2nd December: The SWAS Christmas AGM/Quiz/Tasting
"Wines from a Single Grape Variety"
The SWAS AGM/Quiz and Tasting was very kindly hosted again this year by Lyn & Dave in Henfield.
On arrival, we all enjoyed a glass of fizz. The excellent 'Cremant de Jura 2014' which is great value from Aldi...!
After the AGM and before Dinah's Quiz and Tasting, Bryan served two bottles of one of our cellared wines, bottles that were judged to be ready for tasting now. We enjoyed the Domaine Delubac L'Authentique Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne 2009. Two further bottles of this wine remain in the cellar to be tasted in the future.
Moving on, it was time for this evening's wine tasting and Quiz from the more than capable hands of Dinah. The Quiz was duly won, to everyone's delight, by Bill on whose broad shoulders will rest the burden of setting the 2018 Quiz and providing the wines for tasting at the December AGM. Congratulations, Bill...!
1. Mount Pleasant 'Elizabeth' 2009, Hunter Valley; 100% Semillon, Cellar Aged; 10.5% abv; £13.50 from The Wine Society
All grapes for this wine were handpicked. At the winery they were de-stemmed, crushed, must chilled and the juice allowed to drain quickly from the skins. After cold natural settling, the clear juice was racked off, warmed and inoculated with a natural, neutral yeast for fermentation. The fermentation was slow and cool to retain the exceptional fruit flavour of the vintage. Three weeks after fermentation the wine was filtered before bottling, ensuring the retention of pristine varietal character.
Inspired by the first visit of a reigning monarch to Australia in 1954, today Mount Pleasant Elizabeth is the embodiment of the synergy achieved by combining the noble grape variety Semillon and the Hunter Valley. Renowned for its unique ability to be enjoyed when fresh and admired when allowed to age gracefully, Mount Pleasant celebrates both styles through Elizabeth. Having been placed in the Mount Pleasant cellars for extended bottle age, this small parcel of Semillon now enjoys the benefits gained from patience.
2. Boekenhoutskloof 2013; Franschhoek Valley, South Africa; 100% Semillon; 13% abv; Purchased from Butler's for £25.95
Boekenhoutskloof was established in 1776. Located in the furthest corner of the beautiful Franschhoek valley, the farm's name means "ravine of the Boekenhout" (pronounced Book-n-Howed). Boekenhout is an indigenous Cape Beech tree greatly prized for furniture making. In 1993 the farm and homestead was bought and restored and a new vineyard planting programme was established that now includes Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Semillon and Viognier.
The Boekenhoutskloof Semillon has been predominantly sourced from the oldest vineyard in South Africa, planted in 1902 on alluvial soils with a high loam content. Grapes are further sourced from two other low yielding parcels also grown within the Franschhoek Valley and planted in 1936 and 1942 on original rootstock and traditional bush vines. The deep root system and high skin to pulp ratio of these old vineyards produce intensely complex, well-structured wines with an unbelievable ageing potential. It is important for us to respect the character of these unique sites and we follow a similar philosophy in the cellar. The grapes are whole bunch pressed and spontaneous fermentation takes place in barrique and concrete eggs. We mature our Semillon for 14 months at low temperatures without adding sulphur to ensure that we inhibit any malolactic activity. Prior to bottling we often opt to blend Sauvignon Blanc into the Semillon. The percentage will differ depending on the vintage. In 2014 we blended in only 4% of Sauvignon Blanc.
TASTING NOTES: The nose shows a melange of freshly squeezed citrus, pear, orange blossom, lemon curd and honeysuckle. The bright yellow fruit follows through onto a vibrant yet elegant palate with a richly textured mineral core, a firm structure and soft, balanced acidity. The use of French oak is evident from the hints of vanilla and almonds which lifts the palate in such a subtle way. The wine has a long, dry, nutty, spicy finish with peach blossoms and hints of marzipan lingering in the mouth.
3. 1909 Ancilla, Lugana DOC; Venetto, Italy; 100% Turbiana; 13% abv; Bought from Symposium Wine Emporium, Lewes for £20.50
"I want it to be a tribute to the times when wine was made in the simplest way possible, without too much technology, starting only with a grape of excellent quality. Such is the case with this Lugana: elegant and personal, it is produced without the addition of sulphites so that the fruit can express itself even more fully." - Benedetti Luisella, Proprieter
Straw-yellow colour with greenish highlights. To the nose, intense hints of yellow fruit: grapefruit and citrus fruits with an intriguing final undertone of jasmine and elderberry. On the palate, the sensations on the nose are completed and extended, increasing the pleasure of freshly-harvested fruit with marked vinosity and balance and the curiosity of finding new hints of warmth.
4. Lascar Classic 2016; Central Valley, Chile; 100% Carmenère; 13% abv; The Wine Society £5.75
Ripe, soft, plummy, generously flavoured Chilean carmenère, and a members' favourite of some years. Discovering good, inexpensive wines of this quality is a rare event. What is remarkable about the Lascar wines is that they taste far more expensive and sophisticated than they have a right to, considering the price.
