Two lovely, affordable French reds from the Sampler

Two lovely southern French red wines from The Sampler. They’re some of the exclusive imports that they bring in.

First, Domaine Rimbert Cousin Oscar 2011 Vin de France. 11.5% alcohol, from St Chinian, and made from Cinsault. This is a remarkable wine, mainly for the fact that it’s so honestly just what it is – lively, [...]

Two brilliant 2010 Chateauneuf du Papes from Caillou

I really enjoyed these two brilliant examples of Chateaneuf du Pape from Le Clos du Caillou, a domaine with just 9 hectares in the appellation, as well as 44 hectares in Cotes du Rhone. They’re from the 2010 vintage, so I am assuming they are cask samples, although the bottles I received seemed to be [...]

Christmas bottles

OK, a round-up of some of the memorable wines we’ve had this holiday. Pictured above: the Man O’War Chardonnay 2009, with its characteristic matchstick reduction adding some Burgundian-style complexity. This is a superb wine with real interest. And I’m pleased to say I spotted it when served blind!

Totally different, and thoroughly enjoyable. La Morandina Moscato [...]

Northern Rhone series 16, Domaine Clape Cornas Renaissance

Hmmm, I’m enjoying this Northern Rhone series. A chance to drink some wonderful wines. Here’s the latest: it’s a Cornas from Clape, but it isn’t at all rustic. Some people still characterize Cornas as producing rather stern, rustic wines, but I don’t think this is the case any more. It’s a serious appellation.

The Clape family [...]

Northern Rhone series 5, Jamet Cote Rotie 1999

This wine is a favourite of mine, and I’ve drunk it on perhaps a dozen occasions. Well stored bottles, like this one, are really singing now, but there’s no hurry to drink it up. We enjoyed it last night at a family gathering at my brother-in-law’s place. He had the wisdom to buy two cases [...]

Northern Rhone series 3, 1967 Hermitage

So after two white Hermitage wines, we’re heading to Syrah, but sticking with the Hermitage hill. This wine is very interesting. It was a gift from Richard Kelley MW, who’d bought a few bottles at auction, and knew it was my birth year.

Now 1967 is not a great birth year for wines. I don’t have [...]

Video: on the Hermitage hill

Here’s a short film of the wonderful hill of Hermitage: a relatively small appellation of 123 hectares, of which 25 are white grapes (mainly Marsanne), the remainder Syrah. It’s amazing t0 think that grapes have been grown on this hillside since 400 BC.

Two Chateauneufs: Beaucastel 99 and Vieux Telegraphe 95

Nice to be able to compare these two side by side. The Beaucastel had the slight edge, although it’s not a competition of course. The VT 1995 is a wine that I’ve drunk on several occasions over recent years, and it’s probably worth drinking it up soon-ish. However, taste in old wine is quite a [...]

Fun on the wedding day

We had a great time yesterday at my sister’s place, where a sizeable contingent of family gathered to celebrate the royal wedding. I was initially not intending to watch the spectacle, but it turned out to be quite gripping – a day of real emotion.

We celebrated with Champagne – beginning with a magnum of Drappier [...]

A busy day's tasting: IGP and Cote Rotie

So, today has been a busy day of tasting. It began with the IGP Top 100 tasting in Parson’s Green. Now IGP is what used to be Vin de Pays, and the goal of this tasting is to sift through 700 IGP wines and come up with a list of the 100 best.

Doug [...]