Monday, 30 April 2012

An insanely good lunch...

Last week I found myself in the lucky position of joining seven other wine lovers at The Square for a great lunch hosted my "Newcastle". There were several of the "usual clan" there and few others I had not met but certainly knew of, in a good way that is!!

To kick things off with the canapés it was a magnum of Cristal 1989, this was richly intense and had some really biscuity aromas, not yet nutty and with a good length, no obvious signs of age, a fresh and long finish. 1989 is a strange vintage for Champagne...this was very good and yet there is no 1989 Salon and there was no Dom Perignon, anybody know why?

Once "Halifax" had finally arrived by what must have been stagecoach it was time for three different wines from the very same German vineyard - Wehlener Sonnenuhr - now this is the sort of thing I love. All three were served with a salad of spring vegetables with truffle cream and berkswell. First up was 2002 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, JJ Prüm, fresh not over light, perfect aperitif, a level of ripeness I love, perfect now or in 10-15 years. At the other end of the scale was the next wine 1985 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese GK (Long Goldkap too!!), JJ Prüm. This was staggeringly good, marmalade richness but with real vivacity and life, unctuous and heavenly. The third wine was served blind, it turned out to be 1983 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese, Dr Loosen. I was happy to get Mosel and happy to get Spatlese but less impressed to say 2004!! The colour (how many times do I say to myself "ignore colour"!!) was so pale and the nose a little muted. An amazing wine, though not as expressive as the Prums.

Next up was a magnum of white Burgundy served blind with a seriously delicious Lasagne of Dorset Crab with a cappuccino of shellfish and Champagne foam. We all had a go at guessing what it was, knowing who it had been brought by helped. We were fairly happy that it was 80's or 90's but what? It turned out to be 1984 (awful vintage) Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir, Louis Michel. Once revealed you could see the un-oaked, oyster shell minerality. It just shows that wines in magnum and well stored can confound anyone...I really enjoyed it.

Ready for battle
We were now into red Burgundy country and there were four of them to go with sauté of Somerset snails with creamed potato, roasting juices and morels. The first two were "direct competitors" - Romanée Saint Vivant 2001, DRC & Romanée Saint Vivant 2001, Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron. The former on reflection and by agreement did shine the brighter but the Conforun was impressive, very expressive on the nose with delicate red fruit as well as darker weighty character it was only on the finish that it had a dash of slightly unpolished tannin, just a little hard, would be fascinating to try again in three or more years. The DRC RSV was just a little more intense and fruited and had a seamless structure. The other two wines were Echézeaux 1988, DRC & La Tâche 1969, DRC. The Echezeaux was at a lovely stage, real complexity, still good fruit but definitely at the middle stage of development, gamey notes were there and it was just pure pleasure. The La Tache had been bought from a hotel cellar for a small (relatively) amount of money so nobody quite knew what to expect. The colour was "browned off" but the wine was very bright and clear. There was a certain amount of decay about the nose but it wasn't until someone said beetroot that you realised this was exactly the aroma. It was perfectly drinkable, I enjoyed it, but it as not what it might have been, fascinating though.
The next course was Nebbiolo, three wines - Barolo Cascina Francia 1990 & Monfortino Riserva 1997 both from Giacomo Conterno & Barolo Riserva 1958 Borgogno
with a cracking breast of Pigeon & Risotto of Morels. Now, if you have ever read this blog you will know this is right up my street. The 1990 I have had once before and is stunning, so drinkable just what 1990 Barolo is about, savoury but no too much so. The Monfortino 1997 I have only had from magnum before. This was open and really lovely, it is quite high-toned and has classical Barolo notes but is a bit more forward an expressive than you would expect of a Monfortino at "only" 15 years of age, a treat. The Borgogno 1958 I found fascinating, I have a had a few old Baroli now and often this character is a Frazzle (the bacon fries/crisps) like aroma and with a milky acidity, I love it but it is not for everyone, the colour was a milky brick colour, it was very much alive, not sour at all, a great trio and awesome Risotto.

