Saturday, October 10, 2015

Recent drinking round-up, 10th October

As so often happens, various things have been drunk but not properly recorded so some catching-up is in order.

I picked up this Vieux Calvados in Magnum in Beaune last year. We were doing some shopping on the Saturday morning and I was outside the chocolate shop next door attempting to avert disaster as a bottle of marc had made a bid for freedom from its bag - memo to self: beware string handles whose knots have a tendency to come undone! - when my phone rang. It was ACC telling me to get to Magnum tout suite. Seconds later, I arrived to find a bunch of random things sitting on the counter which were clearly recent arrivals. They included some old Roulot marc and this bottle of 1945 Calvados. An offer was hastily made for the pair of them, and I became the happy owner of this rarity.

It was so rare, in fact, that no entry could be found for this vintage on Wine Searcher or anywhere else but I knew that Calvados of this age is very, very expensive and subsequent research revealed that the 1937 vintage is available for 2,500 euros! Ouch. Fortunately for me, the proprietors of Magnum had not yet gone onto the internet to research market prices and I paid less than £100. I put it aside for a special occasion but then plans for said occasion were abandoned so it was decided that it could be opened after all. Hurrah!

Of course, I failed to make notes, but it was discernibly Calvados, with appley flavours and a slightly green tinge, as opposed to some of these old spirits where the boundaries between e.g. marc and brandy start to diminish as time goes on. I was surprised by how fiery it still was. We enjoyed it but I think my yearning for old Calvados has now been sated.

A few weeks ago I placed another order with the Wine Society mostly consisting of sherry and treated myself to a 50cl bottle of this Osborne Sibarita 30 year old oloroso. I brought a bottle of this to the SPNS last year (reported here) and enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed this bottle very much too! It really is something very special - seriously intense and complex - and although it costs £21, that price is better than anywhere else, and 50cl is a convenient size. After drinking this, it's been a struggle to go back to bog-standard normal sherry.

This Cremant d'Alsace finally arrived (thanks to the Burgundy Portfolio) and G and I have drunk one bottle so far. It's made by Vignoble des 2 Lunes who are a biodynamic operation, from Pinot Auxerrois grapes. I found it fresh, clean, and elegant with hints of apples and cream. It went down very easily and made a good aperitif. The back label indicates that it is from the 2011 vintage and while I don't think there's any rush, it's good to go and I doubt whether it will improve with age.

At the other end of the scale, as it was quarter end the other night, G decided it was time for another bottle of Latour and contributed this 1968 from his stocks. I hadn't done any homework on it so it came as something of a surprise - it didn't shout Latour in the way that Latour normally does. It was very smooth with a nice viscosity but there was basically nothing going on until you got to the finish when it blossomed. It was a very nice old claret, but not what I was expecting. Latour is normally majestic, complex and cerebral and this wasn't. We thought it went better with food and that it filled out slightly towards the end - it had been decanted about half an hour beforehand. G said that 1968 was a "minor vintage" and that this was considered the best of the wines made that year. It was interesting to have it, but I don't think we'll be rushing to buy any more.

Finally, we recently received some much-awaited halves of wine from Emmanuel Giboulot and naturally a vertical tasting ensued! This was the Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits en Gregoire and the label has undergone some changes between 2009 and 2012. When comparing two wines the likelihood is that one will be go down better than the other and in this case I was surprised - I was expecting to prefer the 2009 but in fact the 2012 had it. The 2009 was quite earthy whereas the 2012 had that pure, scintillating quality that we associate with Giboulot's wines. I'll be interested to try more of both of them and see if this was due to bottle variation or if it applies more generally.

I have a short trip to Burgundy planned at the end of October to see how the 2014s are coming along. In preparation, I've been trying to improve my French using an online programme called Duolingo. This is quite fun although I'm not sure that my new vocabulary of sharks, whales, turtles, bees and monkeys is necessarily going to be much help in the cellars of the Cote d'Or. Fortunately I have a copy of Bourgogne Aujourd'hui to even up the balance! À bientôt!

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