A Loire red after football: P-J Druet
I've just come off the football pitch after an enjoyable game. Nine versus eight, finishing 2-1 after an hour. A solid defensive display by our side, coupled with a goalkeeping error by the other side, allowed us to sneak a hard-fought victory. There were some juicy challenges, but it was a warm-spirited affair, and the inevitable stiffness tomorrow will be worth it. I'm playing again tomorrow night, but this will be a less taxing five-a-side.
I've turned to a bottle that I bought a while ago from Majestic for some vinous refreshment (professional footballers tend to prefer the ice bath, and then a night club). It's Pierre-Jacques Druet's Le Cent Boisselees Bourgeuil 2003, a Loire red from the famously hot vintage. I remember buying it because Druet is one of the Bourgeuil's stars, and because the Loire suffered less than most other French regions in this otherwise disastrous vintage. It's interesting that those who hyped 2003 in Bordeaux and the Southern Rhone have never really been called to account. It's a vintage I avoid every bit as much as 2002 (although Bordeaux and Burgundy didn't do all that badly in this otherwise damp year).
The wine? Quite elegant and almost Burgundian, with a bit of the minerally, gravelly character that I love in Loire reds, but with some softness and richness that you don't always get in these wines. Elegant, midweight and approachable with strawberry and raspberry fruit, it's drinking very well now, but might not last too much longer. This is Druet's machine-picked, unoaked cuvee, and I reckon it's one for drinking early. I'll be on the lookout for more recent vintages; sadly, no longer at Majestic.
For more information on Druet, see the excellent report by Chris Kissack at his Winedoctor website. Chris is really good on the Loire, and his site is an excellent read.