We are sinking under the weight of uninformed but well-meaning opinions. ‘I think it’s a leg?’ you hear as you walk around the Tate Modern. One star reviews from disgruntled punters who took a dislike to their waiter. The last thing I want to do is add to the noise, but more for my benefit than anyone else’s, here are a few more opinions on some wines drunk over the last few months.
2012 ‘Le Mont’ Chardonnay Alexandre Jouveaux
Anne-Claude Leflaive was a big fan of Jouveaux wines. She brought them every year on allocation. I can see why, they’re sort of like an abstract impressionist version of Chardonnay. The acidity and extract are turned up so high, they’re powerful but potentially deeply upsetting wines. Assuming you can ever be upset by a wine.
1995 Bougueil Cuvee Chevalerie
Hunting for decent parcels of aged Loire Cab Franc can feel like a fool’s errand. There’s just not much about, the majority having been drunk by merry Parisians ten years earlier. Also, considering the average size of most producers output, it’s a rare find to get something chunky that delivers the sort of austere thrills that one looks for (and isn’t grotesquely over-priced)
2011 Clos des Lambrays
Could it be that I’m subliminally associating this child with it’s powerful new step-father, LVMH? Undeniably impressive in that sort of Latour-esque way, but I guess a bit young to evaluate much further. Certainly, very nicely put together.
2000 Nuits-St-George 1er Vaucrains Chicotot
For a study in NSG terroir, spend a day in the Chicotot cellar. From Vaucrains, to Cailles, to Pruliers to their barrels of villages crus waiting to be assembled, this is a great, honest domaine. This was a bit on the earthy side to me, but very pleasant on Christmas day, although not massively helpful to my memory recall over Trivial Pursuit.
2011 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Perrieres Jacques Carillon
You know what you’re going to get with Carillon. Taut and classic. One of the most consistent producers of great Burgundy in my opinion and one who’s pricing remains very competitive.
1988 Cote-Rotie Jamet
Late 1980s Jamets are legendary. In many tastings they rank equal and sometimes even better then the elusive Marius Gentaz. This was outstanding. Ullage nearly up to the cork, straight out of the bottle, it was pure wonder. I won’t use the word class because there’s something a bit of the earth about great traditional Syrah. It’s a wine with edges and not seeking perfection, and in doing so often achieves it.
2014 Mont Damnes Francoise Cotat
2013 Sancerre Culs de Beaujeau Francoise Cotat
An interesting comparison over two different nights, the Mont-Damnes really showed how orientation and age of vineyard is so important in Sancerre.
2013 Saumur-Champigny ‘Haye Dampierre’ Antoine Sanzay
Antoine Sanzay is a hotly tipped winemaker who is good mates with the Foucault family. As well as looking after a portion of Poyeaux, he makes this wine which I think is much better drinking at the moment. A nice, really juicy mid-palette, nicely mingles with some firmer structure.
1999 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieux Telegraphe
A really like the 1999 vintage in CNDP, and this VT, was on great form, really mellow and drinking great now.
2000 Hermitage Rouge Chave
Is Chave changing, has the oldest and most revered source of traditional Hermitage, chucked it all in to make more modern styles? I don’t know to be honest, certainly alcohol is going up, he says as the vines are getting older and it seems more extracted. This was great, but still so many years to go. Hook me up with a bottle of this in 10 years and I might be able to tell you more.
2012 Cote-Rotie Pierre Benetiere
Pierre Benetiere is an elusive man. When UK importers came knocking last year, he was not there. His small garage was boarded up. No-one knows what he’s doing. Is he still making wine? Where he is is important because he is considered by many (including Keith Levenburg) as being one of the most important heirs to the spirit of Gentaz and Joseph Jamet. His wines combine the femininity of say Jasmin, with the backbone of a producer like Rostaing. This 2012 hit it out of the park with sublime softness and understated authority.
1985 Barbaresco Produttori di Barbaresco
A little past its best, but came together nicely with some boar ragu. Just slightly losing it’s definition and entering that point where many old wines just taste quite similar.
2006 Vosne-Romanee 1er Beaux Monts Nicolas Potel
A great vineyard and a nice wine, but nothing to dispel my opinion that Potel is capable of making good, but not great wines. Even his 2006 Chambertin was nothing that special.
2011 Puligny-Montrachet Enceigniers JF Coche-Dury
Is Coche-Dury overpriced? Probably, but he still offers a unique sort of style. Even now, I can get a whiff of something burning, or a smell in the air, and it seems ‘Cocheian’. I asked a neighbour of his in the Enceigniers vineyard, what were Rafael and his father doing differently from anyone else? He couldn’t answer but just mentioned they faced the same problems everyone else did. When his vines were poor, so were theirs. Maybe they pour a secret ingredient into the barrels.