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My annual pilgrimage to Canterbury

Ten wines at the Canterbury tasting: the Domaine des Anges 2005 Blanc showed very well. Crisp, fruity and refreshing - as always, a welcome alternative to all the Chardonnays and Sauvignons without being too off the wall. The Domaine de Mourchon "Tradition" seemed a little too young this time but the other 2005s, both from Rasteau - Domaine Bressy-Masson's "Paul-Emile" and Domaine des Côteaux des Travers' "Prestige" - were both surprisingly forward and delicious. The former has already put on a little weight revealing some lovely ripe fruit, slightly Burgundian in character but at the Grand Cru rather than Village level (and only a tenner!); the Prestige has some well-judged oak supporting the sweet, red/black fruit. These two Rasteaus, both at £10 show just how good this village has become at putting out top drawer wines at affordable (dinner party) prices and both these wines can be drunk now or aged a few years if this is wanted.

By contrast, the 2004s all seemed to need further ageing but Laurent Brusset's Cairanne "Les Chabriles" is, as always, a real star. Oakier than usual (I have never noticed the taste of oak before) and more elegant than the slightly burnt 2003, this is very drinkable now but I can see how it will be even better after a couple more years. I had a 2000 recently which was fabulous. The other 2004 which really impressed me was Raymond Usseglio's Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Give it a couple more years if you can - I think it could be the best vintage I have tasted from bottle (I have tasted both the 2005 and 2006 from the barrel!)

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