With roast rib of White Park beef we had the Bordeaux, they were Château Latour 1959, Château Palmer 1998, Château Batailley 1961 & Château Haut Brion 1975. It was a cracking foursome as they all had something individual going for them. The Latour was just so Latour and so much the classical Pauillac, I have never had it before and it showed real grace, not faded one bit, a triumph. The Palmer was slightly the odd one out due to its youth but had a plummy freshness and a future ahead of it, hard to evaluate amongst such mature wines but impressive. Batailley was the surprise package with real character, good richness and not outclassed at all. The Haut Brion was a wine I had not had before and being my birth year was very exciting. The merlot in '75 was definitely the greater of the main grapes in Bordeaux and whilst people think of Haut Brion as being "left bank" it is known for it's high merlot content making this a gem. There was all the usual character you expect from Haut Brion, dark fruit and smokey richness.
We then had a pair of Yquem's, 1976 & 1988 (magnum) with Crème Caramel with candied fruit, warm blood orange brioche roulade. The two were wonderfully different. The 1976 had a richness and intensity that you don't often find in any Sauternes even Yquem. Slight rancio flavours and almost orange rind combination of richness but with a reserved sweetness, a wine of intensity and character. The 1988 was by contrast a floral and more delicate wine, all freshness and whilst it had the Yquem trademark it was very much a delicate Yquem. Really drinkable where the '76 had been a "sip and savour" this was "drink it and love it". It used to be a comparative bargain against the 1989 and 1990 but now seems to be priced where it should be...sadly. My experience of Yquem has grown massively over the last 18months or so and it is without doubt "the" Sauternes. I really hope that it remains (for back vintages at least) in a price range where wine lovers can, even if it is a massive treat, try the wine so they know what it is all about. The En primeur release prices of recent years have meant this may not be the case...a real shame.

And so we were on to the very last wine which came in the form of two halves of Beerenauslese Wehlener Sonnenuhr 1995, JJ Prum with cheese. It was great to get to taste yet another richness level and vintage from this great vineyard, Stupidly I don't seem to have written any notes but I was pleasantly surprised by the intensity of the richness. The colour was darker than the '85 Auslese GK above which I guess is logical. I manages to be intensely fruited and rich but still have a delicacy you associate with Riesling, really lovely...

And so lunch was done...I have had many of the best wines of my life in the last 12-18 months and specifically the last 4 weeks...a real privilege to drink these great bottles...

Saturday, 28 April 2012

A great array of de Vogue

In mid-April I was very excited to go to a Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue diner that we (Corney & Barrow, so watch out for professional bias) hosted at the Saddlers' Hall, London. It is not a venue I knew before but is a good setting for 100 or so people, a nice atmosphere and an intimate enough feel. To get things going we had Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2002, a Champagne I love but also a champagne that I personally feel will be all the more glorious in one or two years time and then for many years, anyway this was merely to whet the appetite.

After an introduction to the estate from Jean-Luc Pepin (Head of Sales & Marketing), who interestingly referred to the Domaine as "Vogue" not "de Vogue" as seems to be the UK way of doing things, we started the first wine. Bourgogne Blanc 2007, now much has been written about both the Domaine and this wine, but in brief it is de-classified Musigny Blanc Grand Cru as there is no appelation for white wines below the Grand Cru until you come to Bourgogne Blanc. If the same thing happened in red then Musigny would (and is, see next two wines) de-classified to Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru. So why is this done? Well, essentially the last Musigny Blanc Grand Cru was 1993 and from then on, due to the need to re-plant large plots of the vines, it has been Bourgogne Blanc, it will according to Jean-Luc go back to Musigny Blanc in the next 5-10 years when they are satisfied with the vine age and that the wine is 100% worthy of Grand Cru status. This 2007, served with Seared King Scallops, showed really well (better than the 2005 that I had recently and is at a more awkward stage) with good acidity but richness in a butterscotch, almost smokey "savoury sweetness", if picking a fruit it is quite tropical and may be there is apricot there. What I like is that it has such unique personality. It will age for years, was taut now but very easily appreciated now.

