WanderCurtis Wine

Wine tastings, corporate events, reviews and recommendations


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7 RUE DE LA POMPE 2012, MAS COUTELOU

7 rue de la pompeThere are many great value wines   from Languedoc-Roussillon , and this is one of them.

Deservedly our wine of the month .Smooth,lush and fruity, displaying that burnt smokiness of Syrah.

Opened up initially to a farmyard nose which soon settled down within  5 minutes of opening .

Good freshness and balance , full of flavour and character . It is an organic and natural wine and was in perfect condition .

Highly recommended and available at www.robersonwine.com for between £10 and £12


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Maison Jaboulet Aîné, The wines of the northern Rhone tasting 23rd May 2013

Tasting a range of the wines of Northern Rhone the overall delicacy and freshness of these wines comes across with several great recent vintages there are great wines to be found at every level.

Hosted by Marie Cordonier of Maison Jaboulet Aîné and attended by Marcel Orford Williams, chief buyer of the Wine Society & fellow  Crouch End resident.

Bistro Aix, Crouch End

La Chapelle

La Chapelle

The wines:

Le Grand Pompee St Joseph Blanc 2010 Approx price: £14

Served as an aperitif. Nice floral nose, good creamy texture in the mouth, great balance and good length. 100% Marsanne. Lovely.

Condrieu Les Grands Amandiers 2008 (Viognier) Approx price: £43

Smokey nose, peaches lurking underneath, more oily texture, stone fruit, medium length. We tasted the 2010 at Maison Jaboulet in Tain L’Hermitage which was floral and fruity and had greater freshness.

Hermitage Le Chevailier de Sterimberg 2008 Approx price: £44

Served together with the H Sterimberg with pate starter.

Named  after the knight crusader Gaspard de Sterimberg who established a hermitage on the hill. This blend of approx. 70% marsanne and 30% rousanne is sensational.  A compact and concentrated nose of pear flesh with a whiff of wood, on the palate again tight complex flavours mixing fruit and nuttiness: apricot stones. This wine has a beautiful mouth feel and great length, still a baby.  At Maison Jaboulet in Tain L’Hermitage we tasted the 2010 which was even more concentrated, had more vigour and freshness and delicious note.  One of the wines of the trip Excellent!

St Joseph Le Grand Pompee Rouge 2010 Approx price: £15

Nice fruity peppery nose, sweet black fruit, savoury notes emerging, medium body, more fruit great lift and freshness, reasonably sustained.  This is good now but with a few years in bottle will fill out with more savoury substance.  From granite soils.  Great value from a great year.   All the 2010 wines we tasted on our trip were stunning with great clean fruit, balance and freshness.  Marcel also felt that one could hardly go wrong buying this vintage.

Cornas Grandes Terrasses: 2009 Approx price: £27

Served with Confit de Canard main course.

Decanted for about an hour this delicious fruit driven wine had a nose of really ripe blackberry with a touch of chocolate almost new world in its exuberance. Concentrated in the mouth packed with more sweet fruit, powerful, plenty of good tannin and enough balance. 2009 was another great year but riper and this has a good future.

Croze Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 2007 Approx price: £23

A long standing favourite of mine this Croze is special.  Marcel explained that it is one of the oldest vineyards in the area, established by Jaboulet and pre-dating the appellation. Although received wisdom is that Croze from the hilly area north of Hermitage is generally the best this vineyard on the plain consistently produces very fine wine because of a subtle elevation and difference in soil make up.  Whatever the reason I love it and have found that it is best to forget about it for at least 6 – 7 years at which point it begins to sing.

The 2007 is approachable now with nice fruit reflecting yet another good year in the Rhone (though more so in the south). I would still tuck this away for another couple of years though and have resisted opening any bottled of my case bought EP from the Wine Society.

Served side by side with the Cornas the contrast is clear this is all elegance and restraint in comparison to the exuberance of the Cornas. Black cherry, touch of coffee, white pepper on the nose, still a little tight on the palate but then more black fruit, spice and characteristic great vigour from the acidity, medium long.  Promises wonderful drinking.  (currently10% discount at Bibendum)

Hermitage La Petite Chapelle 2007 Approx price: £60

In Tain this was a little closed by having been decanted for a couple of hours it was much more expressive. Served blind with the Chapelle 01 it was fairly clear which was the more youth full wine. Nice fruit on the nose, a scented nose with whiff of flowers and savoury notes underneath. Lots going on in the mouth, really fresh sweet fruit, savoury note making a vibrant mix, long and exciting.  A super wine which will no doubt develop beautifully.

Hermitage La Chapelle 2001 Approx price: £94

On the nose, more mushroom, earth and secondary flavours but still with baked fruit tart sweetness.  On the palate amazing bright acidity and plenty of spicy fruit. Tastes a lot younger than the bouquet even though it is 12 years old. Marcel says this was a tannic year that has taken a long time to come around but it now is coming into its own.

