Forget everything you think you know about Beaujolais. Owned by the Henriot family who also own Bouchard, this is serious stuff, nothing at all like the Beaujolais Nouveau that raised this region’s profile but did nothing for it’s reputation. This has more in common with the Pinot Noir based wines from the Cote d’Or. Deep, dark fruit and berry flavours. Rich and smooth, with good length and very fine tannins. A great example of the Gamay grape.
We’ve been working our way through our latest container, trying the new arrivals. Some that have impressed so far are the wines from our new Rhone agency, Xavier Vins. Last week we tried out their excellent value Viognier and last night we decided to head for the top and popped the cork on this 2009 Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Cuvee Anonyme’. This is their top Chateauneuf, a blend of grapes selected from several top growers in the area. The exact domains providing fruit for the wine remain a secret, hence the name Anonyme.
A blend of one quarter each of old vine Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah with the remaining quarter made up of various other permitted varieties. Deep purple colour. The nose is big and complex with plenty of ripe, dark fruit characters, spicy notes and a hint of savoury herbs. Full-bodied and viscous, this a massive wine! 2009 was a warm, ripe vintage but while this is definitely a big, modern, fruit-driven style, it’s still fresh with no hint of jamminess. There’s just a hint of oak. Long finish with smooth, ripe tannins.
We recently landed our first shipment from Xavier and were pretty eager to jump in and try the wines. This Viognier is one of the two whites we brought in this time round (we also landed the Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc) and it hails from the Gres de Montpellier and Pic St Loup regions of the Languedoc.
Bright gold colour, with plenty of classic apricot and orange blossom aromas. Viognier is a fairly low acid variety and some new world examples can sometimes seem a bit flabby but there’s none of that here. Medium-bodied, the palate has weight and softness but is dry with lovely balanced acidity that keeps it fresh. A great aperitif or lunch wine and good value too.
This was the staff pick at our 2007 Barolo tasting last night and judging by the post-tasting sales it was wine of the night for many who attended too! 2007 was a warm year in Barolo and in general produced riper, more forward wines with easier-going tannins. This Pio Cesare managed to retain a bit more structure though, and this was part of the appeal.
This was classic Barolo, the perfumed nose all rose, bitter cherry and a bit of earthy goodness. The palate, while softer and more approachable than a more classic vintage, offered fine tannins and acid and terrific depth of fruit with dark cherry flavours and a hint of licorice. While it’s delicious to taste now, 3-4+ years in the cellar should really see this blossom.
We’ve been importing Champagne Beaumet, a small producer owned by Laurent-Perrier, for a few years now. We just landed a new container of it so took the opportunity to pop the cork and try the latest release of the Brut Non-Vintage.
Fine, lively mousse. Very fresh aromas of green apple mixed with some toast and yeasty complexity. Pear and almond notes on the palate, leading to a dry, fresh finish. Good length. Delicious aperitif style offering excellent value.