An interesting brief: a selection of big red wines with a couple of whites thrown in for good measure. What does that mean? With a generous budget, I decided to interpret it as special occasion wines and took along a Champagne, a couple of whites (Rhone and Burgundy) and pairs of red wines (Rhone, Italy, South-West France) finishing off with a magnum of Mourvedre.
The Michel Rocourt Champagne got things off to a good start: quite mature and very soft. The Raymond Usseglio Cotes du Rhone Blanc (2014) was received with more mixed reviews, a couple of people admitting they simply do not 'get' white Rhones. The Joblot Givry En Veau (2010) was more popular: classic white Burgundy which was compared with Meursault except, inevitably, this one was better priced.
The first red pair saw a wave of enthusiasm for Chateau Juvenal Ventoux 'Ribes de Vallat' (2014) which showed that this vintage, tricky for some, was capable of producing some delicious and very drinkable wines. There was general agreement that it bears more than a passing resemblance to Burgundy in its velvety texture and soft fruit. The Domaine de Cristia Chateuneuf-du-Pape (2006) was a much more powerful beast loved by some, feared by others.
The Italians were not presented together as they were from different regions and different grapes but the Poggio al Gello Montecucco (2010) was one of the star wines of the night, drinking as beautifully as any Rosso di Montalcino, if not a Brunello. The Giulia Negri Barolo (2007) was well received too but I thought it still seemed very youthful for a 2007 (forward vintage).
Chateau Teyssier St-Emilion Grand Cru (2010) still has a hint of youthful austerity which is unusual for this wine. Bordeaux aficionados will love it but I prefer the gloriousness of the Chateau du Cedre Cahors 'Le Cedre' (2010) which is, perhaps, unsurprising given the price tag on each wine.
I decided that, with fewer than 100 days until Christmas, it would be fun to end with a magnum so took along a Domaine Treloar, Cotes de Roussillon 'Motus' (2009) which is 80% Mourvedre, the balance from Grenache and Syrah. Still youthful but getting into the swing of things now, a very good wine with a future.