My tasting notes of fine wines I have enjoyed.
Not the Tuscan Hills, nor a camping on the banks of the Rubicone river crossed by Julius Caesar in 49 BC, but here in sunny Keswick at the foot of Skiddaw (931 m.) we find a chilled bottle or two of Sangiovese Rosato Rubicone goes very well with a salad of walnut and orange with Wookey Hole Cheddar plus French Comté cheeses.
Very light and slightly fruity, well-balanced and not overtly acidic, these bottles of 2020 Sangiovese Rosato “Via Vincini” bought from a local supermarket taste great for a garden lunch in the fresh air of the Lake District dreaming of foreign travel, perhaps appropriately as you could call this a bottle of 2020, the Covid Vintage.
Château Beau-Site, St Estèphe, 2000. Cru bourgeois exceptionnel.
Syrupy is the first word which came to mind on tasting this wine. Nothing wrong, a fine aged claret from the village of Saint-Estèphe on the banks on the Gironde estuary, but it was a little unexciting and now maybe slightly past its peak, now nearly-too-old. Château Beau-Site is a distinct appelation in the Médoc area, so more specific than a Médoc. Château Beau-Site is one of several vineyards in the area owned by the Castéja family, long-time négotiants of Bordeaux.
The wine had a pleasing complexity but oxidised fairly rapidly in half an hour or so after drawing the cork (which had split), but by then this fine claret had been a worthy accompaniment to the leg of lamb which I had roasted for our Easter Sunday dinner and some Stilton cheese.
Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, 2001 - a claret from the gods
Celebration of a family event with a bottle of Pontet-Canet 2001 and roast pheasant. No disappointments with this bottle from my Father’s cellar, the Grand Cru (listed in 1855) delivers the fine muscular old-claret nose, body and that beautiful warm and long-lingering after-taste that comes only from these wines which take more than ten years to reach their best.
Lockdown restrictions mean that only the two of us could celebrate in person within the support bubble rules.
Sort of disappointing, this quaff. Nothing wrong but I had hoped for better though not the stratospheric grandeur of a great bottle of a nearby Château Haut-Brion. Nonetheless, Château Loudenne is one of the classic producers of the Médoc, the vineyards sloping gently down over gravelly ground to the banks of the Gironde Estuary.
As a child on family camping holidays, we used to visit this area between Saint-Yzans-de-Médoc and the better-known village of St. Estèphe both to buy wines for my Father’s cellar and to fly kites at the windy bank of the wide Gironde.
I can only imagine what vin-en-vrac my Father would have come back with for our campsite meals under the pine forests camped at Arcachon. Chateau Loudenne’s sea horse “hippocampe” graphic of that generation of marketing is a reminder of the Bassin d’Arcachon where the sea-horse thrive, one of several marine zoological curiosities of interest to my Father’s academic research at La Station biologique d’Arcachon in the 1960’s.
The wines we enjoyed this weekend:
Denbies Hampshire English Sparkling Brut 2015
St Julien 2002, Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalonde, 33250 Pauillac
Terrazza d’Isula, Niellucciu Merlot 2017, Île de Beauté IGP (Corsica)