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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Talker Reserve 2007 Szekszardi Bikaver

Every year we go away just before Christmas to do a bit of shopping and of course eating and drinking are normally involved somewhere along the line; this year we went to Budapest in Hungary. It snowed a little while we were there and the temperature was low, -5 C or less a lot of the evenings and I don't think it rose above 0C for all of the 5 days.
We ate a lot of hearty meals where a lot was paired with gnocchi, dumplings, pasta or potatoes and we indulged in mainly red wines. The first was a 2007 heavy hitter at 14.5% from Szekszardi and was a blend of grapes, or a 'Cuvee' as the waiter kept correcting me and was a Bikaver. The Takler Reserve had been matured in oak for 18 months with 30% of it being first use, ie. new oak and the remainder second and third use barrels, the oak will probably have been Hungarian Oak.
On the nose it was perfumed and elegant, packed with red fruits, this continued through to the palate, but WOW was it a heavy hitting wine, everything was big, the oak flavours, the alcohol, the extraction. Very New World in style, but maybe a little heavy handed, where the belief was ' more is better ' ?
It had fresh acidity in its favour which helped lighten the whole wine, and although we started it without food, it was easier to drink with! But I will say we did not finish the bottle...... First time in a while that we have not, this speaks for itself.
We ate at a lovely Restaurant called Cyrano's near Vorosmarty Square near some Christmas market stalls.
Great food, lovely atmosphere and the wine was fine. Score 83

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Beaujolais - as it is the season of Nouveau

For many of a similar age to me ( 60's child), Beaujolais (BN) is tainted by all the Beaujolais Nouveau that was around in the 80's, it was pink/red, it had a fizz to it and was sickly.... a candy floss and bubblegum combo!
For those who have never heard of had BN, then you have not missed alot. It is not allowed to be released until a certain date in November, the third Thursday of the month, and many years ago, there was a rush to be the one acquiring it for the first night..... Merchants who had it put chalk board notices outside to draw customers in. It was a big Event!

Well they do still make it, though now if you were to try and find it in the UK you would have to search hard - thank heavens for the internet. But you can find it in M&S, Waitrose and Majestic - if you want to give it a go for the first time - or live Retro.
The huge amounts made in the 70's and 80s, it was 58% of the whole production has now shrunk to less than 30%, with sales of the 10 'cru's' in the north of Beaujolais ( closest to Macon in Burgundy ) have increased along with the Beaujolais Villages and plain striaght Beaujolais.
It is the latter 2 that I tasted recently, we also ventured into the Beaujolais Blanc and Rose that I have never tasted before ( Not knowingly anyway ).

Beaujolais Blanc's - we tried 2. 
Domaine des Terres Dorees 2010 Jean-Paul Brun from Charnay in the south of Beaujolais from a 26ha site, made from the Chardonnay grape and it was as expected, pale lemon green, dry citric and apple on nose and palate, and a slight added whiff of melon and a touch of oak. Quite a charmer. £17.28  from Savage Selection.
Score : 85

Domaine Arnaud Aucoeur 2010 a Beaujolais Villages Vieilles Vignes Blanc from Morgon in Beaujolais, again Chardonnay was the culprit and this was perfumed, floral with a red apple edge, citric on the palate with a bitter pith finish, but the intensity of flavour was lacking, it was 'thin' but still a easy wine. Available from Yapp Brothers at £8.75.
Score : 80

Beaujolais Rose - we had only one, a Chateau de Grandmont 2010 from Blace in Beaujolais, a small site of 9ha owned by Jean Brac de la Perriere. This was a lovely pale salmon, aromas were not quite so tempting, 'sweaty feet' was my first note, hurriedly added to with 'cheese and sweeties', I also felt that this wine was tired already, on the palate there was a lack of fruit, it was a touch dusty, shame because this wine made from Gamay ( the grape that most red  is made from) was a stunning colour and looked swish and silky. Can be found at Christopher Piper Wines at £7.09.  Score : 75

Then we went onto the Beaujolais Red's - or Rouge if you want. The first was a straight Beaujolais,  Vieilles Vignes  2011 from Charnay in the South of Beaujolais and was a Clos des Vieux Marronniers. Purple in colour and baked red fruit on the nose - this did not tempt me in, but non the less I sacrificed myself as one has to do. The wine was silky, there was fruit, cherry, berry, but thin and baked slightly bubble gummy, chalky tannins which were soft and ripe, the length was good but thin acidic red fruits..... Not the best Beaujolais I have had..... but by no means the worst....
and you can buy this Gammay wine from the Oxford Wine company for £9.49.   Score : 76

