Friday, February 05, 2010

Wine tasting

Something I've been meaning to do for a while.

At the ex place of work, one of the many benefits (great resources, fantastic colleagues who became good friends, intelligent conversation, DIVINE baking, engaged and engaging students) included near monthly wine tastings. Always fun, educational, and surprising.

Conducted with knowledge, aplomb, intelligence and dedication, by the much lauded Baron of Bordeaux (to who, for the past two years, we owe considerable thanks), for a measly 25 euro a head, we found ourselves expertly guided through wines unexpected, delicious, hilarious, and divine. Typically a table of ten, sampling 8 themed wines, carefully selected.

This weeks lineup were, in order of appearance, all from the South of France (though I'll only post a couple of tasting notes).

Domaine de La Mirande, Picpoul de Pinet, Aoc Coteaux du Languedoc, 2008(100% Picpoul)
Chateau Montus, AOC Pacherenc du Vic Bilh, 2000
Domaine de Triennes, "Sainte Fleur", Viognier, 2007, Vin de Pays Du Var

Gres St Paul, "Antonin", AOC Coteaux du Languedoc, 2006
Chateau d'Estoublon, "Cuvee Mogador", AOC Les Baux de Provence, 2005 (35% Syrah, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre)
Chateau du Cedre, "Le Cedre", AOC Cahors, 2005
Chateau Montus, "La Tyre", AOC Madiran, 2000 (100% Tannat)

Uroulat, AOC Jurancon, Moelleux (sweet), 2008 (100% Petit Manseng)

Links provided above in the following format

Vineyard/+Wine+designation(where appropriate)+AOC+Grape varieties

The first wine up, priced at €11.95,. 100% Picpoul Grape, from near the oysterbeds. Perfect to accompany oysters, or mussels, fruit, or light seafood. An absolute revelation at that price. A crisp, clean nose, with stone fruit, and citrus peel. On the palate, a first burst of lemon(typical of this grape) and lime, become beautifully minerally, zesty throughout, with a spicy finish. Good acidity(also typical). The absolute bargain basement recession buster. A stunning amount of taste at that price.

And we got the only one. Fallon and Byrne do have another from the Picpoul de Pinet terroir for €10.95.

The Chateau d'Estoublon, from a producer more widely known for their olive oil (quite delicious too) this wine proved an interesting counterpoint to the next wine in line. Superb, and perfect to drink right now. On the nose, ripe red and black fruit, green bell peppers (apparently a cab sav signature), some dark chocolate, a hint of mint, and a little pastis, really really inviting.

On the palate, an initial, delicious burst of red and black fruits, mainly red, with a lively acidity and well balanced tannins, building, with some dark chocolate on the end. Complex, and tastes at or near it's peak. Not as complex as some of the bigger, more tannic, ageing wines, in whose company it lost a little shine, but judged o it's own merits, a superb wine to drink right now.

Balanced, complex, inviting on the nose and follows through. €54.95.

Syrah - typical chocolate and black berrys, with a little coffee, and liquorice
Cab Sav - Bell pepper, vegetal, black fruits, tannic structure
Grenache - again, red and black fruits, tends not to age well, lacks tannin, rounds out Syrah
Mourvedre - typically blended with Syrah and Grenache, long lasting, provides body

Chateau Montus, La Tyre.

Terrible label. Looks like s Shell forecourt two for a tenner special. "Two eh dem de Tyres love".

Dark, deep, almost youthful colour - for a ten year old wine. No real fade at the rim. We had this wine decanted, a necessity, to open it up enough to enjoy. This was a little bit special.

On the nose, fruity, a little citrus peel, savoury, a little, it seemed, bready.

Big tannic structure - it will spend the next ten years developing, apparently, and be good for 15. Well balanced, with enough fruit and acidity to bode well for laying down. Structured, complex, full and long. Plum, spice, red fruit.....a great fuitiness, like crunching into fresh fruit...I got lost after a while, and neglected my notes. Superb. €89.


Sweet white wine (Moelleux=sweet/semi-sweet), from another small producer. Late harvest, and small yield, so I expected a concentrated sweetness, and hoped for acidity to balance it.

On the nose, lemony, zesty, with warm honey (some said honeysuckle....) - though not cloyingly so, with peaches, and, maybe, a touch of spice - cinammon?

On the palate, the sweetness, was present, and balanced beautifully with the acidity, giving a clean hit. Lemony, with slight honey, acid, sweetness. At €26, a good value buy for the quality. I could see it with a creme brulee and perfect silence.