The next two wines Chambolle-Musigny Villages 2002 & Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru 2003, sound and appear like they ought to be similar but really couldn't be much more different. The Villages is from de-classified wines of all but the Musigny and includes Les Baudes & Les Fuees both of which are 1er Crus in their own right. The 1er Cru is exclusively young vines of the Musigny Grand Cru. But what makes these wines even more different that the different plots that they come from is the vintages. The 2002 is a very together wine with some development showing (several 2002's in my opinion are showing too much of this) a lovely blend of fruit but also the more savoury forest floor elements appearing. It is very lively but also due to it's balance just a wonderful drink now. The 1er Cru by contrast is richer, very primary in that it is densely fruited, it needs time, it is impressive more than charming at this stage, a little Rhonesque. It was 60% down in production in 2003 sure to the excessive weather patterns. So extreme that is was picked on August 23rd (very, very early). As a pair they were a great contrast, I would rather drink the 2002 but the 2003 is a wonder bottle to have in the cellar. Both wines worked well with the Brest of wood Pigeon on Puy Lentils.

Even given the quality of what has gone before you can argue we now took a step up in quality as the next pair was Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses 1996 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 1991 with Chateaubriand of English Rose Veal. I think that much as people can argue over which 1er Cru could/would/should be promoted to Grand Cru there is a strong argument for the one vineyard that is a 1er Cru but that consistently makes wines that are, and sell at the prices of Grand Cru, it is Amoureuses. This 1996 which had two hours of decanting was on sparkling form. 1996 is not an easy vintage to show as it is a masculine vintage with considerable structure and overwhelming acidity that has hidden much of the fruit, until now it would seem. Indeed it is the first time Jean-Luc had thought it ready to show at a dinner and that is at 16 years of age. There was a perfect balance between fruit, development and structure and this showed immediately. After an hour in glass I felt the wine showed the structure again, if I owned it I would still plan to leave it at least four more years. It is however a complete wine and one of superb class. The Bonnes Mares was the most discussed wine of the night on my table and many others. There was, and this at 21 years of age is not surprise, quite a bit of bottle variation. The vintage was a hard one for Vogue, there was hail on 22nd August and the production was 50% down. A team of 60 people was hired to come in with tweezers (no optical sorting tables then!!) to select grape by grape. The bottle I had, showed earthy richness with an aroma of struck match. I enjoyed it for a more masculine style than the other wines on the night.

Then it was time for the last pair - Musigny Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 1998 Musigny Blanc Grand Cru 1991 - both were served with Welsh Rarebit (and a good one too). It may seem strange to serve a red and white at the same time but this worked. The Musigny was, if such an award is necessary, the wine of the night for me. Musigny manages to be both deeply almost broodingly intense but also feminine at the same time. 1998 was not an easy year, with a large selection required in August and a need to remove any dried berries. This wine will go on for years but is a joy now as well. The Musginy Blanc is an amazing wine, it would have been wrong to have it alongside the 2007 as it has such weight and intensity. It is one of those wines with developed aromas that make you expect sweetness but deliver dryness. The nose has that gunflint edge, a wine at it's peak now. On the palate there is almost a toasted tobacco aroma, it has freshness of fruit but that fruit is very tropical and intense. It is like no other white Burgundy, although the intensity does remind me of the mighty Montrachet.

What a great array of wines, six different plots were shown and six different vintages, it showed the Domaine in a glowing light and the scary thing is that as with many people in Burgundy I feel the wines they are making now are even better!! Exciting stuff...

