These are notes from a private tasting I attended. A small group of us were given a selection of top french wines, which were presented blind, normally in pairs.
Bright, even pale gold.
Delicate, aromatic, slightly honeyed nose with a hint of oxidisation and notes of apricots and toast.
Medium to full bodied, luscious and thickly textured with sweet spiced apple and raisin flavours.
Quite toasty and very well balanced with mouthwatering citrus acidity throughout.
Very good now.
[Guess: Marsanne/Roussane ?]
Bright, even pale gold.
Plenty of alcohol on the nose and buttery, raisin and citrus aromas.
Full bodied and alcoholic, with lots of alcohol and flavours of buttery oak, minerals, and lemon/melon/floury apple fruit.
Almonds, fruitcake, vanilla and cream come through on the long, spicy, dry finish.
Very soft and approachable.
[Guess: Californian Chardonnay, but not for aging]
[Blind, Purchase price: UKP14.5 in 1996]
Garnet/red gradually paling to brick red - mature.
Developed nose of redcurrants and black cherry with notes of charred oak - delicate and mature but not tired.
Medium bodied with rich, spicy blackcurrant, tobacco and cedar flavours; wonderful citrus acidity; great length and a peppery, tangy oak finish.
[Guess: Italian Barbera, 5 to 6 years old]
[Blind, UKP14.5 in 1996]
Deeper in colour - red/purple paling evenly to rim.
Mature, beefy, vegetal aromas with some raisined fruit - slightly dumb.
Medium bodied and dry, with tart cherry/forest fruit flavours, hints of tobacco, and good acidity throughout.
Long finish with tangy oak and almond flavours.
[Guess: Italian Barbera again - seems too spicy and acidic to be Pinot Noir]
[Blind, UKP22 in 1994]
Young and opaque with a purple/red core and some pinking at the rim.
Brooding, alcoholic, slightly dumb nose of vanilla, pepper and spice.
Full bodied with spicy, earthy, mulberry fruit flavours, lots of alcohol, tangy citrus acidity, ripe tannins, and a long, dry, pepper and leather finish.
Excellent grip, concentration and balance with complex flavours.
Drinkable now but could do with another few years.
[Guess: Rhone Syrah - reminds me of Jaboulet's La Chapelle 1991]
[Blind, UKP 13 in 1998]
Opaque black/purple with some paling at the rim.
Restrained nose of capsicums, cassis, violets and orange peel.
Very full bodied with spicy, alcoholic, mulberry and cassis fruit flavours.
Nicely balanced with juicy acids and firm, submerged, tannins and a long, peppery finish.
Young, old-world, hot-climate wine.
[Guess: Grenache dominated Chateauneuf]
[Blind, UKP 20 in 1998]
Very deep purple/red to red.
Gloriously rich and inviting nose with inky, perfumed, spicy, earthy, bloody aromas and plenty of alcohol.
Full bodied and alcoholic, with flavours of coffee, black chocolate and forest fruits.
Tangy orange/grapefruit acidity and firm underlying tannins lead into a long finish of tobacco, oak and nut flavours.
Complex, intense and drinking superbly now and over the next 4 to 5 years.
Very deep purple/red to red at rim.
Deep lurking nose of black fruit, violets and tar.
Full bodied, warm and rich with flavours of raisined black fruits, tar and spice.
Rich, bracing tannins and good acidity through to a long, broad, almondy finish.
Gorgeous now and over the next 3 to 4 years.
[Guess: Northern Rhone Syrah - some development but a beast of a vintage.]