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Monthly Archives: December 2010

  • Trimbach Gewurztraminer 2008

  • Sutherland Syrah Blend 2008

  • Mouton change

    "Premier je suis, second je fus, Mouton ne change."* So goes the proclamation of Baron Phillippe de Rothschild when his beloved Mouton was elevated from the Second Growth (2eme Cru) to First Growth (1er Cru) status in 1973 by the Bordeaux powers that be. The Baron's point being that Mouton had always been 1er Cru - and official sanction wasn't going to make any difference to him (or his wine). Why am I mentioning this? Because last night I drank with my family a bottle of Mouton Rothschild 1998 which I had been given years before. The only remarkable thing about this is that it was the first time I had ever actually drunk a bottle of one of these celebrated top five Bordeaux wines. Tasted, yes, many times, but even the most able tasters will admit that sitting down and drinking with food and conversation is a whole different experience to the tutored tasting. So what of the wine? I painstakingly decanted it an hour or two before, allowing myself a small taste to check the wine was ok. That first taste, I must say, was the best. Instantly a three dimensional wine leapt from the glass, with power, fruit and structured tannin, and long length. I allowed myself a smile of anticipation. When we sat down to enjoy it with roast ham, leeks and potatoes some time later, I must admit the nose was still powerful and impressive. Cassis, leather and cedar all swirling from the glass. The palate retained its three dimensional character, but as the wine opened up in the glass, I found it became disappointingly short. Perhaps it was the influence of the food, but ham and leeks are not powerful or difficult flavours for any wines, and I'd have expected this venerable first growth to have matched them if not in fact overpowered them. A second glass repeated the experience, good aromas at first but quickly fading and a slight 'hole' in the palate after a few minutes. My father in law had opened a bottle of St Estephe from 2006 earlier in the evening, so I compared it to the '98. Only then did one appreciate the added complexity of the older wine. The 06, whilst perfectly drinkable, seemed curiously two dimensional in comparison. But still, in the glass, Mouton did change. Ps Happy Christmas! *"First I am, second I was, Mouton doesn't change."

  • Leaving the Languedoc


    Just back from a trip around the Languedoc to visit some of the fantastic new producers from the Great Western Wines portfolio. I came back wondering how an area with such good wines can be so deeply mired in the “crise viticole”. The statistics are stark. Over the past ten years many Languedoc vineyards have been abandoned, a further 100,000 hectares have been grubbed up, and production has fallen from 20 million hectolitres to 11 million hectolitres. Thus, the reduction in output from this single region is greater than the entire annual wine exports of Australia; a total of 8 million hectolitres. Statistics are one thing; seeing a forlorn empty vineyard with a pile of old wood lying next to it is another. Florence Guy, of the beautiful Château Coujan, is pragmatic: “We have decided to plant aromatics like thyme which will be made into essential oils at the local distillery, there are not many other uses for old vineyard sites”. Let’s hope that the market recovers before many more vignerons go under. In the meantime, bulk prices are increasing but this is still a treasure trove of absurdly good bargains from the area, and, as Florence says “nothing makes better barbeques than vine wood”.

  • Have wine, will deliver

    Enotria's drivers and logistics teams worked tirelessly last week to beat the poor weather, snow and ice. At this time of year customers just cannot afford to be without fresh deliveries - so Peter Devlin and his team did their utmost to get wine to them as soon as possible. The result? Despite heavy snowfalls on two successive days - especially in Scotland and Kent, we managed to deliver 2,751 out of 2,765 orders. That's roughly a 0.5% failure rate. Well done, everyone.

  • Colomé

    Often described as 'a world apart', with 39,000 Hectares of vineyard at 2,000 metres or above (including the world's highest vineyard at 3,100m), Colomé's wines certainly are. The high altitude Malbec wines are its most famous, but check out too the sublime Torrontes.

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