As you may (not) know, February is the month where D and I share a birthday, so we often indulge a little extra into the wine belly during Feb. Here's what we enjoyed and what we thought:
First up, for D's birthday I got her some vintage Pol Roger from her birth year. THE most expensive bottle of alcohol I have ever bought I might add! The 1990 was golden and dark, almost amber; the colour of urine after a heavy night, one might say, but thankfully much more appealing! As I've never had a vintage champagne this old, I wasn't sure what it should taste like. After 22 years in bottle, it was slightly sherry-like with a very faint oxidised note, although I wasn't sure whether it was fine, or whether it was passed its best. D liked it anyway, which was a bonus, and I was surprised to find it still freshly acidic, attractively nutty and evolved with a very nice honeyed citrus fruit, marmalade and brioche character. Still lovely, but in questionable health 8/10. North of a hundred quid from Nickolls & Perks.
Continuing with the Champagne theme, we had a lovely bottle of Louis Chaurey NV (£30 Marks & Spencer) courtesy of my brother and his wife. This was nice and bready/biscuity with sharp citrus combined with a honeyed note. Slightly bitter but not bad at all 7.5/10. If you were lucky enough to be in Marks & Spencer over Christmas, during the brief few hours it was available, you may have picked this up for only £10!
We had some premium Kiwi wines in the form of Cloudy Bay's Te Koko 2008, which is an oaked Sauvignon Blanc (Sauv Blanc is very rarely oaked, normally espoused with stainless steel tanks to maintain freshness of fruit). It was an oddball. There was a ghostly vignette of Marlborough Sauv Blanc in the background; faint gooseberry, passion fruit and grass, but I was overwhelmed by the sense of drinking a Gewurztraminer; flowers, Turkish Delight, pine needle. It certainly was a complex wine, I eventually noted down green pepper, smoked cheese, nettles, limey, nutty and tropical. That's a fair few adjectives. It got better after a couple of glasses but I really think this is a "marmite" wine. You may love it, you may hate it. I'm sitting on the fence until I try it again ?/10. About £25 from Nickolls and Perks. Also we had, Mount Difficulty's Pinot Gris 2010 which was frankly stunning. Nutty and creamy on the nose leading to a full and viscous mouthful of honeyed melon and apricot, finishing in a fresh and zingy passionfruit. Slightly off-dry but enough balancing acidity. Also hints of citrus and apple, this was awesome with a spicy stir fry. Yumm, 8.5/10. £16 ish from Majestic.
Some nice Chardonnays were had in the form of Sonoma Cutrer 2009 from the Sonoma Coast appellation in California. Typical Chardonnay complexity of apple, citrus, creamy, leesy, nutty and with a smoky coconut hints. Lovely 7.5/10 and about £15 from Majestic. Next was the Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 from Vina Leyda again with a lovely complexity; apple, pear and spice combined with a leesy/bready character 7.5/10. Also from Vina Leyda we had the superb Syrah Reserva 2009. Sub-£10 and bloody great; nice blend of red/black fruit with peppery spice, chocolate, leather, great balance with some perceptible tannin and clear acidity to freshen it. Cool climate Syrah done very well for the price. Can't ask for more 8/10. Continuing the Syrah theme we had a nicely evolved, old Saint Joseph 1999 from the famous Paul Jaboulet Aine. Brick red rim with a black/chestnut core this was fully mature with spicy red fruit and Xmas cake on the nose, followed-up by clean, bright red fruit, silky tannins and a leathery/nutty complexity. Almost Bordeaux-like weight, fruit and oak integration. Delicious, but like a knob, I forgot to decant so the second glass was full of sediment. You live and learn...8/10
Finally a pair of Joseph Drouhin wines, the Saint Romain 2006 (7.5/10) (white Burgundy; Chardonnay) and the Chorey-les-Beaune 2009 (8/10) (red Burgundy; Pinot Noir). Both were delicious with the St. Romain having a slightly evolved honeyed apricot character and surprisingly, no oak. The Chorey les Beaune was again, very good, with us having had the 2007 lately. Delicious, complex with plenty of cherry fruit and smooth.
So after that lot of indulgence (Burp!) it's back down to Earth. The Supermarket Sweeps will return soon.
Speak to you soon.