Notes on a Southern French dinner.
1996 Pol Roger Brut – interesting to taste this soon after trying the same vintage of Blanc de Blancs. This was showing some colour, a nice yeasty nose and finished with some caramel and apple notes that were very pleasant.
Served with a Tielle Setoise (tart of tomato and octopus):
2011 L’Hopitalet Cigalus Aude Hautrive – this Languedoc blend of 70% chard, 20% Viognier and 10% sauv blanc bu Gerard Bertrand was showing only the sauvignon blanc in the nose despite it being a minority component. The chard popped up immediately in the mouth with rich vanilla notes and the Viognier reported in late or possibly never, although there was some added richness as the wine warmed a bit. Very good.
With rabbit and tomato compote terrine, celeriac remoulade and an interesting salad of cherries and radicchio:
1995 Santa Duc Gigondas Hautes Garrigues – I loved this wine on release and it just keeps getting better, although I have to say it has now plateaued and should remain at this state for several years. Still dark colour and lightening only a but at the edges. A nose of mature Rhone dark fruit with roasted plum, cinnamon and earthy notes, not overly warm. Lots of acidity and tons of concentration with a very lengthy finish. Yum.
2007 Perrin Gigondas La Gille – also dark, and with a much sweeter but less differentiated nose of sweet dark cherry fruit and that sweetness carried through on palate with obvious oak and butterscotch notes. It took awhile to open up and it became less sweet with food. I preferred the classic Santa Duc, but this was also an impressive showing.
With Filet de canard, lentils and ratatouille:
1998 Dom. La Janasse CNduP – this was the regular bottling ( I am sitting on a little Cuvee Chaupin from 95 and 98, wondering when to broach them). Black olive, leather and smoke in the nose, mellow in the mouth with some nice flavours and soft tannin, drinking very well now. Good wine, mature.
2004 Dom. de Pegau CNduP – I had great expectations for this, having some waiting in my cellar. It showed good depth in the nose, a sweet spicy entry, and excellent weight, but I couldn’t get over the impression that it just wasn’t singing at full volume just yet and I think it will become even more impressive with time. Patience!
With an apricot and frangipane tart (almonds seem to go naturally with apricots!):
2002 Abbé Rous Banyuls ‘Helyos’ – I liked this a lot. Warm nose of blackberry jam, very dark colour, and big flavours on palate, but not overly sweet, nor ripe. a delicate balance that worked for me. What a great Port substitute!