The ‘Dig the Differents’ tasting was held on 30 August 2011 and cost €30. Many of us were looking forward to tasting this eclectic mix of wines and there was a feeling that we may not get the opportunity to ever taste some of them again; some were unique, some were rare and some were just different. Judge for yourselves. We started off with Thailand and the little-known Entraygues et du Fel VDQS: there’s really not much of this stuff floating around.
(1) Sawasadee Chenin Blanc 2008 12% alcohol
One of the members picked this up in Bangkok Duty Free earlier this year for 365 Baht. (approx Euro 8.50). There were some reservations, but I think that it surprised most people. It looked the part and had a decent aroma and flavour profile, but the acidity was a bit ‘green’. . . A nice quaffer as it was made to be.
(2) Dom. Méjanassère Entraygues et du Fel VDQS 2009 12.5%
This one was purchased by one of the members for €6.50 ex cellar. It is made mostly from Chenin Blanc with just a hint of Mauzac. The vineyard is located on the edge of the Massif Central and the soil consists of decomposed granite. This had a nice full mid-palate and although not overly complex was well balanced and a nice easy drinker.
(3) Gaia Wild Ferment Santorini Assyritiko 2010 13% €17.99
This wine comes from the Greek island of Santorini, where it is produced from 80-year-old vines on volcanic soils. Nice fresh wine with a vanilla oaky nose and flavour. Long length with fresh mineral finish.
(4) Dom. de la Charmoise Provignage Romorantin 2007 13% approx. €60.00
This was purchased at the domaine in eastern Touraine. One of its marketing points is that the vines are pre-phylloxera, propagated using the ‘layering’ process and the grape variety is the fairly obscure Romorantin grape. It had a quite distinctive golden colour with a kind of sugar candy bar aroma. Some people mentioned quince and ripe pear overlaid with a very slight oxidative character. Slightly austere acidity but long chalky mineral length.
(5) Domaine Grand Veneur Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Fontaine 2006 13% €42.95
This 100% Roussanne comes from one of the top white wine producers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and is aged in old oak for approximately 12 months. It had a deep golden colour with a ripe peach and apricot nose. Reasonably weighty oily/creamy body/texture with very well-integrated oak. Very long length with a spicy finish.
(6) Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos St Urbain Rangen de Thann Grand Cru 2006 15.5% €49.70
A controversial wine which David Schildknecht (who reviews Alsace for the Robert Parker website) felt was just too extreme for him and he didn’t give a rating at all! It comes from a steep south-facing mountain of rocky volcanic-based soils of the Rangen, which is the only vineyard in Alsace on volcano rock. This is an unusual wine and got the greatest reaction from the members present. First, it looks like a whiskey (amber colour), next it has a smoky, marmalade honey and botrytris nose, so I was expecting a sweet wine, but it is definitely dry. The winemaker says it has 11 g residual which I did not taste at all. For me, it had practically no fruits on the palate and all were coffee, spice and smoke, tertiary notes and no alcoholic burn at 15.5%!! Very long mineral length.
(7) Dom. Imbeau Le Clos des Monts Pinot Noir Côtes d’Auvergne Boudes 2008 12.5% approx. €13 ex cellar
This wine comes from Boudes, which is in the Côtes d’Auvergne AC and was bought last year by one of our members. It is grown in an area reputed for Pinot Noir grown on volcanic soils and aged in old oak. This was a very fruity strawberry and cherry wine with mouth-puckering acidity, smooth tannins, good structure and well-integrated oak. Long length and a slightly stalky finish. Many of the members were impressed with this and did not expect it to be so good.
(8) Rudolf Fürst Klingenberger Spätburgunder 2004 (Franken) 13% €33 ex cellar
This is the first vintage made from a formerly famous vineyard (Klingenberger Schlossberg) in the west of the Franken region which had fallen into neglect and was replanted by Paul Fürst. Incredibly steep vineyard which has now been recognised as Grosses Gewächs by the VDP.
Nice Pinot Noir typicity with developing ‘farmyard’, sous-bois aromas. One the palate it had good complex fruits and a toasty, cherry earthiness. I think we all agreed that this wine is now in its prime and we were very impressed with it, considering that this was the winemaker’s first vintage on this site. The future looks very good for it.
(9) Ch. de Bellet Cuvée Rose de Bellet AC Bellet 2007
Purchased in Nice by one of the members while on holiday. Bellet was awarded AC status in 1941 and now there is only about 50–60 ha under vine. It produces red, rosé and white wines from Folle Noir, Rolle, Grenache, Cinsault and Braquet. This wine is produced only in exceptional years. It was well balanced and had concentrated strawberry fruit with a slightly rustic savoury finish.
(10) Gere Attila Kopar 2007 (Villany) 15% €49.95
A Bordeaux blend from Hungary that spends 16 months in Hungarian and French oak. This is reckoned to be one of the very best Hungarian wines. Very deep ruby, almost opaque, with intense black fruit, coffee and toffee aromas. High alcohol but not in any way harsh. Powdery tannins, with a nice long, slightly mineral finish. Very good.
(11) Vergelegen CWG Auction Rondekop Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 1999 ( Stellenbosch) €65
This is a rarity. The Cape Winemakers Guild has an auction each year for which members have to put up what they consider to be a very special wine (normally a barrel selection) and this is the 1999 offering from Andre van Rensburg of Vergelegen, who is regarded as one of the leading winemakers in South Africa.
Ripe black fruit nose and flavours with smoke, spice and that quite distinctive South African tobacco-like character. Slightly grippy tannin with long length and a slightly alcoholic finish.
(12) St Martin de Graves Coteaux du Languedoc 2006 12.5% €18
This is a Syrah/Grenache blend. It was a very deep ruby, with ripe blackberry, cherry, strawberry and a distinctive Syrah pepper nose. On the palate it had big ripe tannins and a medium length. A nice quaffer.
(13) Quinta dos Pesos 1989 Carcavelos 19%
This comes from a small area of Portugal (near Estoril) and the vineyards have been devastated over the years due to the urban sprawl of Lisbon, so Carcavelos is an almost extinct appellation. The wine was a light tawny. Mine was cloudy but some of the glasses which were poured earlier were not. It had an intense Oloroso-like nose of burnt sugar, raisins, orange peel and marmalade and similar flavours on the palate along with highish acidity and high fortified alcohol. Nice long length, quite unusual.