5. 'Felton Road, Calvert 2010; Bannockburn, Central Otago, NZ; 100% Pinot Noir; 14% abv; Symposium Wine Emporium in Lewes £37.50
Nigel Greening's refusal to compromise on his vision has made Felton Road wines some of New Zealand's most sought after. Biodynamic viticulture and minimum intervention in the winery create an intensely pure, rich and luscious Pinot Noir.
Aroma: Fresh strawberry, spice, cream and minerally, earthy notes. Taste: Rich, smooth, youthful, vibrant red berry fruit and mineral complexity
6. Rully 2016, Joseph Drouhin; Burgundy, France; 100% Pinot Noir; 12.5% abv; The Rural Vintner £ 21.00
This reliable Burgundy house is family-owned, managed today by the fourth generation. The wine has spent 12-15 months in mostly second-use oak barrels. Very delicate Pinot, showing scented notes of raspberry and redcurrant. Medium-bodied with notable weight and voluptuous red fruit on the finish.
7. Exhibition St Aubin 2015, Domain Henri Prudhon; Burgundy, France; 100% Pinot Noir; 13% abv; The Wine Society £12.50
An enchanting pinot noir bursting with pretty red-berry flavours, from the exceptionally delicious 2015 Burgundy vintage. The Prudhons have deep wine roots in the tiny community of Saint-Aubin, a well-situated village behind Le Montrachet, and their expertise really shows here.
The Prudhons have deep wine roots in the tiny community of Saint-Aubin, a well-situated village behind Le Montrachet and becoming increasingly recognised for the quality of its wines. Their 14 hectare estate, named after the current generation’s grandfather, Henri and planted with 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, is one of the best of the commune. It is an extremely reliable source of both reds and whites, and unlike many Saint-Aubin domaines, the Prudhons have no plans to convert more to white - they enjoy making the reds so much. Both The Society’s Exhibition red and white Saint-Aubin come from the Prudhon stable. The white is a pretty chardonnay, part-fermented and matured in lightly toasted barrels which infuse it with just the right amount of oak. Like its white counterpart the red from the village of Gamay, but made from pinot noir, displays the charm and drinkability characteristic of the commune. Of the red premiers crus, Le Sentier du Clou has the most depth and tannin. Of the 8 white premiers crus Murgers des Dents de Chien, Chatenière and Remilly are particularly fine which is not surprising given their proximity to Puligny-Montrachet. In Puligny itself is Les Enseignères which is one of the best vineyards for village Puligny sited just below Bâtard-Montrachet. At the very top of the slope, premier cru La Garenne produces taut and mineral wines which relax after a few years in bottle.
8. Mendel Malbec 2014; Mayor Drummond area of Mendoza, Argentina; 100% Malbec; 14.5% abv; The Wine Society £16.00
A delectable Argentine malbec from a vineyard planted in 1928 in the Mayor Drummond area of Mendoza. 2014 was a warmish year giving a richly flavoured wine with brambly fruit and round, sweet tannins; nevertheless, this remains vibrant and fresh due to the high altitude of the vineyard.
Mendel is an old bodega situated at Drummond, Mendoza, built in 1928 and which was bought by the Sielecki family in 2002. They employed the highly respected Roberto de la Mota to make the wines. The wines are quite European in style, firm and structured as opposed to the more usual soft and fruity style, and are designed to develop in bottle. These wines are best enjoyed with food and benefit from decanting 30 minutes before drinking. Mendel have a number of excellent vineyards. Finca Mendel surrounds the bodega at about 900m of altitude in Mayor Drummond was planted in 1928 to malbec at the old density of about 5,000 vines per hectare, quite high by modern standards, and excellent for quality. They are interspersed with olive trees. The fruit of this vineyard goes into their Malbec bottling. Recently a massale selection of petit verdot from Château Margaux has been planted here. At Perdriel, Finca de los Andes is situated at about 1,100m and planted to malbec in 1928, with some cabernet planted about 20 years ago. The malbec and cabernet go into the Unus bottling. In the cool Altamira district to the south of Mendoza they are buying semillon and malbec thought to be about 70 years old. The semillon goes into the varietal bottling while the lovely floral, mid-weight, exquisite malbec is bottled as Finca Remota, a play on words mingling its remote location with Roberto de la Mota's surname.
9. Barolo 'Patres' - San Silvestro 2013; Piedmont, Italy; 100% Nebbiolo; 14% abv; Symposium Wine Emporium £24.00
San Silvestro Barolo 'Patres' 2013 is an intense, spicy, elegant Barolo from a fine vintage. Nebbiolo grapes are ripened on south-facing slopes in the Langhe hills, then aged for two years in large oak barrels following the harvest. Beautiful aromas of 'tar and roses' give onto an intense, elegant palate with impressive length of flavour.
Lyn prepared and served ...
Coq au Vin with Mashed Potatoes and Ratatouille, Baked Brassicas with Halloumi and a Salad. Followed by a Pear & Chocolate Tarte and a Tarte Tartin, selected cheeses and tea/coffee. Dinah provided a bottle of Mendoza Malbec from The Wine Society to accompany the food.
The Xmas Raffle: