jamie goode's wine blog

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I love Vouvray

UK importer Richards Walford specialize in the Loire, among other things. Today they put on a treat for trade and press - a tasting of the 2008 Huet Vouvrays, plus a vertical of Huet demi-secs taking in the decades back to the 1940s. My favourite was 1962, but the 1947 was pretty smart, also. The 1957 was remarkably fresh. I didn't really get on with the 1971, which I thought was a bit herbal.

2008s were oustanding across the board. You can just buy these blind in confidence knowing they will taste great now, and great in 20 years, and probably outlive you if you store them well.

Most of these older wines had been reconditioned in the domaine: topped up where necessary, had a small SO2 addition, and then recorked. That's why the labels look so good: they'll have been added fairly recently.

Vouvray is a wine nut's sort of wine. I love it. [And forgive the quality of the picture: I only had my camera phone with me.]

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A great Vouvray

I know. Vouvray is unfashionable and a bit geeky, bit it can be great. This is an old bottle that I bought from Oddbins in the 1990s for around £12 if I recall correctly. It has developed beautifully and is now drinking very well, although I suspect it will last a couple more decades. I think I have one more left.

Domaine des Aubuisieres Les Giradieres 1er Trie 1996 Vouvray, Loire, France
A delicious, mature sweet Vouvray that's just beginning to hit its stride. Deep yellow colour, it has a lovely waxy, herby, lanolin nose with some crystalline fruits. The palate is sweet, concentrated and multidimensional, with high acidity offsetting the intense herby, tangy fruit. Although it is sweet, it's not really a dessert wine. Would be great with strongly flavoured cheeses. 93/100

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Locked in time with a Huet 89

Waitrose press tasting today. Nice to see Neal Martin there - haven't seen him for quite a while. Perfect tasting conditions at the Worx in Parson's Green, with plenty of space and lots of spittoons, as well as fantastic natural light. The tasting is so extensive I'll be going back tomorrow to finish it off.

For as long as I can remember, Waitrose used to be the top supermarket for wine. It was one of the things I quickly learned - they were almost untouchable. But despite having a gazillion Masters of Wine on their buying staff, in the last year or two the unthinkable has happened: people have been starting to criticize Waitrose's wine range, albeit in hushed tones. I began hearing whispers on the tasting circuit that some of their buying was a bit safe - a bit boring even. Tesco began to get plaudits for the work they were doing, and then M&S started to win awards for their range.

From my tasting today - I did the reds and sweet wines - I think this is a little unfair. There are some really good, exciting, innovative wines. Yes, there were a few duds and some rather ordinary offerings, but fewer than most supermarkets have. I found plenty to like, and it's not just the wines that were restricted to only a few stores that impressed.

It's hard to select just one wine to blog on tonight, but I've chosen a Loire classic, which, alas, is expensive and only available in 2 branches (although it is available on Waitrose Wine Direct). Still, it was nice of them to let us taste it.

Domaine Huet 'Le Clos' Premiere Trie 1989 Vouvray, France
Deep yellow colour. Complex, sweet spicy-edged nose showing lemon, herbs and crystalline fruits. The palate is pure and fresh with lovely bright tangy apple and citrus fruit with some apricotty richness. Lovely purity and length. This wine has evolved much less than you might expect and still seems like a baby, with a long life ahead of it. 72 g/litre residual sugar, so it's sweet but not too sweet. 93/100 (£85 Waitrose)

They also showed the 2002 'Le Mont' Demi-Sec:

Domaine Huet 'Le Mont' Demi-Sec 2002 Vouray, France
Lovely intense appeal and herb nose with just a hint of savoury Chenin funk. Concentrated linear herb and apple palate with some lemony freshness. Richly textured and off-dry. Delicious, and still very youthful. 91/100 (£22 Waitrose)

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Two Vouvrays from Huet

Vouvray is wonderful stuff. It's an unusual white wine from the Loire, made from the Chenin Blanc grape, and it can be dry, fizzy, off-dry or sweet (with or without botrytis) - it just depends on the vintage, the vineyard, and the producer. Huet is one of the best producers, and certainly the most famous. A sleb Vouvray, I guess. Here are two very interesting examples.

