jamie goode's wine blog

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Soave

Three Soave wines tonight. I'm intrigued by Soave. On one level it can be pale and neutral and a bit boring. But made by growers who care, it has real personality. The three wines tried tonight have personality, for sure, but express varying facets of 'Soave'. They aren't terribly easy whites, because with this depth of flavour there are some aspects of their taste that are a bit challenging - in particular a slightly bitter, tangy, pithy character that wouldn't be a problem when they are drunk with food, but might be an obstacle to casual sipping. The easiest of the three to appreciate is probably the Tamellini, which tastes a little sweet.

Monte Tondo Casette Foscarin 2004 Soave Classico
Yellow/gold colour. Complex nose of lemon, mandarin and herbs leads to a palate that is mouthfilling, dense and rich, with citrus fruit, honey and a bit of nutty depth. There are some pithy, bitter notes on the finish. It's a complex, food-friendly white that's peaking now. 91/100 (12.30 Great Western Wine)

Guerrieri Rizzardi Costeggiola 2007 Soave Classico
A single vineyard blend of Garganega and Chardonnay. Quite deep yellow colour. Fresh and herby with citrussy notes and a slightly pithy bitterness. A full flavoured wine with a tangy finish. Distinctive. 89/100 (8.99 Longford, Davy's, Fortnum & Mason, Harrods)

Tamellini 2006 Soave
Full yellow colour. Rich and a bit nutty with a sweet, mealy, toasty richness and some melon fruit, as well as some finer honeysuckle notes. Sophisticated and broad with a distinctive sweetness. 89/100 (9.99 Cadman Fine Wines)

Labels: ,

Monday, March 10, 2008

Recioto di Soave

Tonight I'm sipping the Recioto di Soave from Tamellini that I mentioned at the weekend. It's a serious effort, with a wonderful tangerine-like character, combining peachy, apricotty richness with a fresh citrus kick. It's complex and alive, with brilliant balance between the concentrated sweetness and fruity freshness. There's a unique personality to this wine: I don't think I've ever tried anything quite like it. It has a rich, almost viscous texture, but it avoids being at all cloying. With sweet wines, sweetness and acidity act in opposition (or is that apposition?), with one cancelling the other out in a see-saw like manner, but with both contributing to the intensity of the wine. This wine has a lot of acidity and a lot of sweetness, and the finish goes on for ages. It's 18.50 for 50 cl from Les Caves de Pyrene, and a bargain at this price, I reckon.

Labels: , ,

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).

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Three pre-Christmas wines I like

We're gearing up for Christmas in the Goode household. It's approached fast - indeed, this year has just zoomed by. And it feels a bit of an odd sort of Christmas, this year. Not in a bad way; just different. It could be that I'm facing a really important year in 2008, and this is playing on my mind. It could be that our family, which has seen its share of dysfunction (our boys are adopted, and had a very poor start to their lives, which has unfortunately set their emotional 'templates' a little askew), is actually beginning to work reasonably well. Whatever the reason, I'm looking forward more to the festive season this year than I have for some time.

On Friday afternoon we went to see a Christmas film at the wonderful IMAX cinema near Waterloo station. It was Polar Express in 3D, and if you have kids, I recommend it. The screen is fabulously large, and the sound system state of the art.

Then on Saturday it was time for a family winter picnic on Box Hill. We took RTL, of course, and half way round the walk set out our picnic rug, sat down, and had soup, bread, cheese and pate. The few passers by must have thought we were crazy, because it was mightly cold. But it was beautiful: there was a bit of mist in the air, along with some milky sunshine. Later in the afternoon I took elder son to the golf range, where there was a beautiful winter sunset. And I was really hitting the ball well.

Today we had friends round for what turned out to be a delightful Sunday lunch. We had some friends round last Sunday as well. It's good to be sociable, and friends are so much more rewarding than things, aren't they?

So, to some wines.

Cantina di Monteforte Soave Superiore Classico 2005 Italy
Made from 100% Garganega grapes by Kiwi Matt Thomson (he featured on this blog recently for a seminar he did on Brettanomyces). This is a really interesting wine, and it's relatively rare to be able to find an interesting wine for 7 these days. It's a richly flavoured white wine with a lovely minerally, herbal character, as well as richer melon/tropical fruits. There's depth, presence and richness here, but it's all in savoury balance. Fairly serious. 89/100 (6.99 Waitrose)

Gemtree Vineyards Bloodstone Shiraz 2006 McLaren Vale, Australia
This screwcapped-sealed red is initially a bit dumb and simple on opening, but with several hours of air it begins to come to life. It's a rich Aussie Shiraz, but there's a bit more to it than just sweet fruit and oak. The nose shows attractive pepper spice, a hint of vanilla and bright, fresh raspberry and dark cherry fruit. The palate is fresh with nice tannic structure and vivid sweet red and black fruits. It's certainly a big wine that's sweetly fruited, but it doesn't descend into a sweet fruit mush - there's enough spicy, peppery freshness to act as a counter. The result is very appealing, but do give it time. 90/100 (9.99 Oddbins)

Domaine Leon Barral Faugeres 'Jadis' 2002 Languedoc, France
Now for something a little different. This is a deliciously complex, funky Languedoc red that tastes a bit like a French version of Chateau Musar, the gloriously funky Lebanese red. If you approached this wine with a 'new world' mindset, you'd probably spit it out. But I think it's fantastic, because it really works, and it's tremendously food friendly. It has a warm, aromatic, spicy, meaty, earthy nose that's incredibly rich and inviting. The palate is rich and ripe, with meaty, earthy, savoury notes as well as sweet fruit. There's a slightly dry, subtly metallic finish, which is perhaps the only downside. I'd heartily recommend this wine, but be warned: it's on the funky side, and if you don't like your wines with a bit of funk, steer clear. 91/100 (12.50 Les Caves de Pyrene)

Labels: , , , , , , ,