My tasting notes of fine wines I have enjoyed.
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.
Carménère grape used to be a staple of the Bordeaux clarets but has been largely replaced in France by varieties of the Merlot grape for reasons of yield in the climate of the Bordeaux area, which attracts storms from the Atlantic. Carménère has been successfully transferred to the resurgent Chilean vineyards in the rebuilding since the boom and consequent bust following the liberalisation of Chile (including wine production) after the 1974 reforms under the Pinochet regime. European producers arrived in strength, including producers from Bordeaux including the Rothschilds. So although Chilean wine is mostly known in Europe for its exports of single grape wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, there is production of other grape types which are not exported in large volumes; for example there's a fine Blanc de Noir, a sparking white wine from Pinot Noir grapes.