Original version of this appeared on the-buyer.net.
An amazing year for wine in London with many exceptional tastings.
Abroad, highlights included a trip to Beaujolais, where I was fortunate enough to taste some fascinating old vintages from various producers (including a stunning ’76 from Château du Moulin-à-Vent).
This cemented Gamay’s real capacity for ageing in my mind. I feel it’s one of the few grapes (along with Pinot) that, if handled correctly, can express its terroir extremely clearly. Due to its delicate composition, it thereby acts as a vehicle to portray its origin, and soil type.
My other highlight was a trip to Plaimont Producteurs in Gascony, where we tasted for the first time microvinifications of several long lost grape varietals that are being reintroduced and re-vinified from pre-phylloxera vineyards, as well as varietals with the same concept from the Savoie and Charentes.
I am very pro work being done in the world of wine to re-introduce indigenous varietals. Manseng Noir from Gascony is one to really watch in 2017 and beyond.
Sorrenberg Chardonnay 2014 (Les Caves de Pyrene)
Rich yet subtle apricots and peaches, with a distinct mineral edge. This leads to a brioche finish, almond and yeasty notes. The wine has an unbelievable length.
“Grain + Granit” 2014, Charly Thévenet (Roberson)
The 2014 vintage is my favourite Beaujolais at the moment. This is beautiful. So pure, clean and delicate – black cherries, raspberries and some serious wet stone notes. Exceptional wine.
“Obecanje” 2011, Bongiraud (Sager + Wilde)
From an old clone of Gamay called Monchaud Petits Grains (smaller berries and yield). This Serbian wine is a little richer in style – along with raspberries there’s also plums and blackcurrants here. Very juicy, with a slightly earthy finish.
Clos des Papes, 2003 (auction)
Just a beautiful wine. Earthy, meaty, game notes with raspberries, blackcurrant jam, displaying crème des mûres characteristics with such a long finish. Will age forever.
LIMBIC 2015, BLANKBottle (SWiG)
Pieter Walser’s neurowine: created by tapping into his subconscious, using an algorithm to work out what he likes/dislikes. Yes, really. This is a bigger and richer wine than its other half (Orbitofrontal) with rich peaches, lychees and a saline, fresh edge.
Campolongo di Torbe Amarone 1990, Masi (Berkmann)
A trip to Masi gave me a glimpse into the world of Amarone, and its capacity for ageing. Lovely cherry jam, plums, wild strawberries and undergrowth. Black cherries, with an earthy, cinnamon finish.