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Christmas Wine

Discussion in 'off topic' started by eternumviti, Dec 24, 2018.

  1. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Golly, do I ever have a lot of soul!

    I now think it was ‘Alsace’ by Hubrecht Duijker, which I have found lurking on my bookshelves. ‘Produces sublime wines’ he said, which would have caught my attention 23 years ago (and is still true.)
     
    eternumviti likes this.
  2. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Golly, do I ever have a lot of soul!

    He certainly seems/seemed to be a singular character. Continuing my search for him today I found this recommendation from 1994...

    1992 Carignanissime de Centeilles, Minervois, D Domergue, pounds 5.45, Adnams, Southwold, Suffolk (0502 724222). Curiosity vat of 100 per cent angostura-spicy carignan old vines, ditched by carignan-hater Daniel Domergue and snapped up by Simon Loftus.

    (https://www.independent.co.uk/life-...ies-most-of-frances-plonk-but-it-5431225.html)

    ...if you are a renowned hater of a given grape variety, maybe even enough to bazooka the vines out of the ground, then why would you decide to... oh, never mind.

    Still don’t know what became of him.
     
    eternumviti likes this.
  3. eternumviti

    eternumviti pfm Member

    Alquier & Jougla are two other wines in that article that have found a place in our selections over the years.
     
  4. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    What did you do ? And your conclusions ?
    Must be difficult for a relatively small merchant to do a vertical, or a horizontal within a country/grape variety. Do you do it by tasting similar price wines ?
     
  5. eternumviti

    eternumviti pfm Member

    Sorry, I missed this, Wacko.

    Not too difficult to do various varieties (!) of horizontal, verticals always take a bit of organising, I think they do for anyone. I sometimes do Mitjavile verticals, for example, as we have access to quite a few library bottles, but I'll still look for mini-themes such as unfashionable or difficult vintages, for example, to demonstrate how an intuitive producer can overcome problems and still make great wine.

    The budget was far more modest than that the other day, all sub-£20. I showed four reds, four whites, within which were four compare & contrasts - two clear, mineral dry whites, both biodynamic, a Reuilly (sauvignon) and a Gruner Veltliner (Denis Jamain and Bernhard Ott), two southern Burgundian Chardonnays, a Beaujolais Blanc (Brun) and a Rully (Jacqueson), interesting as you have two different approaches to vinification and maturation, the former all stainless, the latter oak. With the reds I showed how two different varieties from a single producer (Brun again, another theme), grown on different but proximate soils, a Pinot Noir/limestone and a Gamay/decomposed granite, make two entirely distinct (but very lovely) wines, and then I showed a brace of Cotes du Rhones to give a demonstration of similar and distinct terroirs/altitudes/vintages, the Farjon family's Domine de Dionysos from Uchaux, and Walter MacKinley's Seguret Grande Réserve, 2015 and 2013 respectively, and both singing very nicely. The Mourchon GR is actually still quite reserved and young, you'll be interested to know, even in that relatively moderate vintage.

    Doing this kind of thing makes it very interesting for me too, as it provides an opportunity to visit the wines within different but clear contexts. The wines all showed very well. One interesting thing that I did notice - this particular club still use the old ISO tasting glass that I and thousands of others were compelled to use in the WSET Diploma (and MW) courses back in the 1980s, not much more than a largish sherry copita. I had opened and checked the wines for any faults before I left using my 'standard', a Reidel Ouverture, and I was struck during the tasting as to how much more expressive the wines had been in that glass than the ISOs. Makes me wonder how any of us got through the blind tasting sections of the exams!
     
  6. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    Nice focussed tasting. Splitting into red/white is a good idea. Pretty sure I would get lost with 8 reds or 8 whites.
    Not sure if I have the Ouverture but I have some that look similar: Cab I think. Although I tend to use the burgundy glass for everything as I like the shape :rolleyes:. The first rule of Riedel is wash them the next day !
    What's your view on corks or screwtops ? Some people are very traditional on this and want corks, especially in a restaurant. Amusing when you are still asked to taste a screwtop wine in a restaurant. Seems only New World brave enough to drop corks. I prefer screwtops for whites, and probably for any red that drinks within 10 years. More than 10 years I'm not so sure...
     
  7. eternumviti

    eternumviti pfm Member

    I use Ouverture Red Wine (they're called Ouverture Restaurant now) because the stem is a bit shorter and you can put them in the dishwasher. I like the bowl shape. They're about £5 each, so not as crippling when you break one as the Vinums. The Vinum Chardonnay is a good all purpose smart glass, or better still the Riesling Platinum, which has a taller bowl. The latter is pretty ubiquitous at trade tastings now. I've got a pair of Vinum Burgundy, but they rarely see the light of day!

    Spiegelau, which is owned by Riedel, do a useful all purpose glass too called the Festival Universal Glass. It has a larger bowl than the Ouverture (380/350ml) but the stem length means that it is just too long to fit on the glass rack of my dishwasher.

    I'm happy with Stelvins for white wines that drink young, or basic reds, but prefer cork for anything else. The cork industry is important to Portugal's rural economy too, and southern Spain's.
     
