jamie goode's wine blog

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Superb South African white: De Grendel Winifred

Very impressed with tonight's tipple, which is from Durbanville producer De Grendel. It's an unusual blend, but it works brilliantly.

De Grendel Winifred Viognier Semillon Chardonnay 2008 Durbanville, South Africa
13.5% alcohol. Fantastic stuff: very fresh grapefruit and pear nose with some richer peachy notes. The palate has lovely herb, grapefruit and melon fruit with a hint of vanilla. Not at all fat or blowsy. Focused, with the Viognier (40% of the blend) dominant. 91/100 (£9.99 Oddbins)

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Beautifully elegant Aussie: De Bortoli Shiraz Viognier 2004

I have a few bottles of this lurking around, purchased a few years ago for around a tenner a bottle. It's just beautiful, and at five years old is starting to hit its stride, but clearly has some distance to go.

De Bortoli Shiraz Viognier 2004 Yarra Valley, Australia
14% alcohol. 11 months ageing in new and used French oak barrels. This is a beautifully expressive, elegant wine. There's a hint of floral, apricotty perfume to the nose which shows slightly peppery dark fruits. The palate is super-fresh with cherry and plum fruit backed up by some spiciness, and a structure which is in part tannin, in part acidity. There's a sweetness to the fruit which is very much Australian, but also a freshness and structure that's much more Northern Rhone. Wonderful stuff that's ageing beautifully. 94/100

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Anakena Viognier: it's brilliant

Viognier almost went extinct in the 1970s, but now it's really, really cool and everyone likes it.

Here's one of the new world's best examples, IMHO. It's the Anakena Viognier 2008. The 2007 tasted a couple of weeks ago is also fantastic (I remember tasting it blind at the WoC awards tasting in Chile last January and giving it a clear Gold medal, and there weren't many of those dished out).

Anakena Viognier 2008 Rapel Valley, Chile
A really stunning new world interpretation of Viognier. It's fresh and aromatic, combining richness and exotic fruit notes with lively vigour. The nose shows ripe peach and fresh tangerine notes, with a hint of vanilla. The palate is richly fruited with apricot and peach fruit meshing well with livlier citrus notes. It's just a beautifully balanced, full flavoured, fresh expression of this grape. 91/100 (£8.99 Thresher)

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Cigalus - top Languedoc white

Don't come across many high-end Languedoc whites, but here's one that's been on my sample rack for a while. It's really refined and pretty serious, but I'm not sure about the price tag (it says £26.99 Oddbins, although I don't think they have any still in stock).

Gerard Bertrand Cigalus 2007 Vin de Pays d'Oc, France
75% Chardonnay, 20% Viognier and 5% Sauvignon Blanc, two-thirds of which is fermented and aged in new oak. It's a really refined wine that shows great balance between the lush, rounded, opulent Viognier and Chardonnay characters, and an innate sort of fruity freshness, which keeps it from being at all heavy. It's even a bit floral. The oak is really well integrated, just supplying a little vanilla spice and subtle breadiness. Overall, it's a really refined, modern wine of real poise, and the Viognier is adding something distinctive to it. 91/100

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A serious Languedoc white!

Continuing yesterday's Languedoc theme, I wanted to share this wine with you, my loyal readers. It falls into the (slightly) weird but wonderful category. To be honest, I'd resisted cracking it open for a while because I thought that there wasn't much hope for a 2000 vintage Languedoc white. I was pleasantly surprised.

Domaine La Combe Blanche 'Le Blanc' 2000 Vin de Pays des Cotes de Brian, France
A blend of Roussanne and Viognier aged in barrel for 12 months. Yellow/gold in colour this is very smooth, with a fruity sweet pear nose that also has complex notes of mandarin, fennel and apricot. The palate shows warm, sweet fruit with a crystalline fruits richness and some hints of nuts and peach. Broad, smooth and quite complex, with freshness as well as richness. Just lovely. 92/100 (£9.75 Leon Stolarski)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A lovely Viognier

Very impressed by tonight's wine, a Viognier from the South of France. It wasn't so long ago that Viognier was a rarity. Now it seems everyone is growing it, especially in the Languedoc. Growing Viognier is one thing; doing it well is another matter - but Anna and Jorge Maslakiewicz seem to have got it just right. Their success has come by skill and hard work: they identified the style they wanted to make, took great care in the vineyard and cellar, and then benchmarked their wine against other Viogniers until they were sure they'd got it right. The results are impressive.

Domaine St Ferreol Viognier 2006 Vin de Pays d'Oc, France
Lovely stuff. Beautifully aromatic nose with tangerine peel, apricot, honey and vanilla notes. The palate has a lovely texture and great balance, with bright fruit, a hint of sweetness and a rich texture. Rich but not too rich, this is the qualitative equal of a good Condrieu. 90/100 (Not available in the UK yet; 6 Euros ex-cellar price)
Added later: it is now available in the UK from The Flying Corkscrew, Le Caviste, Bertrand & Nicholas, Leon Stolarski Fine Wines - priced £9.95 or therabouts

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

This is not a football blog, a cracking affordable aussie, and a film

This is not a football blog. Therefore I shall say very little about today's Manchester derby, except that City were good value for their win over United. I'm also thrilled that the City fans respected the minute's silence. Vassell, Benjani, you beauties.

The wine tonight is one that surprised me. I don't expect a great deal for a sub-£6 Australian red, but this wine over-delivered. It was bright, fresh, a bit meaty, a bit peppery and very tasty.

Stamford Brook Shiraz Viognier 2006 South AustraliaMade for Sainsbury by Angoves. Lovely fresh sweet dark fruits nose with a bit of pepper and some meaty richness. Really focused and appealing. The palate is pure, peppery and bright with great balance. It’s not at all confected or soupy. For the price, this is really good: as well as sweet fruit, there’s a fantastic savouriness and a bit of old world peppery Syrah character that I really like. Delicious. 88/100 (£5.99 Sainsbury’s)

Finally, a film. We saw Atonement last night, after having read the book. The film was very true to Ian McEwan's novel, but the ending in the film is less ambiguous than that in the book. If anything, the film is clearer and better integrated, although you miss out on the delicious, rich, complex writing style of McEwan. It's really worth seeing - James McEvoy is simply fantastic, as he was in the Last King of Scotland.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Zontes Footstep

I hesitate to post this note, lest my loyal readers despise me as a lover of spoofy, fake wine. But I feel I need to come clean. I enjoyed the new release (2006) of the Zonte's Footstep Shiraz (94%) Viognier 6%) 2006 McLaren Vale. It's certainly a very ripe, full-on Aussie wine. But what I like is the purity of the fruit, and the fact that as well as sweetness it offers some spicy, peppery complexity. There's even a hint of ginger. It works really well - it's the sort of wine you want another glass of (although perhaps not a third glass).

Look, you don't always want to be reading Proust and Joyce - sometimes you are in the mood for John Grisham and Joanne Harris. It's a bit like that with wine. I enjoy the serious stuff, but I also enjoy the less weighty, perhaps more ephemeral wines that suit a mood or occasion. There are good spoofy wines and bad ones. This Zonte's, in its style, is a really well made wine. Perhaps the only thing I'd change about it is that I'd use reverse osmosis to dial the alcohol down a little - perhaps from its present 14.5% to around 13.9% - I reckon this would really help the wine. Heck, at 13% you'd have a world-beating Crozes-Hermitage.

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