Friday, July 14, 2006

Chateau Baron Pichon Longueville 1997

A Lovely well made wine, though perhaps not as great as I was expecting - which will be down to the Vintage more than anything (and perhaps also my storage conditions - need to watch that!) It was nonetheless a delightful wine with flavours of blackcurrant, leather and oak and was perhaps overshadowed by drinking it alongside a good Australian Cabernet which was much fuller and heavier leaving my palate somewhat over-run when it came to this more subtle offering. It still however is worthy of being classed in the good-excellent range and is an aweful lot better than most things you'll find me reviewing on here - but having held onto it for a while I guess I was always going to be a little disapointed having built it up in my own mind. But if you measure a wine on whether you'd spend money on it again then this must be good because I would - which doesn't happen all that often! There are also some pleasing aromas of bbq sauce and vanilla to entice you - but at £30 a bottle it's a lot of money for a wine I'm not gushing over - but that again is probably down to expectations!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Black River Merlot 2004, Romania

A real surprise package for me, I totally expected to hate this and throw the test of the bottle away, but as it was, it was terrible. Don't get me wrong, this is no Petrus and won't win any awards - this is just like thin, alcoholic Strawberry jam with a few hints of redcurrant jelly - personally I'd drink it lightly chilled at a BBQ as it just lacked any class. Not horrid, but not a wine I'll go and buy.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Louis Jadot Meusault 2000

Initially served too cold this was pretty uninspiring, tasting a little bit of smokey lemon juice, however when allowed to warm a couple of degrees (to a proper serving temperature) out came the wonderful aromatic flavours that were previously hidden, bringing extra depth and complexity to the wine - gone was my intention to leave the rest of the bottle alone to whoever happened to come across it and down the hatch it went! Suddenly it developed a lovely richness and creaminess hitherto unshown whilst still retaining the freshness that the citrus acidity brought to the party - tropical fruit New World Chardonnay this is not! With time nutty aromas show themselves more and more and whilst this turned out pretty good - it did tell me that I need to drink a lot more decent white wines in order to learn to really appreciate them in the same way that I go mad for a red wine - maybe that's just me being British but I'd rather spend £25 on a bottle of red than on white (of course I'm also much more likely to spend £5 on a red than a white.)The lovely golden colour of the wine shows it is developping a little age - but I would think it probably ought to continue to age for a while longer yet - and would probably be all the better for it!

Roc de Cambes 1998

Life can't be too bad when you have two vintages of Roc de Cambes within a couple of weeks of each other. This 1998 is 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc which have been fermented in cement tanks and then aged in 50% new French oak for a period of between 15 and 18 months until just ready (we are not told exactly how long they've given it - my guess would be closer to 18.) Cote de Bourg doesn't have the same prestige as many of the other appelations in Bordeaux, yet it produces some excellent wines - and the lowly appelation name means that the price is kept down. Roc is the finest wine from the region - yet it is still around £25 a bottle in the UK - for a good vintage - a fraction of what you might pay for a St. Emilion or a Pomerol. This was lovely and fruity with red berries and a touch a spice - warmed wonderfully with added complexity of cigar box and pencil shavings (sounds odd I know - but not only did I get that - it worked really well in a wine!) I'm not sure it goes onto my must have list - but then that is a pretty exclusive list right now (Tour Figeac & Hollick are the only ones to make it in a long while - for two different reasons) and I would buy a bottle Ch. Tour Figeac over a bottle of this - but then if I only ever drank the same thing life would be very dull indeed and this is rather good - and I am judging it against some serious competition - compare it for instance with a '97 Pichon Baron at a similar price and the Roc wins hands down - is it because I'm a Merlot man - no - the '98 Roc (and indeed the '96) are better wines. Double decant 4 hours before opening the really open it up and release the redcurrant and spice notes.