Tue 07 Dec 2010

The Gang’s All Here …


… with another top review of The Society’s wines. The Wine Gang consists of five of the UK’s most respected wine critics:  Tom Cannavan of wine-pages.com, Jane Parkinson of The Drinks Business, Anthony Rose of The Independent, Joanna Simon of House & Garden and David Williams of The Observer. To learn more or to subscribe to their excellent wine review website, click on the link above.

Moret Nominé Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Folatières 2005, 13.5% abv A gorgeous mouthful of rounded fruit, macadamia nuts, cream and lemon zest. This is a really nicely balanced wine with a powerful but subtle finish from an excellent vintage. One of this month’s Five Greatest Wines 94/100  £42.00

Concha y Toro Maycas del Limari Quebrada Seca Chardonnay 2007, 14.5% abv The elegance of this wine knows no bounds. A whiff of butter and lemon stays true on the palate which has phenomenal breadth and depth of flavour. Ripe, zesty and with oak that hugs rather than attacks your palate, together with a finish that carries on for a seeming eternity. 93/100  £20.00 (NB – 2007 now sold out, 2008 in stock – Ed.)

Château de Fesles Bonnezeaux 2005, 12.0% abv A classic late-harvest Chenin Blanc from the heart of the Loire. Honey and citrus fruit peel mingle on the nose and palate with a mineral streak, while the precise acidity leads to a very long finish. This bottle is 50cl. 93/100  £29.00

Château Belgrave 2000 Haut-Médoc, 13.0% abv A nicely mature claret (although still with plenty of life left in it), from a much-improved Fifth Growth, part of the Dourthe stable (now owned by the Thiénot family from Champagne). The nose has some dark fruit and a touch of cedar, the palate is still powerful, with nippy, savoury tannins and real freshness and life to the finish. One of this month’s Five Wines for Christmas Lunch 92/100  £32.50

Valdivieso Eclat 2006, 14.0% abv Coming from vines more than 80-years old, this blend of 55% Carignan, 30% Mourvèdre and 15% Syrah has a mineral and earthy dominant nose but then a sour cherry mouthful of juiciness and bags of black fruit flavour. Smooth and savoury tannins complement the fruit beautifully. 91/100  £14.99

Viña Leyda Garuma Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Leyda, 14.0% abv This wine is exactly why Chilean Sauvignon Blanc is making serious waves. A mineral, slightly salty, but also creamy and bright wine with a hint of white pepper spice on the palate as well as a zesty lemons, limes and grapefruits, keeping it awash with freshness. 91/100  £9.95 at Harvey Nichols. (£7.95 at The Wine Society – Ed.)

Domaine Alain Burget Gevrey-Chambertin en Billard 2005, 13.0% abv A very serious Pinot Noir for the money this, and a wine that punches above the weight of its appellation. It has a core of raspberry compote fruit leading into more complex, savoury and earthy flavours, and an extremely long, silky finish. 91/100  £27.00

Champagne Pol Roger Brut Vintage 2000, 12.5% abv 2000 was not perhaps the finest Champagne vintage of recent years, but Pol Roger have managed to craft a very fine wine from the year nonetheless. Blossom, critus fruit and patisserie on the nose leading to a fine, silky texture and a clean, persistent finish. 91/100 (single bottle £45 at The Wine Society, buy 6 for 5 = £37.50 equivalent price until 16th December)

Louro Godello 2009 Valdeorras, 13.5% abv A very complex, sophisticated modern white from the up-and-coming Valdeorras appellation in Galicia. Made by Rafael Palacios, brother of the celebrated Alvaro (of L’Ermita in Priorat), it has an intriguing flavour profile that suggests dried herbs macerated in fresh lemon juice, and a broad, rich palate. 90/100  £12.95

Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, 14.5% abv A touch of mint, a blast of blackcurrant pastille, some blueberries and a lick of liquorice: a pleasure to drink, this is benchmark Coonawarra Cab from Yalumba. 90/100  £25.00

Millton Vineyards Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2007, 12.0% abv An off-dry white of great intensity, Milton’s Chenin always impresses. Richly flavoured, with honeyed apples and the merest hint of lavender, it’s simply bursting with life. 89/100 £12.95

Léon Beyer Alsace Sylvaner 2009, 12.0% abv A really great value white this from Léon Beyer. It’s gossamer light but with excellent concentration: a real blast of pure white grapefruit juice and a lovely match for white fish and mild Asian spices. One of this month’s Five Best Value Wines. 89/100  £7.95

Domaine la Réméjeanne Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc Les Arbousiers 2009, 14.0% abv This good value white Rhône blend has a lovely nose full of the joys of early-summer with apple blossom and apricot. The palate is intense, rounded, powerful but not at all flabby, and it finishes rich but clean. 88/100  £10.95

Saladini Pilastri Falerio dei Colli Ascolani 2009, 13.0% abv Crisp and light with just the merest prickle on the palate, this is a simple seafood wine par excellence with nicely tart, clean green apple flavours. Highly refreshing. 86/100  £6.25

Domaine Tempier Bandol 2007, 14.5% abv Extremely dense and powerful, this wine is a real glass of the warm south, with chewy tannins, dark fruit, liquorice and a touch of black olive. Complex and full, it demands a rich beef casserole. 89/100 £20.00

Trenel Côte de Brouilly 2009, 13.0% abv Yet another winner from the production line of terrific wines made in Beaujolais in 2009. Succulent cranberries, zooming acidity, and a lovely aromatic lift to the nose, drink it chilled with a bit of baked salmon. 89/100 £9.50

Hofstätter Pinot Nero Riserva Mazon 2007, 13.5% abv A really well-made Italian Pinot Noir, and another nicely adventurous choice by The Wine Society’s Italian buyer. Light-bodied and fresh, it is winningly precise and direct, with a floral/violet nose followed by fresh black cherries on the palate and a slightly sweet finish. 88/100 £20.00

Henry Marionnet Touraine Gamay Première Vendange, 13.0% abv A “natural” wine this, made without the use of sulphur, and it shows in the vivacious, lifted primary fruit. Crunchy red cherries and blackberries, fresh acidity and an overall feeling of succulence combine to make this a very thirst-quenching, drinkable bottle indeed. 88/100 £9.95

Camillo de Lelis Biferno Rosso Riserva 2004, 13.0% abv What great value for a mature Italian red of great character, from a lesser-spotted appellation. Soft, integrated tannins, macerated dark cherries and a hint of dried fruit are all held together by still perky acidity. A wine for sipping over those long winter evenings. 88/100 ? £7.25

Château de Ricaud 2005 Bordeaux Supérieur, 13.0% abv Under the same ownership as Château Belgrave (the 2000 vintage of which is reviewed above) this is very, erm, supérieur stuff for the appellation and price, and drinking very well now. A core of cassis in a supple frame of nicely mature tannins. 86/100 £8.50

Herdade do Esporão Alandra, 13.0% abv Juicy is the word that springs to mind for this inexpensive Portuguese glugger made by Aussie winemaker David Baverstock. It’s labelled as non-vintage, although the fruit is apparently mostly taken from the 2009 vintage. With its bright, primary cherry fruit, cleaning acidity and soft tannins, it would be nice served just a little chilled. 83/100 £5.95

Chivite Gran Fuedo Seleccion Especial 2007 Navarra, 13.5% abv A blend of Tempranillo with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot this is a well-made, if not especially exciting, international-style red. A hint of vanilla oak and some black fruit on the nose, some juicy fruit on the palate, a slightly astringent finish. 82/100 £6.95

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