Wednesday, 24 June 2009

too much on....

Just been one of those weeks when you don't get to stop....a massive amount on as we are at the end of En Primeur but still have lots of great offers to get out before the summer kicks in - Conterno, Benjamin Romeo, Petrus, drinking offers etc.

One event of note this week was a brilliant tasting we did on Monday night at Queens Club - our first Italian Masterclass day with loads of producers there - I will try to get some photos up asap!!

Awful punting at the moment - Lions rugby was a disappointment and royal ascot a punting disaster....might need a break from betting for a while!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Olivier Leriche - Dom de L' Ascot Day 1

Olivier Leriche has been with Arlot since 1998 and has gradually taken over all the winemaking. The estate has run on a fully Biodynamic basis since 2000. The style is atypical for Nuits-Saint-Georges in that it is all about femininity and elegance, there is no quest for dark colours or big structure and this comes out so well in 2007. Harvest of 2007 started on 31st August (a full four weeks before the 2008!!), the characteristics are light colours (very thin skins), good minerality, acidity and freshness. The wines below are all the finished product with the reds bottled between the end of January and early March and the whites having been bottled in December. Olivier spoke very well but was keen to let the wines do the real talking...they didn't disappoint.

Nuits-Saint-Georges La Gerbotte Blanc
The young (14-15yr old) vines of Clos de Arlot Blanc, 1yr in oak (10% new the rest 3/4/5yrs old). Lovely nose, palate is delicious, very mineral with a beautiful texture. For a “young vines” wine, it is very impressive. 16-17, drink now to 2014.

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos de l'Arlot Blanc
25-50yr old vines. Gorgeous hint of honey, nougat and a few nuts on the nose with a little hint of smoke, actually far more elegant that that sounds. Zest and minerality on the palate – delicious. 17+, 2011 onwards.

Cotes de Nuits Village Clos du Chapeau
Very pale, beautifully classical Pinot nose, fresh, elegant, and aromatic. 15% new wood the rest 3-4yrs old. Good acidity and no lack of ripe but light structure on the palate. 16+, drink 2010 onwards

Nuits-Saint-Georges Le Petit Arlot
The young (8-9yr old) vines of Clos de Arlot, (20% new wood the rest 3-5yrs old). Lovely light colour again, real depth of fruit. Similar character to Clos de Chapeau but richer and a little more dense with more grip. 16++, 2011-2016.

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Petits Arlot
The young vines (18-20yr old) of Clos de Forets St Georges. A little darker/fuller in colour, less obvious fruit and a little more masculine/earthy. More oak and a little more structure 16-17, 2012-2018.

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos de l'Arlot
60yr old vines - 16months in wood (30-35% new). Darker again, almost shows age. Brooding, rich and slightly high, more structured, great length. The sleeper of the pack? 16-17, 2015-2020

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos de Forets St Georges
22-56yr old vines. Gorgeous nose, the richest, headiest and most delicious. The power of the fruit hit on the palate is a delight. Power and elegance. 18, 2012-2018

It was a really great tasting and brilliant to see such elegant wines that had no pretence about them…..they aren’t cheap but they are very good. The sort of wines I like!

For interest the release prices were in order above - £260, £450, £185, £230, £255, £395 & £395.

Ascot day 1 was a disaster - three poor performances from those I'd backed, not sure there will be any bets today.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Howard Ripley Germany 2008 tasting

Last Thursday I tasted 50+ german wines at Howard Ripley tasting, I have dealt with Sebastian Thomas there for years now and it was a pleasure to be able to make it - even if I had to cycle across town due to the tube strikes!

The tasting was with the odd exception (one 2007 Riesling and a few Blauburgunders - Pinot Noir under another name) all 2008 German Rieslings. This is a style of wine I love and drink regularly but...I'm sure in common with a lot of people I don't know the regions, producers or vineyards that well. I just know I like them....

I won't list all the wines and notes as it would be very monotonous, not to mention long. I will pick out my favorites and most noteworthy:

Pinot Noir/Blauburgunder:

2007 Malanser Blauburgunder Reserva, Peter Wegelin (Bunder Herrschaft, Switzerland) - 16+, beautifully fresh lightness of touch with red fruits, a little oak but in a classy way...balanced.

2007 Pinot Noir, Thomas Studach (Bunder Herrschaft, Switzerland) - 16-17, Very classy, halway between NZ and Burgundy in style.

Dry Rieslings, I didn't taste many as I knew it was all going to be quite an onslaught:
2008 Maximin Grunhauser Abstberg 'Superior', C. von Schubert (Ruwer) - 16-17, Slightly reductive (no bad thing), lovely fruit from this good producer.

Traditional Wines:
2008 Maximin Grunhauser Abstberg Kabinett, C .von Schubert (Ruwer) - 16++, from the sam vineyard as the above, alreday showing a Petrol character, rich and decadent.

2008 Brauneberger Juffer Kabinett, Fritz Haag (Mosel) - 16, Quite high residual sugar for a Kabinett, promises to be a delightful early drinker.

2008 Oberhauser Listenberg Kabinett, Hermann Donnhoff (Nahe) - 15-16+, Lovely texture and good richness.

2008 Robert Weil Kabinett, Robert Weil (Rheingau) - 16+, Classy, good balance.

2008 Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg Spatlese, Karthauserhof (Ruwer) - 16-17, Good fresh Riesling fruit, good palate, good freshness and length, impressive.

2008 Schlossbockelheimer Kupfergrube Spatlese, Herman Donnhoff (Nahe) - 16-17, Claass, lovely fruit character, good minerality.

2008 Kiedrich Grafenberg Spatlese, Robert Weil (Rheingau) - 16++, Rich, almost Auslese in taste profile, a bargain.

2008 Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Spatlese Auktion Goldkapsel, Schloss Lieser (Mosel) -17,  Only available at the Auction in Germany but interesting to taste, beautiful texture, great length.