Hermitage La Chapelle 1991

An amazing treat brought by Marcel to share with us.  And what a demonstration in what Hermitage is all about.  Marcel feels that the true expression of Hermitage is a blend of the different vineyards (Michel Chapoutier would disagree but diversity of opinion is the spice of life) and La Chapelle is mostly from Le Meal which produces riper more opulent fruit with some wine from Le Bessards which is more tannic and structured.

This wine at over 22 years is from a very good vintage overshadowed by the 1990 and 1989 vintages. Decanted for about half an hour un-agitated the nose begins as sweet celery sticks then a little soy sauce.  With air a world of aromas opens up each arriving hot on the heels of the other in that way that complex great wines have of continually giving more and more: confit de canard, candied fruits, horse leather, orange peel, oriental spices, baked blackberry pie all this in the mouth too but with great core of freshness and a salty tang. Amazing persistence and vigour, hauntingly lingering in the mouth.  Some wines cerebral and others sensual this is both, simply outstanding.

Thanks to Marie Cordonier of Maison Jaboulet for helping to organise the evening and being such a great host.

Also big thanks to Marcel Orford Williams (Wine Society) for sharing his knowledge to give such detail and colour to the evening and also for sharing this wonderful wine.

Finally we were as always well looked after by the team at http://www.bistroaix.co.uk/ serving delicious french cuisine.

These and other wines of Maison Jaboulet are available at: www.thewinesociety.com

And http://www.bibendumfinewine.com/retail


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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

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Lay & Wheeler (aka Majestic) Rhone 2011 tasting

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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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Fortnum and Mason Verget du Sud 2007 Syrah (Christmas hamper)

A surprise gift from Dr Ranald Davidson following our Ramsay treat. It was with some anticipation that I opened the Fortnum and Mason Verget du Sud 2007 Syrah when dad popped in, impromptu, following the birth of my new nephew Rafael Leon.

Phew! What a nose! Musty, mossy, like a newly struck match… sulphur. How did they get away with supplying this one?! I will leave it overnight and do some further tastings, but don’t expect too much. Coq au vin tomorrow!


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Farr Vintners Christmas tasting

Held at the rather grand Vintners Hall on Upper Thames St, this was a great tasting with over 80 wines on show being served by some great winemakers, including Antony Barton of Leoville Barton and Jean-Charles Cazes of Lynch Bages.

Best wine of the evening was either Krug 1998 (not usually a big champagne fan, but this is extraordinarily complex and delicious), or Lynch Bages 2000, which had a heady nose of wood, bakery and sweet fruit, and followed through with a concentrated, complexity and real lasting depth (sadly £1250 IB).

Disappointments for me were Palmer twofold, as the Alter Ego 2007 and 2002 were light and thin, and not nearly as good as the 2008s I tried at the April UCG tasting, where they so impressed me. And by the time I got to the table someone had nicked the last bottle of 1996, which others said was great!

Also the Pichon Lalande 2005, 2004 and 2001 were all a bit insubstantial (thin according to the lady I was standing next to). The 2001 was best, so perhaps they need time to develop?

Highlights
All the Leoville Barton and Langoa Barton impressed me, including both 2007s at £340 and £280 in bond (IB) respectively, confirming the oft repeated statement that Mr. Barton manages fantastically high consistent quality. I would go for the 2001 Langoa at £275 IB, which was earthy and mushroomy with plenty of fruit and tannin, or the 2004 Leoville at £395 IB, which was tight, lots of cassis and should develop over many years.

Not only was the Lynch Bages great, but so was the Les Ormes de Pez 2003 and 2005 at £220 and £240. I overheard a group of gents busy telling Jean Charles what great value his wines were and had to step in and put a stop to it.

The CNDP Dom de Senechaux 2007 they own was also lovely, full of sweet sticky figs and long, delicious. But a slight fear it might be a bit one-dimensional, or perhaps just young from a great vintage.

I was impressed by the Verget white burgundies, having recently had a great trip there sampling lots of good wine. I have been feeling a bit stung by the general level of prices and the generally poor 2007 reds.

The various Chablis 1er Crus from £135-£195 were all of great quality, tight minerally and with depth. For me ‘Vaillons’ and Fourchaume VV de Vaulorens’ were the most tasty. But I would and may go for the Meursault ‘Tillets’ at £210 IB, which was tight, fresh, stone fruits with a light woody touch and core of minerals. I’d be interested to find out how it might age.

Top value for early drinking (this time confirming Adam’s general view) were the new world wines:

Kumeu River Estate and Hunting Hill Chardonnays at £130 and £150. Made to develop over 2-6 years. Exciting, oaky but totally balanced, and simply delicious.

Craggy Range, the Merlot Cab Te Kahu at £120 IB was gorgeous and will apparently age well (no chance of that at my house as it will be polished off pronto). The Merlot Cab Franc Sophia at £190 was also ***+ wine, and the Syrah Le Sol at £295 IB (so a £30 a bottle wine) was so refined and balanced that it concealed its 14% alcohol completely. It’s the heaviness of a lot of NW wines that I find hard to enjoy.

The mystery wine a Phelan Segur 2005 at £300 as case was also very good indeed.

More info from Farr Vintners.