The next was a Beaujolais-Villages, supplied by Bibendum at a cost of £7.30. It was Monmessin from the Quince-en-Beaujolais 2010  and this wine won a IWC Great Value Trophy 2006. Beaujolais-Villages means that the wine can come from a number of locations/Villages and then blended, there are often not the Cru's ( 10 named villages that are eligible to put their name on a bottle of wine, as they have more prestige /cost if the wine comes solely cru areas). It was a perfumed wine with bags of fresh red fruits and th e wine was fresh and zingy, the taste was juicy, slightly washed out but the acidity was zippy, the alcohol in balance  and the tannins chalky and slightly veiled. The length was good but there was an aftertaste of bubble gum, maybe due to the carbonic maceration. The price is good and so I scored it 78, and would be extremely happy to drink it!

The next wine was a Cru wine from the village of Brouilly, the year - 2011 and the maker - Domaine Georges Descombes. A light floral aroma, red juicy fruits and a slight candy floss aroma greet you, this follows onto the palate, where both red and black fruit intermingle and the tannins are chalky and ripe and the acidity was slightly lower than some, but still works well with the wine as a whole, length was good with sweet plum fruit with a slightly confected finish, but not unpleasant. A lovely wine with a price of £15.99 from the Caves de Pyrene. The winemaker is a well known good producer and this wine comes from a 11ha vineyard. Score : 80

We then moved on to another village wine, from appellation Chiroubles ( though the vineyard is in Fleurie) 2010 from the Domain de la Chapelle Des Bois and the makers are Chantal and Eric Coudert-Appert. Swirling aromas of flowers, red fruits and sweet liquorice intermingle with farmyard type nuances, on the mouth this has red and black fruits, spices play a role in its character with ginger, liquorice and vanilla all wrapped up together, all silky and supported by the ripe yet textural tannins, this wine has more body and alcohol than previos wines and the acidity also steps up a gear, a great wine with lots of length and character, a slightly bitter finish, but it does not spoil the overall wine. Score : 83 and is available from Stone, Vine and Sun for £11.25, not a bad price for a wine that would match with many foods, pate, chicken, meaty fish, terrine..... Enjoy!
Score : 80

And we moved on...... Chateau de Fleurie 2010 from La Chapelle de Guinchay in Fleurie, this is from the Oxford Wine Company and costs £12.35. On popping my nose in the glass, flowers, red and black fruits and a hint of anise spice all hit me, on tasting it cherries, plums and spice all fill the mouth, the tannins are textural, chalky and silky at the same time, finegrained and sort of chewy, they really added another dimension to this wine. The alcohol was enrobing and the acidity lifted the wine with its freshness, altogether a lovely wine with lots of food potential again, elegant and finegrained were my last thoughts. Oh.... and Yummy!
Score : 82.

Another village - Julienas 2009, Georges Duboeuf, this wine is from Waitrose and is a bargain £9.01, it is spicy, juicy fruity, and silky throughout, elegance was a word I wrote down and this was from the first sip, well integrated! Score : 82

And then we had another wine from a different Cru or Village - Morgon, this wine was again a bargain at £7.30 from Bibendum and comes from Cotes de Py, a 13ha site and the label is Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2011, purple tints in the ruby wine give it away as young - as do the fresh fruits, red and black, the spice adds another dimension and fill in the gaps in the fruit, lots of vanilla and sweet cherries, all mixed up and well knitted together - a real charmer! Fine grained tannins, sweet black fruit and liquorice all got this wine a score of 84.

And finally the king of the Cru's, Moulin-a-Vent, one of the Cru's that can age ( Morgon can in some cases as well), Chateau des Jacques Moulin-a-Vent La Roche 2006 and is from The Wine Society at £21. This was a true garnet colour, rim and core. Sweet spices and red mature ripe fruit all vie for attention as do the tertiary notes ( wet leaves / farmyard..... whatever you want to call it), there is an aroma of well matured and cleverly used old oak, a sweetness to the spice and rounded at the same time. On tasting it - there was no disappointment, spice and fruit, aged to perfection, the tannins soft and silky, the length was good and exhibited sweet spices and gently vegetal nuances all the way with a finish of red fruit - a lovely wine.
Score : 89