Nearly a dozen new bits and pieces in the last month.
1) Domaine du Vissoux Moulin a Vent "les Deux Roches".
Cracking Beaujolais cru from Pierre-Marie Chermette. Drawn from two lieu-dits - Rochegres and Rochelle, this is a minimal intervention wine, wild yeast ferment, unfiltered and usually unfined these are rustic style beaujolais packed with flavour and intensity, but with body and depth, which gives them a bit more ageability.
2) Jasper Hill Georgia's Paddock Heathcote Shiraz
Ron Laughton and his daughter Emily are making one of the best shiraz' to come from Australia. Classified by Langtons as Outstanding, this is easily in a league with Henschke's Hill of Grace. Dense berry fruit flavours with licorice and white pepper, it fills the glass with its cocktail of flavours.
3) Domaine de Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape 1998.
Its getting harder to find mature Chateauneuf these days. The popularity of it has diminished stocks and means that the prices have gone skywards. While Vieux might not be in the stratospheric league of Rayas or Beaucastel, it is undoubtably a benchmark for the region. The Bruniers have done much to refine their wines in over twenty years of winemaking. Todays chateauneuf is more accessable, yet denser of flavour, with greater body, yet refined drinkability. A true classic.
4) Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz, Clare Valley, Australia 1989
Regarded as one of the foremost shiraz' in Australia, the Armagh is very much a typical Aussie shiraz. Intensely flavoured fruits with a well balanced backdrop of oak influence and well integrated fine tannins. It is exceptionally rare to find a mature example. I managed to source two bottles.
5) Chateau La Freynelle Bordeaux Blanc 2005
A white bordeaux with a screwcap!! Fabulous white, I tried this vintage at the CIVB which is the professional body of wine in Bordeaux. They have a fabulous bar where you can try small pours of upto a dozen wines. Each month they change the wines until they have cycled though all their members. Crisp fresh and great value wine, and lets face it, its not often that you find yourself describing a French wine as value for money!
6) Intriga Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile 2005
An interesting new wine from Chile, a mix of old and new. Old vineyards with old vines, new winemaker, new techniques, a mix of old world experience in Italian consultant Alberto Antinori and new world winemaker Cristian Correa. Full bodied with a rich velvety fruit structure, hints of dark cocao and spices - Maya Gold chocolate! - followed by a silky smooth finish and lingering black fruit flavours. A real steal from an area who's potential is begining to flourish.
7) Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Merlot, Wrattonbully, S.Australia.
Since I first heard the name Wrattonbully Ive been dying to have a wine from there on my wine-list. Its taken over five years, but the wait is worth it for this one. A joint venture between Brian Croser, Jean-Michel Cazes and Society Jacques Bollinger this has been gaining rave reviews from James Halliday, Jeremy Oliver and Huon Hooke, as well as Andrew Jefford, Matthew Jukes, Stephen Spurrier and Jamie Goode. Ive not tasted it yet, so Im going to reserve comment till I have and post it separately.
8) Henschke Hill of Grace 1987.
Ive have to say Im a touch worried about this one. I reckon it might be at its peak or in decline. Worryingly Henschke have missed it off their websites vintage table, and the last reference I can find to it, is in Hallidays Classic Wines, which he declares it to be drink now. The real worry is that was printed in 1999, so it could be past it. But we wont know till we open the bottle.
9) Chateau Teyssier St Emilion Grand Cru Classe 1999.
We are currently on the 2003 vintage just now, which despite its youth is drinking remarkably well. Ive managed to secure two cases of 99, which should be fantastic at the moment. (Again im buying blind, trusting to the reputation of both the merchant - provinance- and the estate of Jonathon Maltus.)
10) Chateau Cissac 1996, Cru Bourgeous Haut Medoc
We bought three cases of this two years ago from Farr Vintner and it was absolutely marvelous. So weve ponied up for another two cases, this time through someone else. It cost a bit more, but the wine is worth it. Solid performing Cru Bourgeous, its never let me down yet.