Saturday, 10 August 2013

Joblot in the FT

Andrew Jefford, so often a champion of the underdog asks if, with the wave of interest in Burgundy and the current problems the region faces because of atrocious weather, it is time for the region's eternal bridesmaid to step out of the shadows. 

His report focuses on the five villages, from north to south: Bouzeron, Rully, Mercurey, Givry and Montagny, advising readers what to expect, broadly, before listing recommended producers from each. 

Of course, for me interest is enhanced by his particular recommendation of Domaine Joblot's 2010 "Clos du Cellier aux Moines", a Premier Cru from Givry which he describes as:

"Precise, fresh scents of mingled red and black cherries with poised and vivacious fruit flavours which warm, fill and fatten on the palate."

Andrew told me he had made two short research trips to the Cote Chalonnaise in the last nine months, and that he intended to write the region up for the second of his "Jancis stand-in" columns in the FT in August.

He also said the Joblot wines "were among the best I tasted when I was in the region". He tasted the 2012s from barrel with Juliette Joblot plus Servoisine 2011, the only wine Juliette had available (even for ready money!). Even the wine shop in the village said they couldn't get hold of any Joblot. So logically the one Andrew planned to recommend was the Servoisine 2011 unless I would rather he recommended something else. Given the additional maturity of the 2010 and the fact that my allocation of Servoisine was miniscule, I sent a bottle of Cellier aux Moines to Andrew in the south of France. He liked it and decided to feature it in the article (frankly, I could have sent any of the Joblot wines).

The next thing was to sort out a photograph. My now rather old digital SLR doesn't do the job it seems. However, my son's more modern compact camera apparently does - see here for the photo (and the full article):

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Refosco - a completely new experience for me

Even after 15 years in the wine trade, and even having eschewed most wines from the New World (and many parts of the Old World) in commercial terms, there is still much to learn, it seems. Recent dabbling with Italian wines should have been enough to forewarn me that I really know next to nothing about wine. I reassure myself that, with very few exceptions, few do.

This was highlisghted to me when, having received some samples of Refosco from the producer of our new Prosecco (unsurprisingly a great success this summer), Grandi e Gabana, I posted a query on Wine-Pages to ask what I should expect from this grape. This forum is made up of enthusiasts who, in many cases, like to try virtually every style of wine imaginable. Only seven people seemed to have any experience whatsoever of the grape.

Why is this? It's an easy name to pronounce, after all - pronunciation is all important to the English consumer after all (and, perhaps, to residents elsewhere in the British Isles but the English are, perhaps, worst at soaking up foreign languages. I write this as an English man, of course. So why does Refosco remain so unknown?

It seems to go by the name of Teran in Croatia (or Terrano in Slovenia) but in north-east Italy, variations on Refosco are the norm. In Friuli, it is Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso (peduncolo rosso means "red stems"). So far, so good.

So, what of the grape itself?

Two samples were tasted. The first was nothing special on the nose - quite youthful and simple really - but it had a decent, savory palate with plummy black fruit and a kick of attractive green undergrowth on the finish. However, the second sample tasted is only about £1 more and delivers substantially more than that.

This was a 2009 reserve bottling (apparently it spends two years in oak but this is not at all obvious) which had pronounced black fruit which reminded me of a cool climate Aussie Shiraz, the sort that is bottled as Syrah to distinguish it from the jammy Barossa wines (and the sort I prefer) but with slightly wilder fruits too. Structurally, this is moderately tannic and I would expect the wine to age interestingly over six or seven years. I am told it will develop more floral characters over time which should be interesting. There is good acidity here to keep it going too.

Price-wise, this is interesting too. I made a point of not knowing what to expect for the wine until after I had tasted it: bang on £10 per bottle sounds very fair for this. A welcome new discovery for me!