Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The best Chateauneuf (?) and a decent Cotes du Rhone

Decanter's April edition features a review of the Southern Rhone. Raymond Usseglio's Cuvee Imperiale scored 95 points, beating Clos des Papes (93) and Domaine de la Mordoree (91) amongst others. Sorry, I shouldn't gloat but the truth is that, whilst some enthusiasts can't see past these and other names, Stef Usseglio has been churning out remarkably consistent wines of extremely high quality for years. Here's what James Lawther MW had to say:

'Big and powerful but long and harmonious at the same time. Impressive depth snd volume of fruit. Texture smooth and refined. Solid but discreet tannic frame.' 95/100.

And a nice note on Domaine Brusset's 'Lauren B' Cotes du Rhone:

'Punches above its weight. Long, sinewy and vibrant rather than broad and full. Elegant berry fruit and spice notes. Finely honed tannins.' 90/100.

Barolo - 91 points and affordable!

The Decanter review of 2010 Barolo includes a good number of wines at £30+, £40+, even £50+. There are even a couple for £75 (and I just spotted one for £140!). I am sure they are very good but I am unlikely ever to taste them at those prices.

Of course, given land prices, there is such a thing as too cheap Barolo (I saw some in a shop recently for £12. I bought a bottle: it was dreadful) so what is a good starting point? I think, on the whole, around £25 should buy you a decent wine. In the 'Highly Recommended' section fo the review (wines scoring at least 90 points), only four or five wines (out of 71) are in this ball park and the top scoring of these is...

Filippo Broccardo e Figli, Monforte d'Alba 2010

'Pristine and pretty aromas and flavours of red cherry, flint, citrus peel and white stone fruit. Fleshy palate with full, savoury flavours and hints of smoke and cedar. Good balance with a harmonious finish'. Drink 2020-2035. 91/100 or 17.5/20

It's in need of further ageing, as the review suggests, but the 2009 is fabulous now and it did rather well last year (and we still have a few bottles left)!

"Spicy oak aromas of vanilla and liquorice. Fresh and rich on the palate at first, then smooth and balanced. Very pure red fruit and polished tannins." 92/100