- Dolcetto d'Alba Superiore 2011 (F. Roddolo)
Very substantial, rather tannic, and still quite hard. The fruit seems excellent and I think it just needs more time. A bare and rising.
- Derthona 2012 (Massa)
An intruiging mixture of almost chalky minerality with riesling spice. In fact it is Timorasso. Engagingly different. Top at least
- Chateau Cantemerle 1970
A touch citric and, as many wines from this vintage, a little ungenerous but a very enjoyable, classic Claret in good condition. Top
- Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2007 (Le Mesnil)
Lovely fizz with good aged flavours. Fine acidity, nuts and sawn wood. I have the feeling this would be even better in 5 to 10 years - it seems to have the structure to survive.
- Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 1993 (Au Bon Climat)
Just under 10 years ago I wrote of this wine 'Restrained wine that reminds me more of a Macon than a Californian wine. This isn't showing any signs of age, but it isn't showing many signs of youth either. I'm not sure what to make of it!'. Well I'm still not sure what to make of it! Good (maybe too much) acidity with no signs of age but rather sterile and one-dimensional behind that. Fine to drink, but it gives the impression it has little more to give. maybe
- Chateau Margaux 1982
Joyous. Elegant, but deep. Violets and a touch of cigar. Just so drinkable! A very easy
- Chateau Rausan-Segla 1986
Showed well given it was in such illustrious company. Really very enjoyable with what 1986 tannins there might have been gently integrated. Violets again.
Food excellent by the way.
- Pinot Gris Kitterle 1989 (Schlumberger)
This has the mosty beautiful, bright burnished gold colour with an appealing touch of green. Delicate, rather beautiful, highly evolved yet lively. Fading a little on the finish. Grand, like an aging but ill-maintained hotel. Top
- Riesling Le Dragon 2008 (Josmeyer)
Dry, pure, relatively understated, I am becoming rather keen on this estate. Riesling spicyness of a good sort that refutes the idea that petrol character is some sort of fault. Very drinkable and rather good.
- Muscat Altenberg de Bergbieten grand cru 2010 (Mochel)
I rather like this estate too, and particularly this wine which has a restrained grapey character and a nice length of just slightly off-dry, engaging fruit. Top Alsace Muscat is seriously undervalued. Bare
- Barbera d'Alba Superiore 2008 (Roddolo)
Very old-fashioned, the grape's nose and palate only really emerged after 24 hours open. Blackberry fruit, moderate acid and generally serious wine. Possibly even
- Fino En Rama, Saca de Mayo 2015 (Equipo Navazos)
The fruit comes from Valdespino's Macharnudo and hints at a slightly woody edge that I do not always warm to. This though is so fruity and vinous for a fine and thoroughly delicious.
- Madeira Bual 15 year old (Henriques and Henriques)
Rather pleasant drinking with a tangy Madeira character, but I feel they are sweetening things a touch for the modern market, much as some sherry houses have done. It loses the bite of the real thing for me. Top
- Bloomsbury Brut 2013 (Ridgeview)
An 'English Quality Sparkling Wine' made in Ditchling in Sussex. A Chardonnay dominant fizz with a touch of greeness about it at the moment. Elegant and with fine bubbles. Good stuff that needs more time to be at its best. I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been, but I think three stars for now and with a few years.
- Derthona 2013 (Massa)
A really characterful white made from Timorasso. There's a touch of peach-stone bitterness alongside some spicyness reminiscent of riesling. A rellay stylish, unusual Italian white with further aging potential. Possibly
- Vacqueyras Les Restanques de Cabassole 2011 (Roucas Toumba)
Impressive in its way, but a bit gummy, with that overwrought quality of enthusiastic oak use. Curious because there do not seem to be indications that the estate uses a lot. On the other hand John Livingstone-Learmonth at drinkrhone.com seems to come to a similar conclusion about the 2012. I would be a happier wine drinker if the use of new or nearly new oak barrels was outlawed in most (or even all) appelations. In the end, for me.
- Riesling Cuvee Henrietta, Altenberg de Bergbieten Grand Cru 2008 (F. Mochel)
Singing nicely at nine years old, fairly but not completely dry and rich on the palate. Nice balance and good length. Bare
- Rausan Segla 1988
I had a slightly austere (not in a good way) bottle of this some time ago, but this one is classic Claret in peak condition. Cedary, mature blackcurrant. About time to drink. Bare
- Bolinger 1999
"I'm not a Lager Lout I'm a Bollinger Brut." Actually I'm not, Bollinger is often a bit weightier and and less elegant than my favoutites, but this is rteally nice drinking. I guess it is partly the vintage character that makes their 99 a hit with me.
