Looking back over my notes now I realise that I regretfully missed quite a few wines that I would really loved to have spent some time over: a tableful of Portuguese dry wines ruefully skipped; another table that held nothing but sherries, a missed opportunity to fill in a major gap in my knowledge; the reds of Domaine La Perriere and Domaine Sagat, whose whites I really enjoyed; the first ever craft beer section; and so on.
But such is life, and these things roll around again. Anyway, below are some reds that jumped out at me on the day:
A beautifully rich and intense wine, herb-tinged and deliciously structured. Another cracker from Allegrini, and an interesting mix of 80% Corvina, 10% Syrah and 10% Oseleta, the previously ‘lost’ grape native to the Veneto recently ‘resurrected’ by Masi.
Rodet Bourgogne Pinot Noir
€15.99 from The Corkscrew
For me the generic ‘Bourgogne Pinot Noir’ is something of a minefield. Burgundy is the home of Pinot Noir and where the best expression of the grape can be found, albeit at a price. The more affordable bottles – simply labelled Bourgogne (i.e. Burgundy) – mostly don’t do the region any justice and tend to be thin and cheap-tasting in my experience.
But this is the best generic Bourgogne I’ve come across. It’s noticeably light but has a lovely mineral streak over some delicate savoury flavours. Refreshing and elegant.
Niepoort Rótulo, Dão 2012
€17.50 from The Corkscrew
Dry Portuguese reds are definitely in the ascendancy at the moment, but it’s a style I’m ashamedly not familiar with. Interestingly, Niepoort have opted to prioritise – nay, exalt – the Dão region very prominently on the colourful label ahead of the historic and famous Niepoort name, or indeed even its given
It’s very intense, taut and concentrated but with elegant floral and dark fruit flavours; the tannin is just right and calls out for food. But I won’t event try and pronounce the grapes: Touriga Nacional, Jaen and Alfrocheir.
Ziereisen Tschuppen 2011
€23.95 from The Corkscrew
“This is Pinot Noir”, said the man behind the table (who I later discovered was Ben Mason of Origin Wines). “Or do you mean … Spätburgunder?” said I, twinkle in my eye. “Ho ho ho” we chuckled together, knowingly, for what fun we trade insiders have .
Seriously, this was an amazingly impressive wine, a steal at under €25. It toes the line between the New World and Old World style of Pinot deftly, taking the savoury elegance of the latter and combining it with some headonistic richness of the former. A really notable wine.
Another great value wine from Le Caveau with fresh, juicy, ripe sweet fruit. Given it’s organically produced the value is even more impressive.
Another VGVFM (Very Good Value For Money) wine; medium-bodied, spicy and noticeable tannins that cry out for some meaty food. A traditional blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Cinsault.
A delicious, fresh wine of cherry and red berries but also an underlying savoury note, light but packed with flavour, really beautiful. Again organic; chapeau to Le Caveau for sticking their neck out and producing such ethical, delicious wines for such amazing prices.
€38.95 from The Corkscrew
An incredible, amazing nose of smoky complexity. Outstanding stuff, deep, intense, multi-layered, meaty, taut and with tingling acidity. An outstanding heavy-hitter, made predominantly from Alicante Bouschet with a small percentage of Trincadeira
Château de Pierreux Brouilly Réserve 2007
€24.95 from The Corkscrew
A Beaujolais no doubt! I’m usually wary of the region, which I’m aware is a sweeping generalisation, but good examples for me tend to be few and far between, diamonds in the rough. This is one such wine, though; smooth and delicious with some gentle spice , noticeable tannin and a lip-smacking finish.