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Domaine Direct tasting: 25 fine wines
16 November 2000

Domaine Direct is a mail-order operation specializing in domaine-bottled Burgundies; they also have a smaller selection of wines from elsewhere in France and the new world. As far as customer tastings goes, this was excellent: plenty of space, not too many people, lots of spitoons, and we were allowed to pour our own samples. Although there were a few disappointing wines, and a few that seemed rather overpriced for the quality on offer, overall this was a nice selection. My favourites were the 1998 Volnay Les Brouillards from Roblet-Monnot, the juicy Chiroubles 1999 from Bernard Mélinand, the exotic Lost Lake Shiraz 1999 and the dense 1998 Havens Syrah.

Lost Lake Sauvignon Blanc 2000, Pemberton, Western Australia
Lovely fresh, bright nose is followed up by a crisp, fresh palate. Modern styled. Good/very good. (£7.64 Domaine Direct)

Château des Tourtes Cuvée Prestige 1999, Bordeaux
A very attractive white Bordeaux. Rich, toasty, creamy, biscuitty nose. On the palate it is fresh and bright with a nice nutty character from the oak and good balance. Very good+ (£8.17 Domaine Direct)

Leeuwin Estate Prelude Chardonnay 1999, Margaret River
Western Australia -- and in particular -- seems to really suit Chardonnay, and Leeuwin Estate makes one of Australia's most celebrated. This, their second label, is a nice lean-style Chardonnay with some class. Lovely rich, toasty nose with sophisticated oaking combined with fresh, savoury fruit. Nice balance with racy acidity. Very good+ (£11.52 Domaine Direct)

Bourgogne Aligoté 1999 Domaine Goisot (£6.76 Domaine Direct)
Light nose with a bit of fresh, lemony fruit. Pleasant and nicely balanced but a bit neutral. Good+

Petit Chablis 1998, Jean-Paul Droin
Light nose with a touch of lemony fruit and smoky, mineral hints. The palate displays tart, lemony fruit with a touch of honey. A disappointment. OK/Good (£9.34 Domaine Direct)

Chablis 1998, Laurent Tribut
Classic Chablis nose with minerals, citrussy fruit and a touch of smokiness. Nice and minerally on the palate with high acidity. A subtle wine in a lean, classic style. Very good (£9.99 Domaine Direct)

Chablis 1er cru Fourchaume 1998, Jean-Paul Droin
A rich nose showing honey, apples and spice is followed by a taut palate with plenty of minerally complexity and a touch of oak. Will be more impressive in a few years time, but still very good +. (£14.69 Domaine Direct)

Montagny 1er cru 1999, Jean-Marc Boillot
A lovely nose: subtle but enticing aromas of smoke and minerals. The fresh palate displays racy acidity and some oak. Very good. (£11.16 Domaine Direct)

Rully 1er cru Les Cloux 1999, Jean Marc Boillot
Full, appealing nose showing toasty oak. Ripe and attractive on the palate: the savoury fruit and bracing acidity are nicely balanced. Very good (£11.63 Domaine Direct)

Bourgogne Blanc 1998, Guy Roulot
Tight and lean with lemony fruit and firm acidity. Pleasant but somewhat overpriced. Good+ (£9.50 Domaine Direct)

Saint-Aubin 1er cru Charmois 1999, Bernard Morey
Appealing, ripe, toasty/nutty nose. Fresh, clean fruit on the palate with a touch of complexity from the oak and good balance. Very good (£14.10 Domaine Direct)

Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Baudines 1998, Bernard Morey
Rich, lively nose with toasty, minerally and bready notes. Classic palate with rich flavours and sophisticated oaking. Currently quite tight, this may open out nicely with time. Very good+ (£26.44 Domaine Direct)

Chiroubles 1999, Bernard Mélinand
Lovely cherry colour with a pink rim. Full nose of raspberries and cherries: quite striking. On the palate there is lovely primary fruit, with a whole spectrum of summer fruits. Lovely stuff and great fun: this is a unique style of wine. Very good+ (£8.17 Domaine Direct)

Bourgogne Pinot Noir Côtes d'Auxerre 1998, Domaine Goisot
Bright cherry colour. Lifted, ripe nose of pungent cherry fruit. Broad soft palate with more cherry fruit and a leafy edge; very enjoyable. Very good (£8.17 Domaine Direct)

Mercurey La Charmée 1998, Luc Brintet
A cherry colour, this is a simple wine: fruity and a bit tart. Overpriced. OK/good (£9.99 Domaine Direct)

Marsannay Clos du Roi 1997, Domaine Bouvier
Deep cherry red with a bold nose of red berry fruits. Fresh and fruity on the palate with firm acidity and a touch of complexity. Good (£14.04 Domaine Direct)

Chorey-lès-Beaune 1998, Tollot-Beaut
Lively red/purple colour with a bright fruity nose. Fruity palate with cherries dominating. Good but a bit simple; let's hope it develops. (£12.34 Domaine Direct)

Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er cru Dominode 1998, Jean-Marc Pavelot
Light cherry red colour. Rounded nose: fruity but with a bit of spice and smoke. Quite rounded and complex on the palate, but still not compelling -- there's too much emphasis on primary fruit. (£17.63 Domaine Direct)

Volnay 1er cru Les Brouillards 1998, Roblet-Monnot
Purple/black colour. Complex, rounded nose with cherry fruit, smoke and some spice. Firm palate with some complexity and enough tannic structure to suggest that it could age quite well. Very good/excellent (£17.50 Domaine Direct)

Beaune 1er cru Les Vignes Franches 1998, Domaine Germain
Red/purple colour. Sweet cherry and herb nose. Nice balance on palate with firm acidity: there's a slight medicinal edge and a bit of tannin. Very good (£21.50 Domaine Direct)

Etude Carneros Pinot Noir 1998, Napa Valley, California
Bright cherry red colour. Attractive nose showing leafy raspberry and cherry fruit: bold and full with a nice herbal pungency. Attractive stuff with a nicely balanced palate. There's lots of primary fruit, but some good medicinal complexity and firm acidity. Very good+ (£26.44 Domaine Direct)

Lost Lake Shiraz 1999, Pemberton, Western Australia
Deep red/balk colour. Very interesting nose of mint and herbs (thyme and rosemary). Powerful, odd-but-fascinating herbal palate: tastes like a provencal hillside. Firm tannins. Lovely stuff. Very good/excellent (£10.52 Domaine Direct)

Havens Syrah 1998, California
Lovely, full pungent nose with smoke, bacon fat and some animal aromas. On the palate it is ripe with some sweet fruit and gentle, tannic structure. Appealing new world Syrah but a touch expensive. Very good+ (£17.63 Domaine Direct)

Château Pelan 1997, Côtes de Francs
Lovely cedar and mineral-laced nose with a leafy edge. Soft, leafy palate with a chalky mineralic tannic streak. A bit rustic but nice. Very good (£12.93 Domaine Direct)

Château La Haye 1997, cru Bourgeois St-Estèphe
Balanced, tasty claret, but perhaps a little bit too light to be memorable. OK/good. (£12.93 Domaine Direct)

Contact details:
Domaine Direct
10 Hardwick Street
London EC1R 4RB
Phone: 020 7837 1142
Web: www.domainedirect.co.uk
E-mail: mail@domainedirect.co.uk

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