Having finally finalised my order with Mauro Manzone (of Giovanni Manzone), I have done what I always do, albeit a couple of hours early: cracked open a bottle. This one is the 2006 Barolo Le Gramolere in Monforte d'Alba. This site tends to give medium-bodied but luscious wines and this is no exception. The reason for opening it so early is that I feared it would be a typical 2006, overloaded with tannins. Yes, the tannins are noticeable but they will soften in the couple of hours or so between now and my (wholly inappropriate) dinner and they don't get in the way of the sweet cherry/berry fruit and liquorice/tar characters. This wine has the ethereal quality that I want from a fine Nebbiolo. It doesn't disappoint.
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 Decanter.com 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