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Showing posts from January, 2010

Raymond Usseglio's "Part des Anges" 2007 - Part 2

The wine has been opened. The colour is a deep cherry red, very bright. There is more sediment than I expected but since that is (generally) no bad thing and I have a suitable funnel with a mesh to catch it, I have poured the wine into the jug to let it open up over the next several hours. At this stage the nose is more profound than I recall it being a couple of months ago - black fruit and earth dominating - but it is early so I'm going to (try to) resist temptation for a little while at least! 7pm - giving myself a pat on the back for waiting so long. One sip reveals so much about this wine: it is packed with potential. The fruit is concentrated but not too big or sweet - there is much to be gained from ten years in the bottle. There is some oak which glosses over things; I would like to see this fade away a little which, of course, it will. This will let the fruit sing out a little more on its own. But the main thing that stands out about this wine for me at this time is its t

Raymond Usseglio's "Part des Anges" 2007 - Part 1

"La Part des Anges" (the angel's share) is the winemaker's term for the wine that evaporates out of the barrel during the elevage. It has little to do with this wine though as there is plenty left for us here. Instead, Stef Usseglio has named the wine to highlight that this really is the very best his vineyard has to offer. Too much for some, perhaps, although in true Raymond Usseglio style, it is in no way overblown. I first tasted this at the estate from barrel and was overawed by the wine. Towards the end of last year, we finally shipped the wine with the rest of the estate's 2007s. Whilst most of this cuvee (and all the "Imperiale") was pre-sold, I was pleased to have a few cases spare of this wine to play around with. I opened a bottle soon after it arrived - I know it was wrong but I just couldn't wait! My first reaction was to kick myself for being too hasty. The wine was completely closed. All I got was a mass of tannins masking a bit of b

2008 en primeur - Southern Rhone

The 2007 campaign was the most successful to date but should you buy the less successful 2008 vintage? White wines are often very good indeed so, if you like white Rhones don't dismiss them at all. Reds from better producers are decent enough but why bother? Don't forget that next year there will be the fabulous 2009s to buy and there are still some (not many) superb 2007s available, some even at sensible prices (especially standard cuvees from CDP growers - the luxury cuvees are, by and large, all gone now). There are some very good wines from including Beaucastel and, a perennial favourite, Raymond Usseglio (exceptions to the "why bother" question). My point is really that most 2008s will still be around when they are ready to drink so, whilst as an importer of these wines, I should be pushing them, as a consumer/wine lover first and foremost, I would recommend people not to buy them except for "allocated" wines. If you like Beaucastel then you do ne

Cahors wines and oak

In discussion with someone about the various levels of Cahors wines, I maintain the standard cuvees are always going to have more typicity at an early stage. But the prestige wines are more concentrated and absolutely pure Malbec which is, perhaps, why they sometimes come across as atypical. Give them time! The "Le Cedre" (and I would guess prestige cuvees from other estates, certainly Lamartine's "Expression" and Haut-Monplaisir's "Pur Plaisir") wines are typically more concentrated and oakier than their junior counterparts although, for example, the 04 is more classic than the 05. Even then, I decanted a bottle of the '04 at lunchtime (a few days ago) and by 6.30 it wasn't exactly ready (still very much enjoyed though) so don't rush into any of these prestige cuvees. The oak question seems to be quite divisive. As far as I can see, the oak barrel is a traditional means of ageing wine before bottling/consumption but in the modern era

Mas de Daumas Gassac

Having read numerous posts on a wine forum about this wine (in particular the 2000 vintage which I have been enjoying recently), I am curious to hear your views about it - no need to post if you don't want to. The 2000 has good colour for a Cabernet-based wine, just beginning to show signs of maturity. The nose is quite Cabernet too (you'd hope so, given it's 80%) with a little extra sweetness to the black and blue berries (rather than currants) and mint with some hints of the forest. Altogether a decent variation on the Bordeaux theme, clearly a quality wine and one that can be enjoyed now (as I have been) or, being quite firm and tannic still, kept a few more years. The 2001 was always an advanced wine although, as this was the first year they made the special "Emmanuel Peynaud" bottling, I have always wondered what impact this would have on the regular wine. Probably very little as quantities of the Peynaud were relatively small so, even though all the best

Happy New Year

No posts in December (except a brief one to praise Paul Strang's book on South West France which has had the inevitable effect of making me want to return this summer to check out all things I missed last year). Things got hectic - as always - and I thought people would prefer to receive their wines than read my rants. Most things went OK. There was the odd wrong delivery, of course, and always the ones that are most difficult to put right (a case of Monte Rosola's "Crescendo" delivered to Ireland in place of their "Corpo Notte" was by far the worst example) but I think (hope) everyone had the wines they wanted on their table over the holiday season. We did! We have been drinking through some of the more mature wines on the list and in our own cellar such as Raymond Usseglio 's superb 2000 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This is everything I want a Chateauneuf to be: spicy but smooth, rich and complex but not so heavy I need a knife to slice it with. On NYE, we o