The bookshelf has been covered in empty bottles for some weeks waiting for a catch up session. When next door's builders drilled a hole into my flat and had to come round to repair the damage, I had to hide them all in the cupboard to avoid giving the wrong impression, so perhaps it's time to get on with it. In order of aperitif to digestif...
Fino Perdido from Sanchez Romate, which the Wine Society are selling for £7.50. It's a complete steal at that price and is going on my "buy some of this every time I buy stuff from the WS" list.
Lilbert-Fils blanketty blank champagne, £32 from the Wine Society. Just my kind of thing, light, fresh, elegant. Would have again.
Chablis 1er cru Vaulorent, Brocard, 2008. I'm trying to eat more fish, which means drinking more white, and for complicated reasons I don't have much in stock at the moment so placed a mixed order with the Wine Society. This Chablis cost £20 a bottle. We thought it was a good example of the genre, with crisp minerality and a great finish. It seemed good value and was drinking well now, but wasn't in quite the same league as the Fourchaume-Vaulorent made by Nathalie and Gilles Fevre.
Terrenus 2011, £10.95 from the WS. I seem to have thrown away the bottle, but this was a Portuguese white. It was light and fresh and clearly had Vinho Verde in its family tree. We thought it would be a nice wine to have in summer with fish and garlic.
Tahbilk Marsanne 2010 from Australia, £9.95 from the WS. G had wanted to try this for some time and compared to bourgogne blanc it's keenly priced. I didn't make tasting notes but it was crisp and dry and we found it interesting enough to drink the whole bottle. Not sure I'll be rushing to have it again.
Thymiopoulos Naoussa, 2011. This was a Greek red from the WS, which cost £10.50. It was billed as being Burgundy in style, and for once this description was actually correct. I was impressed from the first sip and would certainly buy it again. If you didn't know it was Greek, you wouldn't guess.
Beaune Lulune 2010 from longstanding favourite biodynamic producer Emmanuel Giboulot, via the Burgundy Portfolio. G has bought a quantity of this and we thought we'd see how it was getting on. It had a divine tinned strawberry nose, classic Beaune. On the palate it was elegant, precise and pretty. We felt it would improve with age, so the rest is being tucked away for a while.
Moulin a Vent, Cuvee d'Exception, 2009, Trichard. I bought this at a Burgundy Portfolio tasting about a year ago, and it had really come on. It was a dark colour and was rich and intense with black cherry fruit. Quite monster for a beaujolais and I thought it would appeal even to someone who thinks they don't like gamay (tchah). It was drinking well now but might well improve. I've succumbed to two magnums of the stuff so guess I'll get a chance to find out!
L'Etrange, Maison en Belles Lies, 2010. This also came from the Burgundy Portfolio and was one of G's recent purchases. It's a mixture of gamay and pinot noir, but while I'm not always mad about passetoutgrains, I really enjoyed this.
Nuits St Georges les Plantes au Baron, R Dubois et Fils, 2005. I'm not altogether sure where this came from, but it's quite likely that I bought it in France some time ago thinking it was a premier cru. We found it lacking in fruit and rustic but gluggable. The final verdict was "nothing to write home about".
Griotte-Chambertin 1996, Grand Cru, Domaine des Chezeaux. This was a bottle that G had left over from a wine dinner. He told me to lower my expectations beforehand. It was dark and glossy to look at, and on the nose had black fruit, game and leather. It tasted savoury and earthy, and was smooth and well-integrated, but short on fruit and reminded us of a premier cru Gevrey rather than a grand cru. It definitely needed red meat, and we gave it an 8.
Several years ago we had a 1993 from this domaine which was lovely, so this was disappointing. We subsequently discovered by reading Coates that they get their grapes from two different growers, one of which is significantly better than the other, but there's no way of knowing which it's going to be as it's not on the label. This isn't very helpful and would make me wary of buying their wine again.
Happy days - a bottle of Coche-Dury! We'd spot that dreadful label at 100 paces. This was an Auxey-Duresses 2007 and G picked it up in a wine shop in Paris for 68 euros. We drank it with some roast beef. It looked lovely, with silky legs, and on the nose had sweet fruit and ripe raspberries. On the palate I noted it was (expletive deleted) delicious while G said it was clean as a whistle. It had a beautiful sweetness, and was supple and effortless. The finish went on for minutes. An absolute stunner, 10 points on the premier cru scale.
At the time, I attributed this wine's loveliness to the fact that it was made by Coche-Dury, but I've subsequently come to realise that it was also partly the Auxey style which I like very much. Shall certainly be looking out for some more! But probably not from Hedonism Wines, where it costs £126. Ouch.
Delaforce vintage port 1977. I wasn't familiar with Delaforce, but the opportunity came up to buy some of this at what seemed a very good price for vintage port of this age, so we grabbed some. It was complex, not too sweet, with notes of pontefract cake. It had a great finish and was still drinking after 4 days (amazing it lasted that long!) which suggests it still has life left in it. We concluded that while it wasn't first rate port, it was very good, and good value.
And finally, since G has still failed to start his cheese blog, I'm required to cover this topic too. I can't really complain as these are three cheeses which he brought back from the shop in the Nine Streets in Amsterdam. The one in the middle was my favourite, a 4 year old Gouda. They sell cheese online at "E-cheese". I think we may be paying that site a visit soon...