Saturday 1st April 2017 : "Wines for Longer Days" with Dinah in Lewes
Dinah, ably assisted by her daughter Stephanie, hosted her very first SWAS Tasting in Lewes rather inappropriately ( or maybe appropriately...?) on "All Fools' Day"...!
1. Cremant du Jura 2014; Jura, France; 100% chardonnay; 12% alc; £7.49 from Aldi (currently retailing for £7.99 from Aldi)
Fantastically crisp and elegant with green apples, perfect acidity and persistent bubbles. Made from 100% Chardonnay, this wine has a sophisticated subtlety with stimulating fresh citrus notes and a lovely length. Awarded 89/100 by Decanter Magazine and and a Gold Medal Winner at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Dinah notes that Arbois is considered the wine capital of the Jura, a region that also produces Comte, Beaufort, Morbier and Mont d'Or cheeses.
2. William Fevre Chablis, 2014; hand harvested in Chablis; 100% chardonnay; 13%; bought by Dinah in France (currently available from Wines Direct for £13.95 per bottle)
Combining lovely fruitiness with an attractive freshness and characteristic minerality, Chablis is a wine region with global renown. Domaine William Fèvre’s vineyards sit on Kimmeridgian subsoil and enjoy ideal exposures for the production of a very fine wine.
Fleshy and elegant bouquet revealing citrus, white fruits and flowers aromas. The mouth is fresh, supple underscored by mineral.
Ideal with fish dishes, grilled or in a light sauce; various seafood, oysters and sushis.
3. Ad-Hoc Chardonnay 2015; Pemberton, Western Australia; 100% chardonnay; 13% alc; bought by Dinah from Symposium Wine Bar in Lewes for £15.50
Ad Hoc 'Hen and Chicken' Pemberton Chardonnay 2015 Larry Cherubino, from Western Australia, is a rich, buttery wine, aged in French oak barrels. The wine shows aromas of citrus and melon, with a soft yet intense palate, bursting with flavours of lemon butter and gentle spice, with a long, fresh finish.
Western Australia's Cherubino Wines has won awards with James Halliday 2011 Australian Wine Companion - Top Winery of The Year and Matt Skinner’s 2011 Wine Guide - Best Producer of The Year. Larry Cherubino is one of the most accomplished wine makers in Australia, with a working background for Tintara and the Houghton. He has a strong technical background and a highly developed understanding of modern wine styles.
4. Le Soula Terroir d'altitude - Vin du Fenouillèdes, Côtes Catalanes, Gauby 2011; Languedoc Roussillon, France; a blend of 35% sauvignon blanc, 25% vermintino, 20% grenache blanc, 5% chardonnay + others; 12.5% alc; an organic wine from The Wine Society bought for £20.00. (Currently out of stock, sadly).
Gérard is Gauby is a partner, with specialist UK importer Richards Walford, in Le Soula, an outstanding plot high in the upper Agly valley, about an hour’s drive from the Gauby property in Calce. Le Soula loosely translated from Catalan means ‘sunny site’ and refers to the situation of the vines in a clever sun-trap which allows the grapes to ripen in spite of the very high altitude. The wines produced here are unique. The red is a blend of syrah, cabernet, carignan and grenache and has the potential to gain much complexity with bottle age. The white is a fine, mineral, complex and long-lived blend of several varieties including roussane and grenache gris. Both of these appellation-defiers are sold as Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, having previously enjoyed the more niche designation of Vin de Pays des Coteaux des Fenouillèdes, a name some attribute romantically to wild fennel, and others more practically to the local variant of foin, or hay, for this is traditionally grazing land. This designation was scrapped after the 2003 vintage, in a well-meaning attempt by the INAO to simplify the Roussillon for consumers.
5. Domaine Montangeron, Fleurie 2015; Beaujolais, France; Gamay grape; 14.0% alc; £9.95; sourced from The Wine Society
Beaujolais lies between the towns of Mâcon and Lyon with most of the vineyard confusingly coming into the Département du Rhône. The vast majority of the region’s 18,500 hectares is planted with a single red grape: gamay, or to be more precise, gamay noir à jus blanc. Often densely planted to help control the vines vigour, and therefore yields, trained low and pruned hard, they are need at least a short spell of real heat to ripen properly. In terms of soil, gamay does not do well on sedimentary rock types. Much of Beaujolais is granite with outcrops of schist in part of Morgon or Andesites in the Cote de Brouilly.