- Rioja blanco "1894" 2009 (Cosme Palacio)
Ambitious, one might say, but for me overwrought. Possibly, with the right food this works but I just find it a bit heavy and joyless. Others may like it rather more, but to me
- Terlaner Classico 2015 (Cantina Terlano)
A huge contrast to the previous wine, this dances rather than tramples over the palate. I used not to be keen on this sort of understated Italian white but now I love them. It's an odd blend of grapes but that frees it from the tyrrany of "varietal character" and enhances its charm. A really nice example and tremendous value. Top and almost more.
- Champagne Grand Cru Chardonnay Gaia NV (Gonet-Sulcova)
Rather a good grower, I think. This is a prestige bottling with some influence from wooden barrels. Very good indeed.
- Venezio Giulia Vitovska 2015 (Kocjancic Rado)
As one might expect from the variety, this is more spicy and less broad than the Malvasia from this producer and vintage tasted recently. Quite tight currently and I expect it will emerge a little more over then next year or two. good balace and nice finish. A bare again, I think.
- Savigny-Les-Beaune Aux Grands Liards 2005 (Camus-Bruchon)
Very nice, mature Beaune - the fruit hovering between high-toned and deeper and with a touch of minerality. Nice balance, but does not have any particular buzz of terroir, tone or depth to lift it out of the "pretty good" category. A strong
- Fino Perdido 1/15 (Sanchez Romate)
"Entry level" I guess but really drinkable Fino heading towards Amontillado. Lots of character: would make a good partner to appetisers before a meal. (A Wine Society wine.)
- Pinot Grigio 2015 (Cantina Kaltern)
From the Alto Adige, this less well know co-op has produced a very decent Pinot Grigio. It is not immensely complex but it has balance and the feel of a decent Macon about it. It's not that relatively expensive either. Rounded and fruity yet dry an balanced.
- Carso - Kras Malvasia 2015 (Kocjancic Rado)
It has that broad, Malvasia palate that does not suggest particular fruits to me - remeniscent of Marsanne in many ways. This is quite concentrated and has a long, savoury, mineral finish. Just a little angular at the moment and could do with a year or so to round off. This estate in Friuli is in the same area as the great Edi Kante. Very good - even
- Aloxe Corton 1er cru Les Vercots 2005 (Follin-Arbelet)
High toned red fruits, fairly tannic still. Good, but there is a slight question of the maturity of the fruit versus the tannins - will it come into complete harmony?. Certainly needs food at the moment. good Burgundy: top I think - but it might surpeise me in a year or two.
- Maranges 1er cru Les Clos Roussets 2014 (Chevrot)
Maranges is one of the places we might retreat to as the classic Burgundy villages become outrageously pricey. Quite tannic and tending towards the rustic - yet appealingly drinkable.
- Maranges blanc 2014 (Chevrot)
Same comments as the red above in a way, but a little more mainstream but still a way from suave. Bare
- Bricco Appiani Langhe Rosso 2007 (Roddolo)
A cassis Cabernet hidden behind a Barolo structure here. If it is Bordeaux, it is in the 1975 or 1986 mould but with excellent fruit. Very different from a lot of Piedmont cabernet-based "international-style" wines and very, very good. It's out of the mainstream and so hard to judge its future, but to me and rising.
- Champagne Bouzy 1999 (A. Clouet)
Mature Champagne with bruised apple pinot character and good mature fruit. Very pleasant with food but a bit short on elegance to be really first rate otherwise. Bare in the right circumstances.
- Eden Valley Chardonnay 1991 (Mountadam)
Big and slightly blousy matured Chardonnay. Drinking OK for a twenty-five-year-old wine, but not as good as the Petaluma two days earlier.
- Brancott Valley Pinot Noir 2009 (Fromm)
Elegant easy to drink Christmas lunch red. Good acidity, and with berry and currant fruit. Not as obviously Pinot as I would have liked (although obviously Pinot!). perhaps
- Pinot Gris 2013 (Rolly Gassmann)
Deep and medium dry, enjoyable, but lacking elegance. In my younger days I would have enjoyed this more, but it feels clunky and obvious. just
I thought that these would probably not have survived. But all were drinking well or very well.