Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Cambridge Wine Merchants: The wines we tasted on 23rd June

The wines we tasted:

2008 Crémant de Loire Préférence Domaine de Landreau £14.99 
A blend of Cabernet Franc, Chenin and Chardonnay, which spends three years sur latte. Note: clean, lemony fresh, still pale, no sign of evolution, good aging potential.  

2014 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie Château de l’Oiselinière de la Ramée. Bernard Chéreau  £8.99 
From a 10-hectare domaine in Vertou, a commune close to Nantes, this is crisp, lemony and still young. It has the fine balance that is typical of 2014. Can be enjoyed but will happily keep and develop for a number of years.

2014 Petit Bourgeois - Sauvignon Blanc, IGP Val de Loire Domaine Henri Bourgeois - £10.50 screwcapped
Pungently gooseberry and grassy – even a hint a cat’s pee when first opened, this is made from grapes sourced mainly in Touraine. The Bourgeois are well known for paying above the normal négociant price for good quality grapes.

2014 Reuilly Blanc Domaine du Chêne Vert, Domaine Valéry Renaudat £11.99

White Reuilly has to be made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, Blanc Renaudat’s Reuilly won a good number of friends here. It is more restrained than the Petit Bourgeois but has good concentration and would benefit from more time in bottle as it is quite tight in the finish.

From Valéry Renaudat’s website: ‘Né en Berry, je débute mon expérience professionnelle aux Etats-Unis, avant de revenir parfaire mes connaissances dans le Bordelais et en Bourgogne. En 1999, je m'installe sur 2.5 ha de vignes répartis sur les deux appellations : AOC Reuilly et AOC Quincy. Aujourd’hui, avec mon équipe, j'exploite 18 hectares avec les cépages sauvignon, pinot noir et pinot gris.’
(Born in Berry, I started my professional wine experience in the United States, before returning to France for spells in Bordeaux and Burgundy. In 1999 I started my own domaine with 2.5 hectares of vines: split across the appellations of Reuilly and Quincy. Today with my team I have 18 hectares of vines planted with Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

2013 Menetou Salon Le Prieuré des Aublats Domaine Henri Bourgeois
Unlike the Reuilly this Menetou Salon from the Bourgeois stable and from vines on clay/limestone is more ready to drink – lemony, lightly grassy, well balanced with good length. 

2014 Château de l’Abbaye Morlat, Pouilly-Fumé £14.99 
This domaine in the St Laurent commune Pouilly sur Loire to the north/north east of Saint Andelain.
Still young and quite restrained on the nose, attractive texture and some complexity. A little tight in the finish at the moment, this Pouilly-Fumé should age well.

2012 Sancerre Rouge La Croix Renaud Clément et Florian Berthier
The Berthier’s own a total of 8.5 hectares in Sancerre – Sury-enVaux and Saint-Gemme-en-Sancerrois (to the north of Sury) with the vines coming from the maternal side of the family. Jean-Marie adds a further 10 hectares in the Coteaux du Giennois.  

Over the last 20 years there has been a revolution in the quality and ambition of the Pinot Noirs from the Central Loire Vineyards. This medium weight Sancerre Red has attractive, delicate red cherry fruit. Their 2014 is likely to have more concentration. The Berthiers also make a good, pure Pinot Noir in the Coteaux du Giennois – called Inedit, which is stocked by Cambridge Wine Merchants but was not in the tasting. 

2014 Cuvée du Domaine, Bourgueil Joël Taluau and Thierry Foltzenlogel £9.99
This well-known domaine has 28 hectares four of them in Bourgueil and the rest in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil. Sadly Joël Taluau died suddenly in June 2013. The estate is now run by Thierry Foltzenlogel, the son in law, and Clarisse his wife and Joël’s daughter.

The early-bottled 2014 Bourgueil has lots of the juicy, perfumed fruit now associated with the 2014 vintage in the Loire.  Good value at £9.99.

2012 La Chapelle, Chinon, Domaine La Jalousie, Cravant-les-Coteaux £18.99
The prestige cuvée from Domaine de la Jalouise. This softly and quite lightly textured wine raises the interesting question whether it is worth releasing a prestige in a difficult vintage like 2012, especially when it will be compared to vintages like 2014. It is difficult to claim that the 2012 Chapellle is worth paying nearly twice the sum that will secure a bottle of the Taluau and Foltzenlogel Bourgueil. I know which one I would buy…..

2011 Coteaux du Layon Tri de Vendange Domaine du Landreau £19.99
Domaine de Landreau is owned by Raymond morin, who also owns Domaine la Jalouise in Chinon. This Coteaux du Layon comes from vineyards in Saint-Lambert and the neighbouring St Aubin-de-Luigné.

2011 is a very good sweet wine vintage and this attractive Layon is delicately sweet without huge concentration, which makes it a more versatile than a super-concentrated cuvée. As such it shows the stupidity of referring to these sweet wines as dessert wines. This 2011 will be much better drunk as an aperitif, with blue and hard cheeses rather than many desserts, which will tend to mask the sweetness and heighten the acidity. Alternatively enjoy a glass at the end of a meal in place of a dessert.


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