My tasting notes of fine wines I have enjoyed.
Today is the third Thursday in November: « Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé ». Montmelas is one of the grand châteaux of Beaujeu, the village which gives its name to the Beaujolais wine. There’s a real castle to visit with five centuries of family tradition. And you can stay night or two in one or other of the towers of the castle. All of course in promotion of their wines.
There’s been lots of pre-publicity that the vintage of 2017 will be small and not of good quality because of hail storms, there’s also been speculation that the Beaujolais gamay vines escaped the worst of the hail... so it’s rather interesting to now try a bottle of vin primeur, Beaujolais Nouveau 2017.
Saint-Julien clarets are reckoned to be amongst the finest available because of the well-drained soil and their many generations of experience since the growers were listed back in 1855. My Father first bought bottles of Château Léoville-Barton in honour of our neighbours in Cambridge, the Bartons. This bottle of 1989 vintage was one of the last bottles of Léoville-Barton he laid down for drinking much later. The same year, 1989, he also inscribed and presented to me a copy of Féret’s classic guide Bordeaux and its wines.
I’ve looked after this bottle for more than thirty years since my Father gave it to me, unceremoniously saying “Keep this a little while, it’ll improve with age”. His gift wasn’t linked to anything specific but I now realise that buying a number of these bottles had been his own way of marking his sixtieth birthday.
A bottle of the unusual Vin Jaune, Arbois appellation contrôlé, from Montigny in the Jura region of France, that's the low mountains between the Rhône and the Alps. Vin Jaune is matured in a vat under a layer of yeast and then bottled in bottles of 620ml capacity and a characteristic shape, sealed with wax (as would be a port wine).
We’ve been enjoying three bottles of Tempranillo wine from north Spain over this stormy Easter weekend: Ribera del Duero of Marques de Almeida 2014 (Sainsburys £7.99), Allende la Vega 2013 (Waitrose £9.99) and Reserva 2011 (Tesco £6.99). They’re not quite cheap enough for “everyday” drinking neither are they in the “special occasion only” price range. All three have surprised with their complex flavours from a single grape wine. Here are our notes and conclusions.