  8. avole

    avole The wise never post on Internet forums

    re corks: don't enter a Dan Murphy's in Australia, then.
     
  9. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    Seems there is a lot more technology with these Stelvin things than I suspected. Certainly Australia is using them on serious reds. Obviously it removes the 2/3% corked bottles problem. The jury is out.
    I imagine quite a few sommeliers are biased as messing about with corks (and drinking a bit of your wine ! o_O) is part of their job.
     
  10. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Golly, do I ever have a lot of soul!

    In Alsace I found that Mader had moved entirely to screwtops, but then Jerome M spent a lot of time in NZ so perhaps it’s not surprising. Someone else I visited had moved over to Diam, but I can’t remember who it was (TBH I’m surprised I remember as much as I do.) Any mention of plastic corks brought forth curdled expressions.
     
  11. avole

    avole The wise never post on Internet forums

    Not just reds, which is why I made the. comment. Last time I was in Oz, the only wines using corks were champagnes and imported wines, as in French. Nearly 90% of the wines in the stores used metal screw caps, and the glare of the sunlight glancing off the tops can be blinding. I also wonder how long it will be before France is forced to follow suit for reasons of export. The jury isn't out, it's already returned the verdict, go metal.

    That said - and bear in mind, that though they do make some excellent wine, Australia has always been roughly 80% about the market - but I'm told by winemakers they allow greater control for the maturation of the wine. As the cognoscenti will be aware, Australia helped revolutionise wine with reds and whites that can and should be drunk young, plus those that take longer to mature, so I'm prepared to accept what they say.

    Big plus is you no longer need to pack a corkscrew when going canoeing or camping.
     
  12. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    Australia/NZ are certainly leading but the vast majority of wine, certainly red wine is still stoppered with corks. The big 3 are Italy, France and Spain and they are overwhelmingly cork (as is California). 80% of what market ?
    I would prefer more Stelvin but not ready to discount the strong preference for cork with traditionalists and our in-house expert EV.
     
  13. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    There are still those that sneer at New World wine. They would be staggered to know how much benign influence it has had on the Old World winemaking !
     
  14. eternumviti

    eternumviti pfm Member

    Enough of that 'expert' nonsense please, mister.
     
  15. eternumviti

    eternumviti pfm Member

    Lots then. And vice-versa now.

    It all originated from the NZ dairy industry. The New World adoption of stainless steel and temperature control cleaned up the entire wine industry. Now they're learning how to make it dirty again.

    Years ago I was in Burgundy with a Californian winemaker, though I'm struggling to recall who it was, might have been Jim Clendenen. He kept raving about how he loved all that 'dirty winemaking'.
     
  16. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    Haha don't worry it is not an abuse. I still tend to believe experts until proven otherwise, or is obvious bias or obvious nonsense. None of which apply to you. (at least on this thread :)).
     
  17. eternumviti

    eternumviti pfm Member

    I'm just not keen on the moniker. The problem is that my 'expertise', such as it is, is very narrowly-based. There are several people on the forum, including you, Marchbanks and PsB, who know far more than I do about a number of wine regions and producers. The wine world is anyway far bigger and more open place than it was when I qualified, and it moves fast. There was a time, too, when not many of us cut the path away from commercial, mass-produced wine and set out in search of true originality, indeed not many wine merchants new about much beyond Bordeaux, Burgundy (mainly negociants) and Port, and they probably hadn't even travelled there, as the big importing agents held grand annual tastings in London. Now the world is packed full of highly informed and qualified young professionals who have often worked in the vineyard and vat room, travelled widely, and really know their stuff.

    I'm biased too, I guess, to both my areas of knowledge, and my subjective tastes.
     
  18. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    I never got into the en primeur thing and its too late now. So by necessity I look at Italy, NW and other areas of France: a jack of all trades master of none. But I'm OK with the 'variety is the spice of life' viewpoint... there is just that niggle at the back of my mind that I'm missing out. After all bordeaux is a whole sub-culture of its own in the UK.
     
  19. eternumviti

    eternumviti pfm Member

    I cut my wine trade teeth in and with Bordeaux, but I rarely drink it now. Fortunately I have one or two customers who possess fine cellars, and are generous hosts to boot.

    I would like to say that it is always a treat, but not necessarily so. When you consider the amount of dosh that has to be forked out for this stuff, you sometimes find yourself wondering what all the fuss is about. There is a very 'cultured' and familiar quality about it though, and when it is on form it can be pretty wonderful. But I can live without it.
     
  20. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    ^^ Interesting perspective. Generally I like a little more fruit than what I understand to be classic Bordeaux. And the few that have impressed are just too expensive to drink on a regular basis. I suspect there must be some names/vintages 'under the radar' that are worth it but I don't know them.
    I have two friends who have drunk a lot of Bordeaux over the decades and know a lot about it.
    Strangely the one who lives in Bordeaux now (and knows more about wine than anyone else I know) is much more open to other wines and actually misses them.
    The other friend will drink only very good Bordeaux for the rest of his life, but then he is rich enough to drink very good Bordeaux for the rest of his life. I'm sure I wouldn't even if I could afford it.
     

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