Over the past little while, I’ve been tasting wines from TWD’s cellar to make sure they are still in good condition (yep, that is the real reason for sure!). Here are some of the highlights.
DOMAINE RASPAIL-AY GIGNONDAS 2008 & 1998
Founded in 1854 with 18 hectares under vine planted to Grenache (80%) Syrah (15%) and Mourvedre (5%) proprietor Dominique-Ay keeps things very simple at Gigondas’ (a highly underrated appellation in Southern Rhone) finest address – one red and one Rosé. The Raspail-Ay Gigondas reflects the appellation’s characteristics faithfully in an elegantly robust style which needs four or so years for the tannins to meld with the wine.
The 2008 shows all the youthful Grenache dark fruits, with raspberry and rose lift backed up with a strong savoury streak, lovely fine structure and a mouth-filling weight. Needs a bit of air but is lovely.
The 1998 shows stunning similarities to the 2008 with more leather and earth characters coming through. Still altogether and in great health.
CHATEAU DE BEAUCASTEL COUDOULET DE BEAUCASTEL 2008
One of the top Chateauneuf du Pape producers. Stunning wines that age well and impress no end. One of the few producers to actively use all the 13 permitted varieties. This wine is from their vineyards just outside of the Chateauneuf boundary but still offers great depth and plenty of rich fruit. Dense fruit cake, chocolate, earth, gravel, leather, game, olives and spices. Very dry palate with firm tannins but with the flesh to balance it out. Opens up with air and offers some red fruits and roses.
ROCKFORD DRY COUNTRY BAROSSA VALLEY GRENACHE 1995
An icon of the Barossa and Australia. They make great wines and wines to last. This is more red berries and a hint sweeter than the Rhones but no less impressive or drinkable. The extra fruit and floral components balance out the strong meaty, peppery and leather notes.
COLLECTOR WINES LAMP LIT WHITE 2010
Small batches and made by hand with a lot of care. The fruit sourced around the Canberra District, these wines have been impressive since day one. A classy example of Marsanne (with a hint of Roussanne and Viognier) – really fragrant, honeysuckle, peach and melons with a floral lift. The palate is rich and generous of flavour but is not fat or oily. There is the slightest hint of funk/doughy/leesy character which adds a nice dimension. Really lovely drinking.
DOMAINE AUX MOINES SAVENNIERES-ROCH-AUX-MOINES 1997
Savennieres is a neighbour of Vouvray but not nearly as well-known region with only Nicholas Joly producing wines that you hear of. This Domaine, headed by a clearly talented Mother & daughter team makes some truly fascinating wines. A lovely example of older Chenin Blanc. Minerally with tight acid, pepper and spices. Pears and stone fruits. Lovely floral lift. Showing some caramel development with a hint of smoke. The palate is rich but with a steely dryness and a lime like acid streak.
DOMAINE BAUMARD SAVENNIERES 1996
A sadly unheralded producer of some of the best whites in the world. Again, all made from Chenin Blanc and made with love and attention to terroir. These wines will age for a long time, but make some fascinating drinking all through their life. Very clean and pure, precise minerally acid that everything else is built around. Showing youthful stone fruits, stones and a hint of honey. This is a great drink.
FRANKLAND ESTATE ROCKY GULLY RIESLING 2010
Frankland Estate is one of Australia’s best Riesling producers. Making wines from the Frankland River Region in Southern Western Australia, they use a lot of German, Austrian and Alsatian techniques to make textured and complex Rieslings and more. This is one of their entry level wines and looking to be bargain of the year! Floral, lovely layers of flavour and great structure. This a stunning example of what they can do.
KILLIBINBIN BLEND LANGHORNE CREEK 2002
Langhorne Creek for many years has been bolstering the big brand wines from South Australia – mostly anonymously. Which is a shame because the region has great potential in its own right. This is a lovely Cab/Shiraz blend that has richness, plenty of flavour – dark and red berries, leather, spice, earth and a hint of spirit (without being hot). The palate is lush and delicious. Drinking beautifully now.
JOSEPH FAIVELEY CLOS DE ROI MERCUREY 1ER CRU 1996
Faiveley are a large business in Burgundy who own large parcels all over the Cotes. Including 70ha in Mercurey – a mostly overlooked region South of the Cote d’Or. The wines here make a lighter, more minerally, cleaner style. But as this wine shows, they still offer great drinking AND great value. Minerals, iron stone with rose petals, raspberries and tart red fruits. The palate is lean and clean with fine grain tannins that linger. Really impressive drinking.
DOM MONGEARD-MUGNERET CHAMBOLLE MUSIGNY 2004
A lovely producer of silky, rich Burgundies that are drinkable young, but have a surprising knack of holding on for longer than you may think. This is a really impressive effort from a difficult year. Lots of red fruits, dark plums and olives with a hint of stem. Shows the typical Chambolle like silk, flesh and vibrancy.