This wine (Château de Montfaucon, 2012, Lirac, WS £13.50) was highly recommended but we were both unimpressed. An attractive, clear, bright red, young looking wine led into a cassis nose which I was sure was cabernet sauvignon – it wasn’t. Rather tannic, medium length, one-dimensional, lacking in generosity with a rather bitter finish. I couldn’t identify any of the constituent grapes – Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre.
The writer of the above blog claims it would be good value at £20. It wouldn’t.
[Geoff: Not much more to add to Richard’s comments. It did not improve or even change over three days. It also gave me a headache – twice, in fact. Not impressed. Why would you need to use five grape varieties to make a blend? The grapes are not very different instyles, either.]
Which country has the most indigenous grape varieties? Possibly a question with no definitive answer but Italy must be a possibility. Here’s another new one, from MWW – Albarossa. Apparently a cross between Nebbiolo and Barbera although it didn’t taste anything like the former to me. Anyway, slightly soupy appearance, rather spirity nose with a hint of acetone and red fruit. Fruit – MWW claim cherry which is too specific for me – also on the palate but a rather simple taste with no development in the mouth and rather short. The sort of wine you find on holiday at a bargain price and drink loads of. For the money (£9 if you buy 6) good value.
[Geoff: As Richard has written, an okay (not oakey) red, easy drinking, crowd pleasing, pasta accompanying, slurping red. A hybrid grape made in 1937; not strictly Nebbiolo.]
Tonight’s wine (Pouilly Fuisse Vers Cras Chateau de Beauregard 2012) was deep lemon yellow in appearance with a seductive layered nose I was sure I had smelt before. Big, rich, mouth filling flavour, good length and an excellent sharp/sweet balance. Clearly well made and not at the bargain end of the market. Obviously old world which lead me to suggest chardonnay, France, Burgundy, southern end, Maconnais, all of which was gratifyingly correct. In fact I’d tasted this wine before, in the 2010 vintage, when it was around £20 from TWS. I can’t claim to have remembered the taste though this wine seemed to me much better.
[Geoff: Another good spot by R. Grape, region, sub-region all identified. I associate P Fuisse with wines broader than this sometimes almost to the point of a claggy quality. This, however, had some lovely lemon acidity to keep it fresh and focussed. Yes, it had the hallmark creaminess but it wasn’t overdone. Evidently, the Vers Cras is from limestone only vineyards which accounts for that acidity and elegance. Lovely wine, drinking well now, from the WS at about £17-20.]
Of all the mainstream grapes we try this is the one I always fail to recognise and one I hardly ever buy – unlike Geoff. I can recall tasting a few over the years but not enough for the flavour profile to stick in the memory.
This was a bright green gold with a heavy, slightly sour nose, not unpleasant, which I couldn’t place. In the mouth it was medium weight, some layers of flavour, acidic but rather short and hollow. It didn’t taste like an nine year old wine. The nose promised more than was delivered. An interesting wine nevertheless.
[Geoff: I do like Semillon especially when it has developed the deeper, rounder style that some bottle age brings. Too young and it is very acidic, like ‘battery acid’ someone unkindly said. It is also low in alcohol, this was around 10%. I would say this still had a bit to go before its peak, there were some richer notes but the citrus was still dominant which tasted more like pineapple later on. A Wine Society ‘parcel’, now all sold.]
It’s not often we taste lowish alcohol wines (apart from champagne/sparkling wine which is always 12.5%), but this Sunday we tried two.
The first was another cabernet franc (Chinon Cornuelles Domaine Sourdais WS £20), and as last week, I was able to identify the actual bottle. Not difficult because the grape is distinctive in aroma and taste. Together with the appearance of the wine in the glass – clearly mature, slightly muddy – that suggested a wine we have blogged before and so it proved. A classy drink with loads of flavour and length. A shame the WS sold out so quickly although we have a couple of bottles left.
[Geoff: Those of you with excellent eyesight will have seen this is vintage 1996, showing that Cabernet Franc can be a long-liver. I’d had some the night before when it was almost sweet but certainly fragile. I then put it in the fridge (to slow down the ageing) and we tasted it slightly cool. This accentuated its green notes and gave it the ‘bite’ it lacked on first opening. An interesting difference over the two days. Full marks to R. – two tastings, two exact spots. Master of Wine standard, that.]
It’s not often you can identify the actual bottle, when tasting blind. But I managed it with this one (L’Orangeraie 2016), firstly because I knew Geoff had ordered some from TWS and secondly because the smell and taste of Cabernet Franc was unmistakable. The wine has attracted some comment – mostly favourable – on TWS Community Forums but I wasn’t much of a fan. Quite a simple, rather short wine which prompted the reflection that grapes grown outside of their traditional area often make disappointing wines.
[Geoff: I sense we’re returning to our old topic of the over-hyping wines that are perfectly okay but not greatly interesting. There is nothing wrong with this uncomplicated, really bright purple little number but it did not have the subtleties of a Loire CF and certainly not the depth. A ‘Bistro Wine’ for serving with a light lunch. Enough said.]
Despite a liking for wines from Southern France, and spending many holidays there, I’d never previously been aware of this company, formed by a French/Australian merger. Quite a polished website – they have a philosophy – which tells us they buy in grapes, rather than own vineyards, and they make a lot of different single variety wine.
100% mourvèdre wines are not common, (although we have blogged a few) so I didn’t know what to expect from this – it was not tasted blind. In fact – pretty good. Light and bright cherry colours, cherry nose, lots of red fruit, medium length, pure and balanced. Very easy to drink and a bargain at £8, so much so that we are back to MWW wine for some more.
[Geoff: A pleasant surprise and good value. Most books – as well as the website – describe this grape’s flavours as black fruit and herby. We got none of that. To us, red fruits dominated; Richard noted cranberries, I thought ripe red cherries. One book does mention red plums which I could agree with. Whatever the flavour profile this was a fruity red of some style. AKA Mataro and Monastrell, the European grapes are grown never more than 50 miles from the Med. and are particularly difficult to get right.]