Monday, 23 April 2012

Blind Cigar No 2 - Corona Gorda

Back on the 24th of March I blogged what I thought of a blind Petit Corona I tasted as the first of 3 Blind Cigars I have from a competition I am taking part in. It turned out to be a Romeo & Julieta Petit Corona (Box code RUE JUL 2011). Now it was the turn of one of my favourite sizes...the Corona Gorda.

Appearance & aroma on cold: Tan colour, straw and saddle leather. A little loose with a little fruit on cold draw.

On lighting up, initial thoughts...lighter side of medium, very well balanced.

1st third, no overriding flavours but a little old leather and some citrus in there, a good smoke.

2nd third, it started to ramp up in intensity some of which I'll put down to the fact it is slightly underfilled and therefore a wee bit of a fast hot burner...still good mind you, earthy flavours coming through, weight of good smoke though the nose but no spice. The aroma of the smoke is lovely but hard to define, very mellow...

3rd third, suddenly burn issues, unpredicted, a harsh edge too, other than that just a bit boring now, nicely mellow has become a touch tedious...had to move to my sons treehouse (see picture) as yet more rain arrived.

Nothing wrong with it but nothing much going for it either....85....

I love this size so will be very interested to see what it is....the reveal will be towards the end of the month. Doing quite a lot of blind wine tasting this has been a very interesting exercise. The next cigar is a Churchill...should be fun.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Henry did us proud and so did the wines!!

As I think I've commented before one of the main reasons I write this blog is that I want to remember the finer details (and wines) from some of the great meals, tastings and smokes that I have the great privilege to go get involved is not meant as a ground for showing off or gloating...anyway on with a "wonder meal"... 

When away in Wales on holiday, see last post, a text came through from a friend and customer that suggested I might need to be "available" for lunch the following week...after a couple of emails I was. This man doesn't come to London for no good reason. Now I'd stop reading now if you are a vegetarian...the Luncheon was to be at Ramsay's Royal Hospital Road, scene of one of the best lunches of all time but that is on a previous blog, the theme was to be Beef and more specifically the 6 year old Henry that you can see in the picture of the menu. Clare Smyth, Head chef and a dam good one, said she had never seen beef like it. I can safely say having eaten it that the three of us Lunching all agreed it was the best beef we had eaten. It came in many guises but all where stunning. You can see the main course in the picture below.

Now on to the wines. To kick off we had Henriot 1988 Champagne, not a house I am that experienced with. Some 1988's are quite atypical as there is a roundness and oxidative opulence about several efforts from 1988. I thought this was a very good one, with a backbone of Chardonnay it had some richness but there was poise and freshness in equal measure, a great start. Up next with possibly the finest Steak Tartare I have ever had, it is easy to talk about balance in wines well this had balance in food, we had Grands Echezeaux 1991, Domaine de la Romanee Conti this was at a simply brilliant stage in it's evolution and perfect now. It had pure fruit but that wonderful "I'm developing" feel about it too. The various facets of the wine just all worked together, we got through it quickly it was just so delicious. Confirms what a lot of people say about the 1991's being both brilliant as a vintage and great from now onwards, a rare treat and certainly the best Grands Echezeaux I have had. After the Tartare we went to a dish that was visually stunning but also a marvel, Lobster and marinated Rib "kebabs", this was about the only chance we were going to get to have the one contribution I made on the wine front Bourgogne Blanc 2005, De Vogue (all the other wines were down to generosity of my host), now on the face of it having a Bourgogne Blanc seems hideously out of place amongst the other wines but de Vogues' one is actually Musigny Blanc Grand Cru it is just that they declassify it to Bourgogne Blanc as they have replanted it in the mid 90's, the 1993 was the last vintage under the Musigny name. The wine was showing well, tropical, expressive and high-toned it worked well though in truth was not at the wonderful maturity of the others.

