Skip to main content

Definitely not big red wines

Around 15 years ago, when Ciaran Rooney was winemaker at Domaine des Anges in Mormoiron, we met up for dinner and he brought a bottle of Sancerre. Never a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, wary of winemakers' tendencies to over-extract and make a searing, cordial-like bevy, I opened it cautiously. From the outset I smiled: Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy knew how to please all-comers. We made a beeline to the estate on the way back north and have visited many times since but it is only now that they have agreed to extend their list of UK importers to include us.


There are five wines in the range, the regular set called 'Terre de Maimbray' after the area near to the domaine where most of the vineyards are to be found. The wines in 2018 and 2019 are probably the very best we have encountered from this producer: the Blanc has quite a restrained nose (not too Sauvignon!), real depth of flavour and plenty of stuffing. It's bright with lively but not overbearing acidity and holds itself up very well.

The rosé is, for me, a revelation. Like many, I have generally thought of rosé wines as a bit of a joke, a by-product of the real thing. Not this one. It is made exclusively from Pinot Noir (so that's why it's so good) and offers sweet, juicy fruit all the way through with perky acidity and a sweet finish. Lovely light Pinot character. Just don't drink it too chilled or you'll lose the magic.

The red 'Terre de Maimbray' is almost a cross between top drawer Beaujolais and Burgundy with its lighter body but delicious concentration. This year the fruit will cut through the flavours of slightly charred meats from the barbecue. Next year it will step up with more serious notes.

The two prestige wines can be cellared for a decade or more (that said, none of the wines is going anywhere for quite a while), both having been aged in barrique for structure and support. The white, "Les Anges Lots" has a softer nose than the "Terre de Maimbray", the oak subduing any of the excesses of Sauvignon that may be lurking there, and a more restrained palate for now. This needs some air. When you get through, you find a bigger, more complex wine, steely and mineral with saline notes. Dry and excessively drinkable (I refer you again to my earlier trepidatious comments about the variety).

"A Nicolas" is Pascal's hommage to his brother who died in 2007. Again, age will do it no harm - we are currently beginning to enjoy the 2015 outing for this wine but, bearing in mind the excesses of the 2018 vintage, this vintage is more forward and can be enjoyed from now. A lovely Pinot. Definitely not Burgundy but great Pinot nonetheless.

I have almost managed to get through a blog post without referencing food. Not so fast: white Sancerre reputedly is a good match for Crottin de Chavignol, a local soft goat's cheese or anything similar. Not for me and certainly not with these deliciously delicate wines. The cheese becomes a little cloying and overwhelms the wine. Why waste either? Enjoy these whites as an aperitif or, if you must have food, a light salad or anything that won't try to compete. Whichever way, these are wines to savour and enjoy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Estate Profile: the truly excellent Domaine Ste-Anne

Simple labels adorn the bottles of these highly effective and enjoyable wines which have a distinct nod to the northern Rhône and even Burgundy and Bandol despite their southern Rhône setting. Described by Robert Parker as ‘one of the best estates in the entire Rhône Valley’, Domaine Ste-Anne has been in the Steinmaier family since 1965 when it was bought as a holiday home for this Burgundian family. Guy Steinmaier quickly recognised the potential of the 12 hectares of vines and set about replanting them.   Now under the stewardship of his son Jean, who studied winemaking in Beaune before taking over in 1977, they have remained consistent throughout making remarkably un-Parkerised wines (that is to say, these are elegant and refined rather than the blockbusters generally regarded by the former uber-critic). A quarter of a century since Parker wrote those words, Domaine Ste-Anne remains synonymous with the Côtes du Rhône Village of St-Gervais. Today the range is much the same as it was

Joblot in the glass

Always one of my favourite tastings: the new vintage – in this case the 2019s – of Domaine Joblot’s wines from the bottle and, better still, in the comfort of my own home. 2019 has been much lauded but, thanks to Covid, only a very few people have tasted widely around the vintage. Jancis Robinson said of the wines she tasted, ‘ the wines were delightfully easy to like ’ although she rarely looks at the Chalonnaise which can be viewed as unfortunate for the top estates there but, perhaps, lucky for us since it keeps prices down and wines available. Anyone wanting to delve into Joblot’s wines could either choose any available vintagesand try wines from across the range or follow particular cuvées across a range of vintages (horizontal or vertical comparisons).   Juliette was clearly pleased with the way the wines turned out and rightly so. They tend towards sweetness in their youth but that is necessary for the wines to show at their best after 5-10m years (they will last much, much long

Salumi Success

I have been perfecting (I hope) my curing skills in the hope that I will soon be able to start making and selling salumi (that's Italian charcuterie although some may be more French than Italian, of course). I seem to be getting there. Shortly before Christmas - for some reason, at my busiest time of the year, I always need an additional project. Probably, if I don't keep going, I'll simply stop altogether - I cured a Coppa (the muscle that runs from the neck to the loin), a Lonzo (the loin) and made various salami from a basic recipe with additions: some with olives, some simply with black pepper and, best of all, a Fenocchiona which has lots of garlic and fennel. The Lonzo was cold smoked for a couple of hours. Here are the results: My youngest son and I demolished this in a matter of minutes. He didn't get any wine to go with it but I did: Fabrizio Battaglino 's Roero Riserva 2015 : just about reaching perfection, this has elegant Nebbiolo character with some sup