Rewind and natural wines
Rewind: it's nice to catch up with old friends, visiting old haunts - but there's something about going back that stirs up emotions a little. We had a lovely time today visiting some friends who we knew very well when we were first married and living in Wallington, Surrey, but who we've lost touch with a bit since. But despite the fact that it was a nice time, I came away with a little sadness from visiting the old haunts. I don't know why.
I'm drinking Yann Chave's Crozes Hermitage 2004 tonight (Laithwaites, Majestic £9.99). You really don't want to have the name Chave and be making wines in the northern Rhone, unless you are JL Chave, of course. It's a bit like having studied at Oxford Brookes University here in the UK (which I am sure is an excellent educational establishment; it just isn't simply Oxford University). A deep coloured wine, it has a lot of flavour, with lots of green herb and black olive character. It's intensely savoury and meaty, but that northern Rhone olive and herb character is taken to an extreme here at the expense of the fruit. It's turning out to be a rather extreme and funky bottle, and it's a bit much even for me - and I like this northern Rhone style of Syrah.
I'm in the process of writing up an interesting tasting last week of natural wines with no added sulfur dioxide. As you might expect, these were a mixed bag, but there were a few gems.