Skip to main content

Wine Deal

The Deal Wine Tasting Society is less than ten years old but forty-odd members crowded into the Landmark Centre on Deal's High Street last night for a tasting of Rhone wines. Perhaps it was the sudden drop in temperature but, certainly, everyone was up for a bit of winter warming.

The evening got off to a start with club secretary John Howard introducing me and informing the group that BRW is ranked a five star merchant by wine-searcher (which is news to me, albeit good news, of course).

Two whites to start with: Domaine des Anges, Ventoux 2010 Blanc has a sweet attack but a crisp, dry finish, just what I want from a fruity Rhone white. I had to include at least one DDA wine because John's wife Barbara is the cousin of Janet Swan who, with her husband Malcolm, bought the estate in 1973 and still lives there now. Next was the fragrant Viognier-rich Domaine de Mourchon, CDR 2010 "La Source" with notes of tropical fruits, honey and peardrops. One to drink on its own, we all thought.

Domaine de Cristia's VDP 2010 Grenache (the organic one) is very accessible with its big, easy fruit whilst the more serious VDP 2009 Vieilles Vignes Grenache (in conversion) has sweet red fruit with some vanilla and liquorice. Any choice must be a matter of personal preference as the differences are stylistic only.

I decided to include an outsider: Domaine Treloar's 2008 "Three Peaks" from Roussillon shows the quality of this region when worked with passion. It also demonstrates that the rains that affected the Rhone in 2008 had no impact here. This is a very smooth, big, flavoursome wine with a good future. Then back to Domaine des Anges for the next wine: the 2007 Cotes du Ventoux "Archange" is a Syrah-rich wine with lashings of black fruit nicely supported by the oak (in contrast to Ciaran's first vintage when, perhaps, the balance between the fruit and the oak had not yet been perfected). One of my "at home" wines.

Domaine de Mourchon, again, this time the 2005 Grande Reserve which is, surely, the best that Seguret can offer (until, perhaps, 2007 is fully mature). This wine has been slow to develop but that is something to applaud when the result is this good. A rich, rounded, complex winter warmer of a wine. Very popular too although it was followed by the one dud of the evening: Xavier Vignon's "Debut" was not in a good place at first. However, with a few minutes aeration, it did begin to reveal its potential. I do wonder whether this wine is going through a transition at the moment.

To finish off, two fortified wines from Rasteau, each one quite different from the other. First, Domaine Bressy-Masson's Rasteau Rancio, a non-vintage, almost Madeira-like wine from some sort of solera system. Lovely aromatics (and flavours too). The the 2007 Rouge from Domaine des Coteaux des Travers which is developing extremely well into the southern Rhone's variation on the Port theme with raisin characters pushing through now. Having recently tried the Puig Parahy Rivesaltes Rancios, this is clearly good value for sharing.

After all this lot, I was very pleased that I was staying with an old college friend a mile and a half away, rather than going all the way back to Barton Mills!


Popular posts from this blog

Decanter’s top Rhône wines under £20

The moratorium is over. Decanter’s December issue has been published and I can announce our successes in the recent tasting undertaken by their Rhône expert, Matt Walls who has recently returned from a year and a half in the region. If you look on today (November 2020), you will see a link to ‘Top Côtes du Rhône wines under £20’. What the article doesn’t tell you is that the brief of its writer was to taste and rate wines from across the valley in that price range and that the top scoring white wine was actually a Ventoux. No prizes for guessing that it was  Château Juvenal’s 2019 ‘Ribes de Vallat’ Blanc , awarded 91 points, which, at £12.60 is also the best value of any of the white wines on the list: 'From 30- to 40-year-old vines grown on granite south-facing slopes; half of the wine is matured for six months in demi-muid leaving no overt oakiness to the aromatics. Full-bodied, rich and opulent style, very ripe and fulsome. Some mango and pineapple juice. Unmist

Postcard from Provence

With lockdown more or less over, we made a dash to the other side of the Channel and are currently languishing in the Vaucluse  d épartement , home to the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape  et al . Mont Ventoux, known to cyclists the world over, is staring at me as I write, only providing a shield from the sun in the early hours of the morning before the heat hits. Exercise here, recently so highly prized (the French were allowed no further than 1 km from home to exercise during their lockdown), is necessarily limited to a gentle morning stroll around the village to collect bread from the  boulang ère.  In time it may be possible to acclimatise but, looking at the locals, I wouldn’t bet on it. France went into lockdown before us, of course, and came out earlier as well so, if we in the UK are fortunate, what I am seeing is a glimpse into the future. We are welcome here – I know plenty of people with concerns about this but it is the Parisians they fear most here it seems. The UK, until

Watching and drinking Perseides concurrently.

Being British, I am obliged to comment on the Provencal weather this summer. Mostly hot with the occasional Mistral wind and, a few weeks ago, a threatened storm which yielded some highly unusual clouds, identified by a friend’s meteorologically talented daughter (moments before o ne of my own clever clogs) as being of the mammatus variety, these being, in effect, upside down clouds which, said expert explained occur when   the cold, moist poc kets of air sink rather than rise. Pic included of clouds over neighbouring property (would you believe me if I said it was sunny over us? No?).   What I ca n ’t give you a picture of bec ause (a) it hasn’t properly occurred this year yet (a brief flirtatio n last night but that’s all so far) and (b) my technological wizardry has yet to master how to tak e a still image of a (literally) flying circus, is tonight’s extravaganza of shooting stars, known as   Per séide s . (Some of you will, by now, have figured where this is going.) The useful peop