WanderCurtis Wine

Wine tastings, corporate events, reviews and recommendations

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Jean Louis Chave Hermitage 2004

Opened on the TGV on the way from Lille to Valence, with a group of friends en route to northern Rhone odyssey. Popped and poured, no decanters available on the train I’m afraid. Poured into assembled plastic glasses, very finely rimmed, I might add…

Deep red, no signs of age showing. Nose characteristic Chave, roasted smokey peppery, initial pure blackberry, and then red berries, then organic garrigue, some earthy aromas, leather in the background and then more deep blackberries coated with sugars which accentuate the flavours, but not overripe. ‘It just smells like serious wine’. You just want to keep smelling it,

Palate is initially tannic, but immediately fills the mouth with flavours. Fills it, deep and wide. Perfectly ripe, neither over or under, red and black berries pervade, with a deep core pushing down the middle of the tongue. Balance is impeccable, perfect blends of tannin, fruit, acidity. The sous bois carries into the taste, leaving an umami finish that is exceptionally long, a minute and a half plus. My friends think this has provoked an out of body, synaesthetic experience verging on euphoria. The mood very tangibly lifted a notch (it was good to start).

Universally praised wine, everyone wanted to know where the next bottle was. Average rating of the group is 95, I am on the higher end at 96. Pure class.

Credit to my buddies for contributing to the comments in this note – it was a team effort. Tasting Note courtesy of Stuart Grostern



Domaine Durieu 2010 Plan De Dieu Cotes Du Rhone Villages

Plan De DieuI was on my way out of Majestic Muswell Hill ,with 18 bottles and no intention to buy more, when I chanced upon this marvel on the counter for tasting.

Rich, spicy , fruity , herbaceous , warm , soft tannins, finesse , smoothness and a certain savoury note.

A really lovely Cotes Du Rhone Villages from an appellation in the centre of Southern Rhone between Chateau Neuf Du Pape and Gigondas.

70% Grenache providing the warm spicy fruit with a touch if Cinsault , Syrah and Mourvedre.

Great value  at £8.99 from Majestic.

Highly recommended and for the price, a steal !


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The Northern Rhone wines of Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné May 23rd

View of La Chapelle  image courtesy of Maison Jaboulet

View of La Chapelle
image courtesy of Maison Jaboulet

The steep terraced vineyards of the Northern Rhone valley, which are tantalisingly visible from the summer traffic jams on the autoroute du soleil on the other side of the mighty Rhone river, are arguably the true home of Syrah.

The reds here are mostly 100% Syrah but wonderful perfumed whites are also produced from 100% Viognier and blends of Marsanne and Roussanne.

The long lived dark red wines of the region’s most famous appellation Hermitage were in Thomas Jefferson’s time as expensive and famous as the first growths of Bordeaux and the top wines of the region continue to be amongst the finest wines in the world.

We were therefore fantastically lucky to have one of the oldest and most revered wine makers: Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné present a selection of their best wines including the legendary Hermitage La Chapelle Rouge 2001 and 1991

The lovely Marie Cordonnier of Domaines Jaboulet  guided us through wines from drinking vintages of the main appelations including:

  • Les Grands Amandiers – Condrieu (Viognier)
  • Hermitage Blanc Le Chevalier de Sterimberg (Marsanne / Roussanne)
  • St Jospeh Le Grand Pompee (syrah)
  • Crozes-Hermitage Rouge Domaine de Thalabert.
  • Hermitage La Petite Chapelle
  • Hermitage La Chapelle

We were delighted to have Marcel Orford Williams as a guest .He not only entertained and educated us with his wealth of knowledge and personal stories but also

generously brought two bottles of Hermitage La Chapelle 1991 . For the full write up and tasting notes see above

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Lay & Wheeler (aka Majestic) Rhone 2011 tasting

Some great wines on show at this en primeur tasting. Highlights were:

Lovely Condrieu Vieille Vignes by Ogier,
Floral, full with a fresh salty tang.

Superb wines poured by Rene Rostaing included the perfumed, finely balanced and restrained Cote Blonde contrasting with dark manly La Landonne.

Domaine du Colombier Croze and Hermitage delivered well above their price.

In the south loved meeting Jean-Michel Vache of Le Clos de Cazaux whose refined Vacqueyras I have long been a fan of.  He makes the Wine Society’s Exhibition Vacqueras which is tremendous value.

I have to admit that the massively concentrated, extracted & ‘over the top’ nature of most of the Chateauneuf du Papes nearly caused me to lose faith with this region.

That was until I got to the marvellous, classic & refined wines of both Vieux Telegraphe and Cht Beaucastel. Wines made to last but with clean fruit and freshness.

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Cote Rotie La Landonne Rene Rostaing 2000

A real treat at the home of avid collector and wine brain Stuart Grostern. A fantastic initial nose of cassis/black fruits, shortly followed by sweet chamois leather, and followed on with liquorice. Delicious and harmonious with rounded tannins. Perfectly balanced and drinking beautifully with lots of life left in it.

A trip underground to the sand-filled Grostern cellars revealed a salivating array of treasures. Boy, would I like to be left down here!

I sense a few more trips here.

Very pleasing to offer this Burgundian expert Brackovitch, Estate Kumeu River, NZ. Wwore blind it was a Burgundy/Mersault/Chassagne Montrachet. Well done the Kiwis.

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Rhone 2007 a sure bet?

A lot of the critics, in particular the ’emperor’of wine, Mr. Parker himself, have been raving about Rhone 2007s, especially southern.

Adam and I recently went to a J&B tasting of Rhone and Loire 2008. While some of the Loire wines were of superb quality the 2008 Rhône were generally disappointing. A lot of the domaines were showing a 2004 wine too, as if to say this is what the wines will develop into. Although a very welcome way of getting an insight into how the wines would develop, sadly it didn’t do much to reassure.

The 2007 do seem to be a different story.  I haven’t got any of the en primeur wines I ordered yet so I don’t know about the CNDP and higher quality end. (I did get a sneak preview at a Bordeaux Index Rhone 2006 tasting earlier this year of the Pegau Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Réservée, 2007 which was just so juicy, sweet and approachably delicious.)  However I’ve recently tried a couple of every day drinking wines that were great.

Firstly (at a party hosted in Fortnum & Mason by a big surveying firm) Fortnum’s own Côtes du Rhône by Andre Brunel at £7.50. This was fruity and jammy with a nice peppery finish and very drinkable.

Secondly Rasteau Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Domaine des Escaravailles, 2007 from the Wine Soc at £7.95 a bottle, even better, juicy and succulent, bursting with fruit but with a spicy edge.

I’ve often turned to southern Rhône; Cairanne, Rasteau and Vacqueyras for great everyday drinking at well under a tenner, especially when aged for a few years, and it looks like 2007 is a vintage worth stocking up on.