Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Two reviews in wine-pages.com including 91 points for Nada Giuseppe

When Tom Cannavan of wine-pages.com released his reviews of Cahors wines earlier this year, I was not at all surprised by the glowing reports of the wines from Chateau du Cedre (see Tom's full report on Cedre here) but, on reading his take on Haut-Monplaisir's 2009 Pur Plaisir (see here for Tom's report on Cahors), thought he must have tried an altogether different wine. I contacted Tom and suggested I send another bottle for him to try and, at the same time, a bottle of Nada Giuseppe's 2007 Barbaresco Riserva (the 2006 had been discussed excitedly by forumites but it had all gone).

Today I discovered that Tom had reviewed the wines and clearly liked them, especially the Nada Giuseppe which he awards 91 points with the following note:

"This has a lovely nose, the tar and roses of maturing Nebbiolo is there, with a crisp-edged, juiciness to the red and black fruit, a touch of something charcoally, and a layer of toast and charriness beneath. On the palate this has beautiful sweetness of fruit, a savoury black olive twist counteracting the berry fruits. It is supple and lithe, the tannins grippy but fine, and the overall sense of freshness and balance is delightful. No shortage of stuffing to age a while yet, but approachably fruit and elegant now."

See here for the full review.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

TN: Usseglio 2009

Rifling through my racks for something tonight, I stumbled across a rather larger stash of Raymond Usseglio's 2009 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. I don't recall buying quite so many for myself and can't find my original TN so can only assume I thought extremely highly of it at the time. Of course, the website entry for this wine was probably based on the TN so it looks like I did.

On opening, the nose is youthful but not harsh, a good sign. The fruit is foremost: quite deep, liquorish and liqueur-ish. On the palate the mouthfeel is an instant hit, coating the inside of my cheeks with just enough glycerine to subdue the tannins but beyond the fruit there is an explosion of spices. Wow! This is a development which, not altogether unforeseen, was not something I had been expecting to such a degree. The flavours really need to knit together for me but there is so much going on here that this is an exciting prospect.

One more thing: after the first slurp, I went off to attend to some food on the cooker and had to put all thoughts of the wine on hold. When done, I realised I could still taste it. What a finish!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

DWWA results

The results of the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards are out today - the usual nonsense, of course, as it all depends on entering in the first place. I have never been a fan of these catch-all competitions; actually, I'm not sure about any wine competitions. That said, it's always nice to win so congratulations to Chateau de Jurque for its Regional Trophy (I must re-stock with this vintage!)

Otherwise, in the Southern Rhone, Domaine Brusset picked up three gongs for the two red Cairannes and "Les Hauts" from 2011 as did Domaine des Anges for its 2012 Blanc, 2010 Ventoux Rouge and "L'Archange", and Domaine des Bernardins for its sweet Muscats but it looks like no-one else thought the cost of entering their wines worthwhile.

In the South-West, Chateau de Jurque collected four medals (so that's the whole range then) and Chateau du Cedre one for its 2010 (I didn't even know it had been bottled yet!), Chateau Lamartine two including one for Expression 2009 (I had the foresight to buy myself a case of this gem) but, clearly, it was Marion Latrille's wines that wowed the judges this year.

It looks like most of the Italians stayed away too but Sampietrana picked up one medal this year and Monte Rosola picked up some silver too.

Of course it would be churlish of me not to congratulate all the above as well as all winners of the DWWA and any other competition but I have never hidden my views (see here) although I would accept the charge of not expressing myself strongly enough about wine competitions!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Summer wines on a rainy day

I had billed this as a tasting of wines for the summer so it was inevitable that it would be raining although only half an hour before the start we were still thinking about having the tasting outside!

This was an opportunity to show some new wines and some old favourites too. New wines included both the Prosecco and Pinot Grigio from Grandi e Gabana, the former proving one of the most popular wines of the tasting. Other popular whites included new vintages from Domaine des Anges and Domaine Brusset's Cairanne "Les Travers" (both 2012) and the ever-popular Domaine des Malandes Chablis.

The most controversial white was Serradenari's "Mone" which some wondered what they would pair it with - I suggested they could simply enjoy it on its own.

I was pleased with the success of the Saria Barbera "Convento". One taster, a self-confessed fan of Bordeaux and South-West France, couldn't work around the inevitable acidity but most loved the fruit and could envisage this with a barbecue or tomato-based meal. Rightly so. The Nebbiolo divided opinion (good! It is nearly sold out) between those who like Italian wines and those who don't. It was my wine of the tasting.

French successes were more even between Domaine de Cristia's VDP Vieilles Vignes and Alain Jaume's Lirac (which we are told really is "Clos des Sixte" even if the labelling is wrong! We have tasted it alongside a bottle of estate-purchased CdS and can't find any difference).

One really pleasing result was the popularity of the two sweet wines on show: the Grasso Moscato d'Asti and Filippo Gallino's Birbet, the latter a novelty to most but well received by those brave enough to taste it.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Sublime Moscato goes all the way to the ridiculous...

Now, I am a fairly recent convert to the charms of Moscato but, whilst I am delighted to learn that others have joined me in their enthusiasm for the wine, it does seem that some have got somewhat carried away.

A round-up of recent stories from Drinks Business (a trade magazine that, for some reason, I didn't ignore for once) includes this:- http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2013/06/top-10-songs-featuring-moscato/.

Yes, that's right, Moscato seems to have found its way into the lyrics of rappers (so, are they still drinking Krug or have their budgets been reduced to sub-£10 sweet sparklers now?). Inevitably, the lyrics are drivel and the content verging on lewd but I hope I am not alone in finding this funny.

Anyone wanting to see whether Moscato will have the same effect on them (or who just wants to enjoy a bottle) should check out the one we offer from Grasso Fratelli. Please report back!

Roero too young to really enjoy but what promise!

The bottle was unlabelled so only I knew what its contents were. In some circumstances this could be thought of as a mean trick but it was genuine: Laura Gallino had given me a couple of bottles of her family's 2008 Roero Riserva "Sorano" when I visited last year before the label had been finalised.

This is one of those wines that too many wine enthusiasts just won't get around to trying. How many have heard of Roero, for example? I hadn't until I was dragged there a couple of years ago - well, OK, I was called up by Fabrizio Battaglino who persuaded me to visit him as I was staying just a few miles away. The Gallino estate proved even trickier to find than Fabrizio's parents' house!

It was striking that this is a family that lives for its wine. The house (or row of houses; it seems the whole family lives together) is ramshackled but the winery is immaculate. This comes through in the wines which are made with great care and precision.

Sorano is certainly the best wine I have tasted from this estate, though. In fact, it is unlike just about any Roero I have tasted before, offering a more ethereal quality, somewhere between Barolo and Barbaresco. It has dusty tannins which need time but the fruit is simply gorgeous and the potential of the wine quite phenomenal, offering everything you could ask for from Nebbiolo. Certainly, there are some very good Nebbiolo wines selling for considerably less money than this one but few are going to offer as much as this one does.