Up next was the main course I mentioned above. With it we had two wines - Barbaresco 1978 Gaja & Petrus 1990 from magnum - both worked wonderfully with the beef. The Gaja was still of full colour and had, as expected, a slight Bovril note on the nose with good fruit under it, the wine really opened up in glass and the acidic, tannic bite (a good thing) it initially showed did mellow. Now onto the big boy - Petrus 1990 - it was a beauty. The colour was still full, a tiny bit of evolution, very bright colour. As you would expect it had a beautifully rounded expressive Pomerol nose and palate, there was that tell-tale Petrus depth too. There was very gentle development over the course of the magnum, it had such balance and grace that it was almost  possible to forget it was Petrus. I just enjoyed it for being a great wine. Clearly it has a way to go but it is not too early to be drinking it all, great length, a very rare treat.
Of course now it was time for some Port!! I had mentioned earlier in the meal while Jan (brilliant Sommelier) was serving us that I had never actually seen Port tongs used so when we got a chance to visit the kitchen, and chat to Clare, what should be in the "fire hole" but the Tongs. The Croft 1963 was impeccably breeched and drank wonderfully. Whenever I have good vintage Port I wonder why I don't drink it more. this had elegance and lots of fruit, at it's peak but going on for ages I imagine. Seems such a shame that not long after the time this Port was made Croft as a house seemed to lose it's way a bit.

The biggest "odds-on shot" of the day was that there would be some top Sauternes. My host is probably one of the most experienced drinkers of these wonderful wines (like Port why I don't drink & buy them more I don't know). The first Sauternes was a wine that featured high on my "must drink" list as it was Yquem from my birth year - 1975 (and yes for those who know me I've had a hard life!!). This wine possibly more that any I can remember had an amazing combination of rich intensity, and I mean serious only-like-Yquem richness, but also fruit freshness. The colour (often misleading in wine and certainly Sauternes) was pale for it's age. With the Tarte Tatin it was sublime. I just kept having to re-taste it to think that it was as good and as rich as it was, staggering really. The second bottle of Sauternes was Suduiraut 1967 a different and more evolved style, I really enjoyed it. Next to the Yquem you could see a lowering of intensity but again it matched the Tarte Tatin very well. Where the Yquem will quite literally go on for ever the Suduiraut is, I feel from this bottle, at stage where it will start in the next few years to taste more and more mature, suits some people but not all.

As the first dinners for the evening arrived there was just time for a lovely glass of Jacquesson 2002 before jumping in a cab. A quite stunning has become a bit of a phrase..."The legend lives on"....brilliant.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Week of Wines (and the odd Cigar) in Wales

So, last week was our annual family trip to Aberaeron in West Wales (if you've not been then go it is great) to see my wife's side of the family. It is a week I always look forward to massively as we do lots of walking lots of eating and lots of drinking with a few cigars thrown in for me. So for the benefit of anyone who wants to see what was drunk/smoked and so that I can remember a few things about when to drink these wine again I have put them in this blog. The only real theme was that I wanted to a bit of comparative drinking (I'd say tasting but it was more than just tasting!!) so I got a few pairs of things out of my reserves, many are things I quite often sell as a merchant and others are wines I have bought elsewhere and just wanted to assess by drinking them.

So first up was Chablis 2008 from Vincent Dampt, I buy Vincent's wines and give then 2-5 years before drinking so I am on the "basic" 2008 at the moment, deliciously mineral but nicely evolved enough now with that all important Chablis texture, great stuff on the harbour wall after the long drive there. To follow the Chablis and with a simple first night supper I dug out a bottle (for some weird reason there was one bottle on the system at work) of Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Petit Chapelle 2006 Rossignol-Trapet. These guys have been on a real charge from about 2005 onwards and I thought this would be fascinating to try. No decanting - I don't "do" decanting with red Burgs - it was enjoyable from the off, the oak a little marked on the nose, this quite masculine and defo needs 3-5 years to be at a really balanced place, good fruit there, in a more black and creamy way...quite serious.