Beaujolais 2015 is quite a heterogenous vintage with a number of different styles of wine, some more successful than others. It was a hot and dry year with less rain than in the Côte D’Or. There was some water stress and some ripening by concentration in early September as hot southern winds evaporated the water in the grapes by 10-15%.
There are some wines saved by high altitude, like some bits of Fleurie and Chiroubles, and others where there is a lot of clay in the soil, Morgon Grand Cras and Moulin-a-Vent Les Perelles, and others where the vignerons picked early, around 26 August, which taste like a normal ripe year.
This was not the year to extract a lot of structure. The grapes had so much colour and fruit that it was best to allow this to flow out of the grapes without extraction or thermovinification.
6. Chinon 'Le Paradis' 2015; Loire Valley, France; 100% cabernet franc; 12.5% alc; purchased from The Wine Society for £8.95
This Chinon domaine is under the tutelage of the Chinon head-winemaker, Romain Parisis. It is run and staffed by people with difficulties and disabilities, through Les Chevaux Blancs Work Support Service which was established in 1987. It is part of a wider initiative to support local disabled people with work, housing and family support. Thirty hectares of vines are managed this way, comprising one domaine, one château, and two vineyards, with the shared benefit of a modern vinification winery and ancient tuffeaux cellars.
7. Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2016; Yarra Valley, S. Australia; 100% pinot noir; 13% alc; bought from Asda for £7.00 (the 2015 vintage is currently retailing at £7.98 at Asda)
De Bortoli Wines is a third generation family owned wine company established by Vittorio and Giuseppina De Bortoli in 1928. The family is deeply committed to the business and has a real passion for wine. The De Bortoli family motto 'Semper ad Majora' - 'Always striving for better' - underpins everything the company does.
De Bortoli has expanded into some of Australia's best known wine regions across Victoria and New South Wales including the Yarra, King and Hunter Valleys from its original base in Bilbul, in the Riverina region of southern New South Wales. Our winemaking philosophy is that great wine begins in the vineyard. The belief is that sustainable vineyard practices will deliver exceptional fruit quality to the winery as well as real environmental benefits. This philosophy is driven by our desire to leave a legacy for future generations, an idea that has resonance for any family-owned company.
At De Bortoli we strive to make genuinely interesting wine styles with a strong regional focus that also offer outstanding value. We believe wine should have varietal detail and be a reflection of site and season. Wine should have 'a sense of place'.
8. Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2013; Martinborough, NZ; 100% pinot noir; sourced from Majestic; £16.99
Although a single vineyard site, the Te Muna Road vineyard is planted with eight different Pinot Noir clones, across 40 individual parcels of vines. Combined with over a year's ageing in small oak barrels, this produces a wine with enhanced complexity and depth. Deep red, with an almost blackish tint. The aromas are brooding yet inviting, characterised by black cherry, with hints of flowers and tarry notes. Silky on the palate, flowing to a long, spicy finish. Drink with lamb, game and wild mushroom dishes, either now or following up to 7 years' cellarage
(ed. - Mike & Claire featured the 2011 vintage of this excellent pinot at their SWAS Tasting in May 2015. The 2013 vintage proved to be just as good...!)
9. Blind River Pinot Noir 2014; Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, NZ; 100% pinot noir; 13.5% alc; sourced from Majestic (the 2015 vintage is currently available at a discount for £14.99)
Former marine engineer Barry Feickert started Blind River wines as a retirement project, at the Redwood Pass vineyard in the Awatere Valley. His two daughters now manage the winery, and their wines have been acknowledged as being among the finest in Marlborough. A deep and intense Pinot Noir, with layer upon layer of blackcurrant and loganberry fruit, nuanced with liquorice and spice notes. Plenty of weight, but with silky, elegant tannins Drink now or cellar for up to 7 years. Serve with feathered game.