Sat 5th May 2018 : "A Personal Selection of Wines from France" with Lyn & Dave in Henfield.
Tastings with Lyn & Dave at their home in Henfield are always eagerly anticipated. This evening was no exception and the wines and food were much enjoyed by all who came.
1. Champagne Roland Bauchet Brut Millésime 2003; Champagne Premier Cru; 12% abv; Purchased from E. Leclerc, Saintes for €19.95
2. Château Limbourg 2015; Péssac-Léognan; 13% abv; Purchased from Intermarché, St.-Jean-d'Angeléy for €12.50
A basic acceptable Bordeaux blend. The next wine that Dave served, however, demonstrated the superior quality (and price!) of a Grand Clu Classé of the same vintage.
3. Château Carbonnieux 2015; Péssac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé de Graves; 80% Sauvignon, 20% Semillon; 13% abv; Purchased from E. Leclerc, Saintes for €29.50
Classic white Bordeaux blends are pale gold in color, perhaps with flashes golden-green, and are characterized by aromas of citrus, grass and hay. If made according to tradition, and in line with appellation laws, a classic Bordeaux white wine will contain at least 25 percent Sauvignon Blanc, to ensure a certain aromatic freshness. For lighter-styled, aromatic wines, a winemaker will favor Muscadelle. For a richer, more cellar-worthy style, a higher proportion of Semillon is used.
Between the Whites & the Reds Lyn served a cheese snack of Délice de Bourgogne...
4. Les Grands Merisiers - M. Chapoutier 2015; Châteauneuf-du-Pape; Rhone, France; 14% abv; Purchased from E. Leclerc, St.-Jean-d'Angély for €19.95
Made primarily from the classic blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, this is a rich and elegant wine; Both to smell and to taste, it is bursting with red cherries, chocolate and peppery spice beautifully balanced with soft vanilla oak: A perfect match for red meats and game
5. Ego - Domaine Cazes 2013; Côtes du Rousillon Villages; 15% abv; Purchased from E. Leclerc, Saintes for €9.83
Domaine Cazes is situated in Rivesaltes in the Roussillon. With 220 hectares of vines planted, Domaine Cazes is the largest certified organic and biodynamic estate in France. It was founded in 1895 by Michel Cazes and the wines are made by the fourth generation of winemakers, headed up by Emmanuel Cazes. The family makes a range of interesting dry wines alongside the regional specialities, Vin Doux Naturels. They took the decision to move to organic and biodynamic viticulture in 1997. Based on their view that the natural environment needs natural preparation, they plough the soils and use only natural ingredients as treatments, arranging their work according to the lunar calendar.
The nose reveals great aromas of ripe black and red fruits. On the palate, these melt with leather and liquorice notes, and soft, velvety tannins. This is a round and rich wine with wonderful balance as well as a pleasantly refreshing acidity. Long finish with hints of black pepper.
6. Chateau Simard 2005; Saint-Émilion; 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc; 13.5% abv; Purchased by Dave from Intermarché, St.-Jean-d'Angély for €15.50
Château Simard is made from 80% Merlot grapes and 20% Cabernet Franc grapes. Cabernet Franc grapes are specifically grown to blend with Merlot, or Cabernet Sauvignon – they are a bit lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon and give a slightly peppery note – contributing some of the complexity of this wine perhaps (some 49-57% of a Cheval Blanc – the leading estate in St Emilion – is composed of Cabernet Franc grapes). Cabernet Franc grows well on gravel – found scattered over the alluvial plain in St Emilion as well as in a more concentrated bed to the north-east of the region.
7. Château Veyry 2010: Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux; Merlot/Cabernet Blanc blend; 15% abv; Purchased by Dave from E. Leclerc, Saintes for €15.50
Quote translated from a Dutch website: "Christian Veyry, one of Bordeaux's most praised talents, is a true artist. His miniscule domain of just 4 ha produces barely a few thousand bottles. His wines are unanimously recognized in the international wine press that makes many St. Emilion Grand Crus fade. As an oenologist, he advises hunters such as Valandraud (St. Emilion Grand Cru) and La Fleur (Pomerol) and assists the Michel Rolland team. An honor and pleasure to let you discover this pearl. Very deep color. Surprisingly how subtly everything here has been rigorously merged. Both in the nose and mouth masses of ripe fruit, roasted with enormous depth and grandiose fleshy but gossamerly tannins. The elegance and finesse of the generous merlot determine the exquisite, velvety taste. Without doubt an absolute classy wine that certainly should not be missing in your cellar."
8. Les Agathes - Domaine Courbis 2011; Cornas, Rhône Valley; 100% Syrah; 13.5% abv; Purchased from E. Leclerc, Saintes for €21.60
Cornas is a village in the northern Rhône valley which produces rich, long-lived red wines. The area is blessed with the same steep granite slopes and high sunshine hours as Hermitage, eight miles (13km) to the north, and makes a similar, if slightly less refined, style of wine. For most of the 20th Century, the focus on Cornas wines was significantly less than it had previously been throughout its long history, but the appellation's output is now recovering its renown for quality, due to a recent resurgence of interest and financial investment.
Cornas, which has only about 270 acres (110ha) of vineyards, is on the western bank of the Rhone river, just south of the larger Saint-Joseph appellation, which is about 20 times its size. Cornas' limited size brings focus to its wine production and it does not suffer from the variable reputation caused by higher output volumes as Saint-Joseph does. At present, the Cornas wines do not attract such high prices as their better-known rivals to the north, so they provide affordable access to high-quality wines characteristic of the Rhône style.
The best wine-growing areas of Cornas are located to the west and particularly the north-west of the village, where the sun-baked slopes (Cornas is an old dialectal term for burnt land) are protected from the cold north winds that move down the valley. These granite-based slopes rise dramatically from the western edge of the village, rapidly reaching heights of 1150ft (350m). The majority of the vineyards planted on these sites are terraced for stability and to make viticulture possible. Granite has been identified as being a valuable part of many Rhône terroirs, as it is an efficient heat retainer, provides rapid drainage and is of low fertility, which forces the vines to form deep, strong root systems.
Cornas wines are made exclusively from the Syrah grape variety. They are powerful and dark, often with supple, ripe tannins.
For supper Lyn served a very tasty Salmon en Papillote with Vegetables (recipe) followed by desserts and a selection of cheeses and tea/coffee.
1. Chateau de Faure 2007 - won by Bryan
2. Madame Veuve Poînt, Bourgogne, Hautes-Côtes de Beaune 2015 - won by Adrienne