jamie goode's wine blog

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Some nice wines with friends

I have a few nice wines to report on, from a dinner last night here chez Goode, where I was joined by David Bueker (visiting London from the USA) and Greg Sherwood MW (of Handford Wine). I'd never met David before, but I have communicated with him over a period of years on internet wine bulletin boards. Sounds weird, I know, meeting up with people you met on internet boards, but all the 'real life' interactions I've had with fellow wine nuts have been positive ones, and last night was no exception.

Three is a nice number for a wine dinner, and we had some really interesting wines. David brought along a Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Heiligenstein 2006 Langenlois, Kremstal. I love Austrian Riesling, and this is a really superb example of dry Riesling at its best. It's rich and mineralic, with plenty of weight and a nice texture. Drinking very well now, but good for another five, I reckon. I'd already opened a Reinhold Haart Riesling Piesport Domherr Spatlese 2005 Mosel Saar Ruwer, which was nowhere near ready to drink. It has the richness of an Auslese with lovely spicy apricot, honey and citrus flavour. I think it's a superb wine, but not for broaching now. Another Riesling I opened by way of comparison, Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Riesling 2005 Eden Valley, was very reductive, with lots of burnt match character and a rather grippy mouthfeel. I wonder whether this was because of the tin-lined screwcap.

A fourth Riesling we tried was Dr Loosen Beerenauslese 2006, in 187 ml bottle. It was sweet and rather simple, lacking complexity (this is now in stock at Waitrose). Greg brought a couple of bottles. The first, Chateau de Donos Corbieres 1989 was still alive and had some evolved earthy complexity. The second was probably the wine of the evening. Louis Latour Chateau Corton Grancey Crand Cru 1990 was just singing. It's one of those rare wines where you feel you are drinking it at its peak. Smooth, mature and really elegant, I'd rate this at 94 if you forced me to put a score to it. I really liked the next wine, but it had its work cut out following the Burgundy. It was Domaine du Gros Nore Bandol 2000. Spicy and dense, as you'd expect from Bandol, but with fantastic purity of fruit, too. I have 11 more bottles of this, and I'm pleased about that.

Finally, Tamellini Vigna Morogne Recioto del Soave 2003 is sensational. Deep coloured, it is a thrilling viscous sweet white with complex apricot, honey, peach and vanilla notes. I guess for me this would tie for wine of the night. It's amazing stuff (another gem from Les Caves de Pyrene).

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Four rubbish wines, one good one

I don't like to be negative. At the same time, a critic's job is to be critical of the bad as well as praising the good.

Last night I opened four wines, all of which depressed me. Wine should be authentic; it should be fun; it should inspire and captivate; it should make us think a bit. Sadly, there's a lot of rubbish wine out there that does none of these things.

Tonight, therefore, I played safe. I opened something I knew I'd like. I have a soft spot for Bandol, and Domaine Gros' Nore is one of the top producers. The 1999 which I'm sipping now has a haunting nose: it's sweetly fruited, but the dominant theme is a perfumed earthiness - a savoury melange of spice, herbs, crushed rocks and turned earth. In the mouth it is savoury, dense, earthy and shows a bit of tarry, spicy fruit. There's quite a bit of tannic structure and good acidity. Beginning to drink really well, and I reckon it's good for another 10 years. As with all Bandols, Mourvedre is the key grape here.

Back to the duds. Oddbins Selection Bordeaux 2006 is the best of them: I like the dark, sweet chocolatey blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. My problem is that it tastes like Australian Cabernet, with sweet jammy fruit you just don't expect from Bordeaux. Is there residual sugar here? I wouldn't be surprised. Next, Yaldara 'The Farms' Shiraz 2004 tastes like an average 7 Barossa red, with sweet fruit and disjointed acid, together with heat and astringency. Problem is that Laithwaites sell this at 18.95, a price at which it represents spectacularly bad value. It has a twintop closure. Not usually seen on 20 wines. Now Chileno knock out some decent cheapo Chilean wines. Their Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 is not one of them. The vibrant fruit has distinctive herbal greeness, and the result is a bit sickly. It's cheap, though, at under a fiver, but to be honest I'd rather drink water. Finally, Kendall Jackson's Cabernet Sauvignon Vintners Reserve 2003 from California is sweet and confected, with a vanilla streak to the red and black fruits. A crowd pleaser, but at 10 I was very disapponted: it just tastes 'made'.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

A wine that's good enough

Domaine Tempier Bandol 1999 (from half)
A wine that's good enough. Not great, but it tastes like Bandol and worked as a wonderful match to a wild mushroom risotto. It's earthy, with some red fruit, and savoury spiciness. There's also a gamey sort of quality to it. The dominant feature is the savoury earthiness. It's not great, but I enjoyed it. Makes it hard to rate, because on another occasion it might not work so well. I guess this reinforces the importance of context, and why it is a bit daft asking which the 'best' wine is without knowing how the wine is destined to be drunk.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Christmas greetings, dear readers. After a few days' abstinence, I felt up to some wine today. Just a little, and nothing terribly excessive. We began with the two wines I bought on Thursday for research purposes. Domain Chandon ZD 2002 is a delightful Aussie fizz with good complexity and a very dry finish. Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2006 is a very good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but you are certainly paying a premium for the label: I could easily find seven or eight NZ Sauvignons that are its equal, and which are much cheaper. Finally, a Bandol: Lafran Veyrolles Longue Garde, which is now entering is earthy, evolved phase. Nice in a very savoury style.

The Goode family Christmas day has been a very successful one. This has not always been the case, I should add! Just the four of us, plus various animals. Lots of present unwrapping, a nice lunch, a walk, some telly, some family games, and for everyone else an early night. I have to stay up to see to the hound, but I'm hoping to find my bed soon. Merry Christmas.

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