Day two was always going to be a monster as it was scheduled to have a massive bonfire (good timing as it drizzled the following day) and eat lots of meat - Pork Belly, beef shin in beer and much more two. So after a little nit of "work" pilling up the fire we got a first bottle down us - Brokenwood Cricket pitch 2010, Sauv/Sem, lovely actually, fresh but just the right blend to take edge off the Sauvignon. My two vinous contributions to the day were both designed to give unfussy pleasure in good volume. The white was a magnum of Macon Verze 2008 from Domaine Leflaive delicious but weirdly interesting too, one of the guys nailed it as greek yoghurt & honey. It is a wine where the texture is the key. I have been drinking the 2009 more of late as in many ways it is more ready and balanced now. This 2008 will reward a little more time in bottle but was great now, I love mags of white burgundy. My red choice was a Jeroboam (double mag but Jero sounds better) of Gigondas 2007 from Domaine Cayron, I bought it a while ago as I am a sucker of big bottles and it was not expensive, it really surprised me as I was expecting a quite funky rich and almost over the top wine but it was far more elegant and "lifted" than I imagined, strawberry, berry compote and vanilla cream (not vanilla from oak at all), it drank brilliantly and didn't last that long. The freshness went well with the beautiful fatty Pork Belly, I'll be buying a jeer of the 2010 to replace this one with. The bonfire was still raging so it was time to have a cigar with some more red wine. I selected a, slightly battered Ramon Allones Extra 2011, I have had this once before and have a box resting for a few years. An amazing smoke in a great size - Corona Gorda - that is just like the richest possible fruit cake in cigar form, delicious. I'll continue to age the box I have but this was so good as a young smoke I may have to get another box. I was so excited by how good a day it had been that it was time for another cigar Por Larranga Robusto 2007 (Asia Pacific limited edition release) a mellow unctous smoke, honeyed and moreish. The photos of that day don't do it justice.

On the evening of Day 3 we were very lucky to be going to Llys Meddyg ( as Cynan, Fran's (my better half) Cousin and an up and coming author plus part-time wineman, had organised for us to have a specially assembled tasting menu. This is an idilic spot (I have no vested interest) and strongly recommend you search it out if you are down Pembroke way. Ed and Lou Sykes have got a great chef and a lovely relaxed set up. The meal itself was great, pictures don't do it justice, with smoked duck followed by pigeon, followed by smoked salmon with amazing beetroot (they do a lot of smoking - the duck and the salmon themselves) then Lamb and finally a brilliant light pudding of Gorseflower Panacotta amongst over things. I wasn't making detailed notes otherwise I'd say what we had with what but we were all chatting away so I'll just go through the wines. Pre-dinner we had a Tasmanian sparkler Jansz 2005 (which reminds me that we had the Jansz NV the day of the Chablis and Gevrey) it was very good, balanced, more mellow but richer than the NV. I would say though on balance I think the NV was the more complete wine. To start the meal we had a trio of Egon Muller Estate Rieslings - 2010, 2009 & 2007 - we drank them in that order. If I had to rank them in quality order I would go 2010 (fresh, brisk and complex), 2007 (very balanced, only a dash of development, try complete) then 2009 (still very good just less exciting than 10 or 07). They went very well with the food. I increasingly think that Riesling (especially at Kabinett type level) is the best food friendly white wine going. Once the food got a little meatier we move to Barbaresco 2006 & 2007 from Produttori del Barbaresco. There is quite a well documented little "savvy-buy" fact on the 2006 as they did not release their single vineyard Barbaresco's and instead but it all into their "Basic" Barbaresco but this only 100% applies to the magnums, anyway enough geeky Piedmont info. The 2007 was, as expected more easily accessible as a wine, softer, lusher more obviously enjoyable. I liked the 2007 but really loved the 2006 which had feminine fruit with masculine structure. It needs (they both do) time but was so quintessentially Piedmont and Nebbiolo. With the Gorseflower Panacotta there was apparently only one wine to have - Lacrima di Morro, Querci Antica - I'd never had it before, it was very interesting, amazingly floral you'd swear it was fortified but it wasn't. There was one more conventional sweet wine to close the evening - Clos Thou 2010 Jurancon - really fascinating, almost peanut butter but actually has an oily richness, great, would like this again.