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec 2000 Loire, France
Lovely tangy, herby nose with some appley fruit, as well as a bit of sweetness. The palate is just off-dry, with melon, apple and herb notes, finishing with nice mineral complexity. Quite full and lovely. 92/100 (rrp £16, Richards Walford are the UK agent)

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Sec 1995 Loire, France
Lovely complex nose is fresh and tangy with cheesy, herby fruit. The palate is bright and lean with high acidity. It’s really expressive. A lean, minerally style with a really fresh personality. 92/100 (rrp £17.49, Richards Walford are the UK agent)

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

In Paris, with French wines

I’m currently in Paris, doing some tasting with Sopexa looking at the Cabernet Franc project wines. It’s an exciting initiative that has been going for a couple of years, with a view to helping growers make red Loire wines that appeal to the UK market while still possessing a sense of place.

The tasters? Sam Harrop MW, who is providing technical/winemaking help with this project, Sam Caporn, Jim Budd and myself. Today we looked at around 160 wines between us, trying to identify those that could be used as ‘ambassadors’ of Cabernet Franc. There were some really attractive wines, typically showing focused bright dark fruit and just a bit of grippy tannin.

We finished tasting just after 4 pm, and there was time for some wandering. I walked down to Caves Auge on Boulevard Haussmann, which is a remarkable wine shop specializing in natural wines. It’s cluttered and old fashioned, but has a mouthwatering array of things that are hard to find in the UK. I controlled myself and just bought three bottles: Thierry Puzelat’s In Côt We Trust 2005 Touraine, Domaine Richaud Cairanne 2006 and Alain & Julien Guillot’s Mâcon Cruzille Clos des Vignes du Maynes 2006.

This evening we dined at a lovely restaurant, Maison de Campagne (rue Pierre Demours). Decor was a bit chintzy, but the food was fantastic, and best of all they had a lovely, well priced wine list, that reinforced the fact that France makes the world’s most interesting wines, in a diverse array of styles. Here are my notes (all these wines were well under 30 Euros):

Domaine Vincent Carênne Vouvray ‘Le Peu Morier’ 2005 Loire, France
A fantastic Vouvray that is just off-dry. Lovely mineralic nose with some fruit richness. The palate is richly textured with lovely herb and citrus fruit notes, and just a bit of Chenin funk. Finishes really mineralic. 92/100

Stéphane Tissot ‘Les Bruyères’ Chardonnay 2004 Arbois, Jura, France
The proprietor asked whether we knew this wine when we selected it – it was a warning that it isn’t the sort of thing to everyone’s taste. But I think it’s fantastic. Remarkable nose with smoky, minerally, flinty notes as well as the toastiness and richness you might expect from ripe Chardonnay. The palate is rich but bone dry, with more of those reductive notes and lovely minerality. Fantastic stuff. 93/100

Domaine Richaud Cairanne 2006 Côtes de Rhône Villages, France
A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan. Deep coloured, with a dark, spicy, meaty nose that is intense and quite savoury. The palate is dense with bold sweet fruit countered by spicy, earthy savouriness. A powerful, intense win of real appeal. 92/100

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vouvray bargain

Grand Cru wines is selling off the last of Poniatowski's Vouvray stocks at knock-down prices. I have no commercial connection with them, but I thought this was worth mentioning as a service to readers:

"1990 Clos Baudoin, Vouvray Moelleux
Only two months remain before Philippe Poniatowski has to clear his cellar in Vouvray, and hand over the Domaine to the new buyer. As large stocks are still in his cellars, he has given us even lower prices on some of the wines, and we have now purchased the remaining stocks of the outstanding 1990 Clos Baudoin.

The price is now ludicrously cheap for a wine of this quality. The 1990 was undoubtedly one of the greatest twentieth century vintages, and will last virtually forever. The 1990 Clos Baudoin has 79 grams per litre of residual sugar.

£159.00 for 1 case of 12 bottles, inclusive of duty, V.A.T. @ 17.5%, and delivery within UK mainland. [There are volume discounts] Offer valid until 31st December 2007.

Orders may be placed by email, fax (0871 733 7047), or by phone/answerphone (0871 474 0635). Enquiries to Grand Cru Wines Ltd.

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