The mark on the label (una palma or one palm) indicates a young wine – Lustau say about 5 years old. Very good and a step up from, say, Tio Pepe.
[Geoff: Bought from Vin Neuf in Stratford-upon Avon. I recommend a visit if you’re in the area. Light, lemony, not too yeasty, fresh. Only 15% and reminded me of great trip to Jerez. Plate of olives, manchego and some anchovies was needed – which we didn’t have.]