Over the next two nights, amongst other things, I had Guardiola 2009 and 2010 from Andrea Franchetti's Passspisciaro Estate in Sicily. This is a wine I always buy and I wanted to compare the vintages and the wine at a different stage. In Sicily they've probably finished the 2011 already but I am convinced that in the same was as Chablis - Guardiola is also unoaked Chardonnay - it is best with a couple of years to mellow. The 2009 was seriously good, melons and ripe limes but with an almost sherbet like texture that I love. The 2010 was as expected a little more streamlined and focussed and a little more one dimensional now...I think there is very little between the vintages in quality but the extra year made for an improvement for me so I will look to give Guardiola that sort of time in the future. I took a pair of Margaux 2006's along with me - Kirwan & Giscours - and tried these over the same two nights. Kirwan was impressive, good balance, classical left bank Cabernet but not over the top or over-extracted has that Mgx soft charm, it is no out and out star but is is good and enjoyable. Giscours was decent but no more to my mind, it had a slightly green side but was charming enough, good Cabernet but no more than that. I find Bordeaux 2006's (on both banks) to be "solid" but no more than that, I would rather drink 2001 on both banks and 2004 on the left bank. The 2006's just remind me of better 2002's. I know this is not a general view and would welcome any 2006's that people feel are stars.

Another evening and another pairing. My son (aged 10) with a lot of help and guidance from Cynan had designed a four course meal. The wines were a pair of Gruner Veltliner's as described next. Dom Gobelsburg Gruner 2010 Neiderosterreich, pear and cream with grass on the nose then a prickle on palate, good.

Dom Gobelsburger Lossterrassen Kamptal 2011 delicious very mineral in a stoney way, more taut than the 10, both delicious but I prefer this (we left a little of each for the following night and both had improved). The two reds were both Cote de Nuits 2009 "Lieu Dits" from Giles Jourdan - La Robignotte & La Montagne - I was hoping they would be interesting and not overpowered by the 2009 factor. We had them side by side - La Robignotte, very good indeed has fresh fruit but also real depth and a good density with out weight, complexity shows too. La Montagne 2009 very decent but without the depth of the La Robignotte, more red fruited and nervy. I will try both again this time next year. i was left with the impression both were good but that the La Robignotte is the class act.

Having had a few grey days (this is Wales!!) we went for a great coastal walk the next day as the sun was out. Along the way I enjoyed a Cohiba Siglo VI it may have needed to settle a bit more, was good but one dimensional, I have a couple more so will give them a couple of years I think. I like Cohiba but don't buy masses of them and this kind of reassured me that this was a decent tactic. The last eeving would be used to hoover up any food and also bottles we have left so another bottle of Chablis Dampt 2008 disappeared but I had saved one last tasting pairing both Barolo 2006's from a producer I had been recommended - Guido Porro - the two wines were Vigna Mazzairasco & Vigna S.Caterina. I wanted to taste these two as I have bought 6 (now 5) bottles. Barolo Vigna Lazzairasco 06, Guido Porro, very balanced, old skool (a very good thing) drinking but will improve, red stewed fruit. Barolo Vigna S.Caterina 06, Guido Porro, very balanced like the Lazzairasco, not quite drinking a little more structure here. I was impressed by both and both are very much in the traditional camp. And so to the last wine of the holiday...Umathum Auslese 2009, Burgenland (Chardonnay/Scheurebe) really fresh. Lychee, white fruit delicious...