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Showing posts from May, 2010

Organic wine from Domaine de Cristia

Domaine de Cristia has gone entirely organic - almost!

There are some new vineyards which are "in conversion" (it takes three years of bureaucracy to gain Ecocert status) including the plot of old-vine Grenache that goes into the incredible Vieilles Vignes Grenache, a vin de pays, that would put many Chateauneufs to shame. This wine was first produced in 2009 from 60-year-old vines so, when I tasted it only four days after the bottling, the grapes had only been off the vine for around six months. Quite incredible.

There are two other notable exceptions to the organic range from Cristia: the Cristia Collection range of negociant wines which are adequate but not in the same league as the estate wines and, more lamentably, the red Chateauneuf itself. The failure of this wine to be classed as organic is purely down to bureaucracy: when Dominique and Baptiste applied to Ecocert, they had to provide all the plot numbers they wished to convert to organic status. They asked their da…

Usseglio mini-vertical

Having tried the 2005 Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Raymond Usseglio with the Canterbury Wine Tasting Society recently, I wanted to have a proper taste so opened a bottle on Sunday night. It seemed much less evolved than the Canterbury bottle - the only explanation I could think of was that, whereas the Canterbury bottle came from stock, this was one Stef gave me when I visited him at the domaine a few years ago. A different batch, perhaps?

As a comparison, I nervously opened the 2006 last night - if the 2005 was a little too youthful, how would the 2006 come across? Nothing to worry about: this was Usseglio at its most glorious best. Looking back at my notes for the 2006 on the website, they still ring true:

"One of the most impressive young wines I have ever tasted, Stéphane showed this to me alongside his superb 2005. It is even better! The depth and purity of fruit is incredible. The wine is very concentrated with a nose that draws you in for more. Tasted alongside the very goo…

Beaucastel 1997 - my last bottle

Jill has a ridiculous idea that we should refrain from wine this week - she clearly has not thought this out properly (the London Wine Trade Fair is this week!) - so something special is required: in this case my last '97 Beaucastel. This was prompted in part by several comments about the current "difficult" phase of the 1998.

Brick red tones and fading a little towards the rim. The nose is surprisingly fresh though although secondary fruit is emerging, quite earthy with plenty of spice. Drinking well now but I really don't think there's any hurry to finish this one.

Election 2010: what has our world come to?

So, after nearly a week of blissful limbo, we have a government, the first Conservative lead one for thirteen years and the first coalition since the second World War. Gladstone must be turning in his grave.

Without wishing to be partisan, I have some serious misgivings about this coalition. There are some very obvious problems with the new power-sharing agreement:

First, the provision for the LibDems to abstain on budget - and some other - resolutions leaves the Tories with 308 out of 593 voting MPs (ie. 650 less the Libs), a majority of 23.

Second, the 55% of MPs required to dissolve Parliament before the end of the proposed five year fixed term requires 358 to vote for it but there are only 342 non-Tories, 16 short of the 55% needed.

Just a couple of examples of a mathematical stitch-up.

So, if the LibDems abstain from voting on something they disagree with, the Tories still get their way. This smacks of un-democracy. I gather this also applies to all things nuclear. This m…

Cahors 2009: how en primeur should be done

What is EP all about? One of two things: buying wines which will be sold out if you don't get in early OR buying wines at prices which will only head skywards once in the bottle.

Last year was Rhone 2007's turn: plenty of excellent wines to choose from but buyers went for the limited production cuvees from CDP, Gigondas etc and left the "Tradition" wines alone in the main. Why? Simply because they thought - rightly - these wines would still be available when they are ready to drink. Prices will increase a little to take account of storage charges but, otherwise, they will still be around.

So, with 2009 Bordeaux etc now on the market, what should we be buying? If you have the budget for first growths, my guess is you are not reading this. If you are a mere mortal, however, I would look for the bargains which are few and far between in Bordeaux these days.

This is why I was so excited when I received an email from Pascal Verhaeghe of Chateau du Cedre in Cahors offering…