Wereham Sign Gary Trouton

Odd Bins

September 2006

Giles takes a canter around the wine bins for us.

Odds & Ends.

Hallo! More tales from the world of wine, apologies in advance for their being no overall theme this time, but with France and Spain closed for business tastings are rather thin on the ground and I've had make do with my own, not insubstantial, list of encounters for inspiration. But before I tell you of how I blown my pocket money this month a little fairytale for you...

Once upon a time there was plump wine broker who worked in London for a small, but perfectly formed wine brokers selling wine to the Far East. Although the trade was mostly for cases of claret costing about the same as a small house in Wereham, a few of his more discerning (loaded) clients kept on ordering the same wines; Chateau Rayas 2001, a wine that is without question THE name in Chateauneuf du Pape and from the other end of the Rhone, the Hermitage La Chapelle 1982. Now no matter how hard the wine obsessed broker tried and no matter how many tastings he went to he never came into contact with this pair of no mystically thought of bottles.

Now the increasingly elderly wine bod finally realised that unless he dived into his pocket and forked out the ludicrous sum of cash that was required to buy said wines (around £130 each) it was more than likely that they would join the ranks of Romanee Conti and Le Pin as 'well I'm sure that it's overrated anyway!" Then one fine day his fairy godfather invited him to dinner and what did he have adorning the table? You bet. Anyway to cut a long story short, he came, he tried, he...felt crushingly disappointed and drank the Muga Reserva 2002 (£12 Majestic) and the Marsannay 1999 Chateau du Marsannay (£10.99 Majestic). The moral of the story? Well with the exception of certain champagnes, and by certain I mean Krug, just Krug, spend over £50 a bottle and you are buying not wine but rarity value and fashion. Oh, and obsessing about wines is not clever...and slightly weird.

But back to the real world. There have been some extremely good offers knocking about the mo. Tesco have got a rather good deal on the Blason de Bourgogne Montagny 2004 (just don't try and order it from the Tesco.com (grrr!) At £10.99 there are frankly better bets even in the hallowed world of white burgundy, but at just £5.99 it's really rather hard to beat, with its luscious red apple and peach fruit, touches of hazelnuts and peaches hints of refreshing limes. It's a bit too weighty to fly solo, so try it with white meats, poultry and the like and you'll get the best of it.

From the same producer but in a rather different mould is the Cremant de Bourgogne Rose (£5.99 Waitrose). Cremants are sparkling wines that are created in all the major wine regions of France, though by virtue of the fact that Burgundy is the home of pinot noir and chardonnay it has something of head start in the quality stakes. This one has a lovely salmon pink colour, soft, fragrant nose of raspberries and roses and a lovely palate of cherries and strawberries with just a touch of yeastiness. I'll be honest here; I'm something of a connoisseur of sparkling wines, by both necessity and curiosity, and for the money (and quite a lot more) this is about as good as it gets, so if summer does ever return, get some in while you can.

On to reds and another Rhone wine, this time one the doesn't disappoint and doesn't cost a fortune, is the Chateau Saint Maurice 2004 (Waitrose 2004) Inky purple in colour and suffused with wonderfully generous quantities of black plums, prunes, cherries all deliciously spiced with nuances of black pepper corns and spices. Get this while you can, the 2005 will be better but will be so tough you'll not just have to let it breathe, you'll need a pick axe to get inside it!

Last but by no means least, if you have eight pounds burning a bottle sized hole in your pocket and are interested in trying to shiraz that has personality, character and, God forbid, character, then give the St Hallet's Faith a whirl (Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose). St Hallet's have resisted the temptation of practically every other winery in Australia to produce stewed, insipid charmless wines whose only claim to fame or individuality is how badly they can stain your shirt when you spit it out on the basis of it being not worth swallowing (I speak of times tastings of course...well, mainly!) Anyway, the Faith has lashings of freshly crushed blackcurrants, green peppers, raspberries and mint all delivered in a medium bodied, crisp and well rounded body. Yum, yum!

Well more soon news of out inaugural tasting soon

Happy drinking!


Giles Luckett

Copyright remains with independent content providers where specified, including but not limited to Village Pump contributors. All rights reserved.