Wine Tasting: Rhone and Loire (7th Oct 1998)

A fine wine tasting in Glasgow.
The wines were presented in the following groups for comparison:
a. 1 white Chateauneuf;
b. 3 Sancerres;
c. Pouilly Fume and NZ Sauvignon;
d. 1 Chinon;
e. 3 red Chateauneuf-du-Pape;
f. 2 N. Rhone Syrah and 1 Californian Syrah;
g. Late harvest Vouvray and Condrieu.

1. 1995 Clos de Pontifes Chateauneuf Blanc

7th Oct 1998 GBP15 Rhone Table White

Bright gold.
Honeyed, floral nose - warm with a trace of nuts. Slightly oxidised.
Full bodied with ripe marmalade flavours, crisp acids and a warm, alcoholic finish. Dry with oak coming through on the mid-palate.
A unique style of wine - very good now on its own, but I don't think it will develop.

2. 1997 Pinard Sancerre La Clemence

7th Oct 1998 GBP8 Loire Table White

Bright, very pale gold.
Fresh, prickly nose with gooseberries and a trace of sweat!
Full bodied with rich, sweet fruit and quite tart acidity.
Good but still disjointed - should be very impressive with a few more months in the bottle.

3. 1997 Bourgeois Sancerre MD de Bourgeois

7th Oct 1998 GBP10 Loire Table White

Bright, very pale gold.
Slightly pungent nose with a touch of mineral oil and wool - pleasant, but I would have sworn blind it was Semillon!
Full and well rounded with rich, sweet citrus/diesel flavours and very crisp, fruity acidity.
Long, dry finish.
Good now, but I think it will be much more impressive given a year or two to develop.

4. 1996 St Romble, Domaine Sancerre Blanc

7th Oct 1998 GBP8 Loire Table White

Bright, pale straw/gold.
Delicate, leafy nose of gooseberry and cat's piss.
Medium bodied with sweet gooseberry/citrus fruit, good balance and a fairly long, zesty finish.
This should have been lovely, but the bottle was slightly corked. I'll need to retaste!

5. 1996 Tracy Pouilly Fume

7th Oct 1998 GBP9 Loire Table White

Bright, very pale gold.
Much cleaner, fresher and more open style than the Sancerres with aromas of green apples, leaves and citrus.
Medium to full bodied, with opulent gooseberry fruit and creamy acidity.
Long, warm, complex and rounded - a fabulous wine for drinking now.

6. 1996 Vavasour Reserve Sauvignon

7th Oct 1998 GBP13 Marlborough Table White

Bright, very pale gold.
Lovely subtle nose, quite tropical with prickly gooseberry fruit but without the overwhelming alcohol.
Full bodied with rich, sweet gooseberry fruit, spicy oak and crisp acidity.
Warm and rounded with a decent finish.

7. 1996 Perrieres, Domaine de la Chinon Vieilles Vignes

7th Oct 1998 GBP10 Loire Table Red

[Served lightly chilled]
Deep, opaque purple.
Dense, dark fruits on the nose with a trace of oak - enticing.
Light to medium bodied with some juicy, black cherry fruit, plenty of acidity and dry tannins.
Good, dry, peppery finish.
Lovely and light, it should keep developing for a year or two.

8. 1994 Clos de Pontifes Chateauneuf Rouge

7th Oct 1998 GBP15 Rhone Table Red

Deep garnet, browning slightly at rim.
Developed nose with smoky, bramble aromas.
Full bodied with juicy, sweet, dark fruit and plenty of oak. Good fruit acidity and ripe tannins.
Soft and warm with a dry, peppery finish.
Young but very good now.

9. 1994 Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape

7th Oct 1998 GBP18 Rhone Table Red

Almost opaque purple, fading to deep red at the rim.
Enticing, alcoholic nose of forest fruit jam, mushrooms and old oak.
Full bodied with sweet, chewy mulberry fruit, violets, cocoa and integrated oak. Ripe tannins and soft acidity.
Long and very good now - if this gets a chance to mature it will be mindblowing!

10. 1993 Nerthe Cuvee des Cadettes

7th Oct 1998 GBP20 Rhone Table Red

Deep brown/purple colour, some red at rim.
Incredible nose of ripe forest fruits and rotting citrus - the Burgundy lovers among us got quite excited!
Full bodied with ripe mulberry fruit, soft tannins and acidity.
Long, delicious, gamey finish.
Suberb drinking now.

11. 1995 PJA Cornas

7th Oct 1998 GBP13 Rhone Table Red

Opaque purple to red.
Slightly mute nose with lurking black berry fruit, some spice and oak.
Medium to full bodied with rich, bloody, peppery, redcurrant fruit and a dash of spicy oak.
Rounded with a fairly dry finish.
Drinking now but will develop well.

12. 1994 PJA Hermitage Chapelle

7th Oct 1998 GBP50 Rhone Table Red

Opaque purple/red to red.
Deep, inviting nose of mushrooms, mulberries, violets and game - amazingly forward.
Big, full bodied wine with a lovely mouthfilling texture. Flavours evolve through mint, mulberries, leather, tar, raw tobacco.. Wow!
Quite firm tannins and a long, dry finish.
Young but far too drinkable now!
[This wine was so long, and coated the mouth so well, that the following wine was almost impossible to taste - time for waterbiscuits]

13. 1995 Edmund Saint John Syrah Durell

7th Oct 1998 GBP22 USA Table Red

Opaque purple.
Concentrated, slightly confected nose of inky, black fruits - lots of alcohol.
[After Jaboulet's Chapelle '94, the wine seemed strangely metallic - I retasted after a palate cleanup.]
Full bodied and warm with juicy, peppery damson fruit. Good depth, ripe tannins and a long finish.
Very good, dense syrah that needs a few years to show its best.

14. 1996 Aubuisieres, Domaine des Vouvray Marigny Moelleux

7th Oct 1998 GBP18 Loire Dessert White

Bright gold, viscous.
Prickly nose of citrus, mineral oil and wet wool - quite hard to pick much up after the big syrahs.
Full bodied, piercingly sweet and thickly textured. Concentrated flavours of quince jelly, cream and straw. Warm acidity and lots of alcohol.
Gorgeous thick wine with a long, sweet, lingering finish.
Very, very young - a waste now, but hard to resist.

15. 1996 Cuilleron Condrieu Eguets

7th Oct 1998 GBP25 Rhone Dessert White

Bright, deep yellow/gold.
Soft, seductive, honeyed, aromatic nose with plenty of alcohol and a hint of mineral oils.
Full bodied and intensely sweet with flavours of honey, mangos and other tropical fruits. Slightly drier on the finish.
Very young with lots of botrytis and lovely balance.