2nd July 2016 : "Will You Vote Left or Will You Vote Right...?" with Mike & Claire in Solihull
This year's 'SWAS Away Day' was yet again in the frozen north of the West Midlands. All the evening's wines originated from the Bordeaux region of Western France.
Six brave members trekked all the way up from Sussex and six local guests joined us for the evening.
1. Château Cantelaudette 2014, Graves de Vayres; 85% Sémillon, 10% Sauvignon, 5% Muscadelle; 12.5% alc; £4.36 (€5.45) from Leclerc
"The wines of Château Cantelaudette are characterized by a complex and pleasant aromatic basis ("une excellente vinosité"). The reds are full-bodied and marked by notes of red fruit and spices, the whites surprise the taster with their freshness and citrus aromas and the rosé is lively yet round and expressive."
2. Dourthe Réserve 2014; Sauvignon Blanc; 12.0% alc; £6.99 (discounted from £8.99) from Majestic
"Aromatic and concentrated, with fresh citrus combined with notes of passion fruit, a crisp acidity and lovely structure with a long and persistent finish."
3. Château Ferrand 2012, Pomerol; Merlot, Cabernet Franc; 13.5% alc; £11.40 (€ 14.25) from Leclerc
"The wine of Château Ferrand comes from vineyards on the southern slopes of the plateau of Pomerol. Château Haut-Ferrand is harvested from vines planted in predominently gravelly ground."
4. Château Caronne Ste-Gemme, Cru Bourgeois, 2010, Haut-Médoc; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot; 13.5% alc; £13.99 (discounted from £15.99) from Majestic
"The vineyard of Caronne Ste-Gemme is made up of 45 hectares planted on a mound of gravel with a base of iron-rich sandstone. Plantings consist of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot and the average vine age is 25 years. A bright nose of red fruit with a perfumed edge follows onto the palate with added nuances of smoke, black pepper and subtle oak. A well-rounded finish craves to be drunk now as an excellent accompaniment to roasts."
5. La Sirène de Giscours, 2013, Margaux; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc; 12.5% alc; £15.40 (€19.24) from Leclerc
"La Sirène de Giscours (Margaux AOC): This second wine of the Château comes from the selection of our youngest vines. The vinification and ageing benefit from the same care as the Grand Vin, Château Giscours. You will love the smoothness and refinement of this Margaux."
6. Château D'Arche, 2010, Haut-Médoc; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot; 13.5% alc; £11.20 (€14.00) from Carrefour
"In a truly great Bordeaux vintage, lesser known properties can produce wines to rival those of the big names. That's certainly the case of this rich, age-worthy claret, the estate of which has just been bought by renowned Cru Classé Château Lagune.
Aroma: Tightly furled red fruit aromas with hints of liquorice and tobacco:
Taste: Complex and layered with red and black fruits, minerals and toasty oak"
"An attractive, berry-fruited nose with Christmas fruitcake, herbs and spice box" - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
7. Château Caillau 2013, Saint Émilion Grand Cru; Merlot blend; 13.0%; £8.82 (€11.02) from Leclerc
[Unusually, I could find no useful information whatsoever about this wine! - Ed.]
8. Château Hortevie, 2004, St Julien; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc; 13.0% alc; £19.50 (discounted from £22.00) from Majestic
"Soft, ripe, herbal, black cherry and cassis fruit intermingled with hints of tea and Asian spices emerge from this elegant, medium-bodied 2004." - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
9. Château La Pointe, 2012, Pomerol; Merlot; 12.0% alc; £19.50 (discounted from £22.00) from Majestic
"This is a great introduction to the delights of Pomerol. The second wine of the renowned Château La Pointe offers lush flavours of plum, bramble, herbs and just a hint of spice."
"Delivers short-term pleasure" - Jancis Robinson
10. Ségla, Château Rauzan-Ségla, 2008, Margaux; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot; 13.0% alc; £25.00 (discounted from £28.00) from Majestic
"Ségla is the second wine of the famous Margaux second growth Château Rauzan-Ségla. More accessible than the first wine, this does not receive as much new oak, so tannins are riper and smoother making the Ségla ripe and ready for drinking.
It is a wine with excellent concentration and poise. Showing fragrant notes of ripe fruits, violets and cedar with beautiful length and delicate tannins. With great structure and balance and a long finish
A great example of good value Margaux, drinking well now this wine will also soften further and improve over the next 7-8 years"
11. Château de La Rivière, 2010, Fronsac; 85% Merlot, 8% Cab Franc, 6% Cab Sauv, 1% Malbec; 15.0% alc; £12.68 (€15.85) from Leclerc
Château de La Rivière's vines are planted on rocky land in the clay/limestone foothills bordering the Dordogne west of Fronsac. The grapes cultivated are between 80 and 90% Merlot, 1% Malbec and the rest split between Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
After hand picking, wine making is traditional, piecemeal, and fermentation takes place in concrete vats, stainless steel and wooden vats. Followed by aging for 15 months in 30% new barrels. This process results in a Fronsac full of nobility, intense, with black and ripe fruits, spicey, rich and with soft tannins. Drink within 6 or 7 years.
The Château de La Rivière extends over 85 hectares including 60 hectares of vines. It dominates the Dordogne valley which ensures a very favorable natural climate regulation. The clay and limestone soil is dominant with two types of exposure: the vineyards located on the limestone plateau and other hills, facing south, are on sandstone soils. Château de La Rivière also has - some 8 hectares of limestone quarries, ideal for the storage of wine in both barrels and in bottles.
Claire served Tray-baked Chicken & Tomatoes, Spicy Salmon Fillets, Mixed Bean Salad, Jersey Royals and a Mixed Salad. Desserts, some made for us by Adrienne & James' eight year old granddaughter, were a selection of fruit flans including Pecan Pie, and a Fresh Fruit Salad. A Cheese Selection (including a superb Roquefort...), followed by teas & coffee to round the meal off.
12. A 'sweetie' (especially for Bryan) to accompany the desserts & cheese:
Clos L'Abeilley 2013, Sauternes; Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon; (37.5 cl) £9.89 from Majestic
Flavours: Marmalade, Apricot, Peach
Origin: The vineyards of Sauternes, with their misty conditions, are perfect for inducing botrytis, the noble rot responsible for the superb concentration and sweetness of these incomparable wines.
Taste: Wild honey aromas, luscious apricot fruit, with a racy acidity that superbly balances the sweetness on the excellent finish.
Enjoy: This wine is a splendid match with Roquefort cheese. Drink chilled.