The hardest job in the world? Tasting stock, August 2016
Although we often joke about what a hard task it is to have to constantly taste wine 'so you don't have to', it is an important and necessary part of our responsibility to our customers. For every 30-40 mature wines that we taste, we will find a wine that has 'died' in some way or another which is discreetly removed from the website and destroyed (or, if it has just become inconsistent from bottle to bottle, it becomes one of our "drinking lottery" wines at home).
Wine is organic and has a limited life-span. Of course, winemakers do make wines to last and can aid the longevity process with ageing, fortifying and grape selection.
Patience is a virtue
Occasionally a wine will go through a stage of appearing to be poorer than expected but this is not the same as becoming undrinkable. For instance, we found that a number of 2007 Beaujolais appeared a bit dull for a couple of years but recently the same wines are vibrant and very drinkable. Gamay does that! Patience is, indeed, a virtue.
Here are some of the wines tasted during August 2016. You will notice that we check our older wines more regularly than the newer as they can be more volatile and changeable. These wines are ready to drink now but still have some ageing potential:
We are big fans of mature wines, especially whites. This is a very good mature wine and, to get the most from it, do not chill it very much at all or you will miss out on most of the aromas and flavours. The colour is lovely, a deep emerald green which promises much. Bring the glass to your nose and you will get the most elegant aroma of honeyed and perfumed kiwi fruit and citrus. On the palate the elegance continues, as do the kiwi fruit and lime. There is a long, pleasant finish.
This is a beautifully clear ruby wine with no hint of purple at all. After eight years, the nose is still fruity but with other aromas coming through. The strawberry and raspberry dominate but there are meaty and mushroom aromas and a touch of forest floor. The maturity is far more apparent on the palate with stewed plums heading the flavours. The original red fruits are still there but their lightness has developed into a lovely dark consistency. The tannins are not too strong and the acidity is balanced perfectly.
This is a lovely example of Ticinese Merlot and shows why we love Swiss wine so much!
A beautifully clean yellow-green with tremendous legs. The perfumed, floral nose is heady and filled with blossom, banana and citrus fruits. There are undertones of mulch and sun-filled forest glades. On the palate the acidity is quite pronounced but the balance is not off at all. The flavours of pomegranate and lime dominate.
For anyone who has never enjoyed the Zierfandler-Rotgipfler blend, this is a must try. For those who have, this is a must buy!
This is a glorious wine. Elegant, sophisticated and superbly crafted yet perfectly accessible.
The nose is all about the grape. This is Riesling royalty with diesel and citrus combining beautifully. In the mouth the elegance continues with creamy honeyed flavours and textures combining with the tropical and citrus fruit to create a very well balanced dry wine. The finish is very long and lovely.
The 2008 has a lovely nose of melon, apricot, banana and lemon with herbs and spices dancing in the vanguard. These flavours continue into the mouth with panache and plenty of zing. Despite its age, this wine seems as fresh as if it were bottled last month. There is a little creaminess, which may be because of the age, but that just enhances the pleasure.This is a lovely wine and well worth getting while it lasts.
The 2008 is as crystal clear as expected. Whilst the nose may be a little more subdued than when first bottled, the aromas of vanilla and citrus fruits are still very dominant. The mango and banana come more to the front in the mouth with some lovely creaminess in the finish.
The 2011 is really coming into its own now. The cherry aromas and flavours are still more red than black. The violets are there in bunches on the nose and the texture is gorgeous. It is quite light in colour and texture but fills the mouth with flavour. Lovely legs and a lovely finish which lasts for a long time. This is another vintage that is very much ready to drink now but has the staying power to continue for a few more years yet.
This is a lovely Brouilly which gives all that you might hope for. Slightly darker than its northerly neighbours (Brouilly is the furthest south Beaujolais Cru) it manages to be a quite robust and bold wine. Brouilly typically manages to create wines that show off the Gamay fruitiness and spiciness more than the rest of Beaujolais and this wine is no exception.
On the nose the spices are dominant with cloves and cinnamon leading mainly dark plum and black cherry. The aromas continue in the mouth with the fruit reddening slightly and the spices still strongly present.
This is both light and rich, a delightful and elegant powerhouse, a paradox of style and flavour which is a real treat.