2008 Lieser Niederberg Helden Auslese, Schloss Lieser (Mosel) - 16+, Slightly reductive, petrol showed a touch, good on the palate.

2008 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese, Selbach-Oster (Mosel) - 16++, Richness, good minerality...stones? Very nice.

2008 Erdener Pralat Auslese, Dr Loosen (Mosel) - 17+, Cloudy and in many ways unfinished, very impressive though, almost a spitz, great acidity and floral too.

2008 Graacher Domprost Auslese No11 Auktion, Willi Schafer (Mosel) - 17++, Great combination of freshness and acidity but with density too, really classy and long.

Into the realms of the very expensive and very rich!!

2008 Westhofener Morstein Auslese***, Keller (Rheinhessen)
Nuts!! a gramn first for me to taste nuts, noble rot and lemon - spectacular.

2008 Westhofener Kirchspiel Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) (Rheinhessen) - 17-18, Very late harvest in style, very true to TBA, some nuttiness very vicious...fascinating.

Two Eisweins - not really my thing to be honest!! Very sore teeth...the acidity really does it's thing!! 

Tomorrow we have Olivier Leriche of Domaine D'Arlot in Nuits-Saint-Georges coming into the office to present his wines should be great!!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Novel way round customs.....

Just heard that there are companies now set up to get wines into China from Hong Kong and get around the customs. By law a person is allowed to carry two bottles over the border from Hong Kong (Fine wine capital of Asia) into China (the market everyone wants to get into). The way shipping companies are getting round this is to drive the stock to the border with trucks full of "workers" take the wines out of the cases give two bottles to each person and the OWC (original wooden case) to someone then walk across the border and put the whole thing back together. Seems crazy but such is the "thirst" for fine wine that it appears to be worth the hassle......

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Some Rhone 2007's....and a bit of gossip

A lot of firms have done their Rhone 2007's and in many ways we have as we released the brilliant wines of Tardieu Laurent last year....BUT we have managed to get together an offer of a number of superb producers with an eye to great drinking more that anything else....just taster the following two wines

Syrah, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes 2007, Andre Perret - good black fruit, bacon fat character (strange in reds!), balanced palate, a meaty wine...perfect for BBQ's and red meats,,a top class glugger. now-2011 - £60 ib/cs

St.Joseph 2007, Andre Perret - Lovely nose of red/black fruits with the tell-tale white pepper, palate slick and well balanced with good length, drink now - 2015 - £110 ib/cs

The gossip? a birdie in Bordeaux tells me that the Mouton 2008 will have a label by a Chinese artist. If you don't know about Mouton Labels have a look at that. A different artist does the labe every year. Why is the 2008 being Chinese so important? Well 8 is a lucky number in Asia and the Chinese market has been responsible for the meteoric rise in prices of both Lafite and Carruades de Lafite as deamnd has been high. Will Mouton's price for the "Chinese label" edition go through the roof?

Monday, 8 June 2009

Experimenting with Port

Friday evening – Blandy’s Sercial 5yr old...liquid magic for the price, why or why do people not drink more Madeirsa. Langhe Nebbiolo 2006 from Saffirio with Spag Bol (good batch out of the freezer…always better second time around!), lovely nose, full colour, palate good and broad but short with a bit of a hole - will look again tomorrow - this weeks experiment is Smith Woodhouse 2003 - just decanted of sediment...will post observations/tasting notes over weekend…well for as long as the bottle lasts.

Friday 8.30 pm - Colour – rich to the rim typical of young Port..nose closed but broodingly nice, palate? delicious but not overly complex, I like this game!

1pm - Last night's Langhe Nebbiolo ’06, Saffirio showing better, delicious tonight, will buy some and leave 18 months...Smith Woodhouse opening up nicely…can’t remember when I last had vintage port on Saturday lunchtime.

Backed Crowded house each way in the Derby.......a decent 5th but no chance with the winner. Sea the Stars looks exactly that, a star in the making. Lions were disappointing but then I think the side they put out as forced on them by having to give everyone a game…not necessarily the side they would have wanted to select.

7pm SW 2003 update - more jammy today, red fruits to the fore, structure shows's a good port must leave some for tomorrow, friends coming round for Venison.

Cotes du Rhone Villages 2003 Dom d'Andezon - lovely and not too 2003’ish, fully mature and best drunk up now but a good wine, haunch of venison and roast tatties and all the trimmings, very good even if I say so myself. The SW 2003 is all but gone and tasting better and better - will do a bottle of young Vintage Port over the weekend again, great way to drink a great drink!!

8pm…all gone

Gould Campbell 2000 ordered up for the next weekend Port trial!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

a long (non drinking) week

So the Lions have got themselves going a bit in South Africa with a good win! I bought tries in the first game and lost a bit as a result. They played much better but the oppo seemed to almost give in once they went behind so I don't know how productive it was.

I decided to take a few days break from the booze (think it'll end tonight.....been one of those days), just one of those things it's good to do every few weeks.

Had a truely amazing and unique wine moment today....Constantinos Colheita 1910....I am pleased with myself in as much as I spotted it as a Colheita (vintage Tawny) but I was a mile out on age have said '87. I meant 1987 but tried to pretend 1887! The colour had held up well (browned but thick to the edge), the nose was delicious and very complex, one of those Ports that alternatley pretends to be Madeira (Verdehlo?) and Sherry (PX). The palate was delighfully rich and showed the alocohol but not in a bad way. The finish went on for minutes....

The Oaks tomorrow at Epsom, I fancy Midday to win but there is no value in the 7/2 price so I won't be having a bet.