A friend invited me to attend a blind tasting. I had no other information than that we would have two whites and eight reds and that for some of the reds there was a unifying theme but possibly there would be jokers in there, too. The horrifying thing for me was we had to give points out of 100.
Vesevo Fiano di Avellino 2010 was a fun Campanian white: somewhat reductive, but steely and bracing on the palate. I thought it very attractive. 89p.
Planeta Cometa 2005 was a Fiano from Sicily and was also an attractive wine but it had more an old wine smell than anything one could call typical for the grape. Quite rich, seems stylistically a bit like LdH white Rioja though not so exquisite. Still, since I had to, I said 88p. (Oh my Flying Spaghetti Monster, aren't these points dreary already???)
Then we went onto the reds.
Clos du Gravillas Lo Vielh 2008 a 100% Carignan from VdPdCôtes de Vie de Brian from very old vines, planted in 1911 and 1972. This was delicious. When served blind my thoughts were in the more rugged, tannic style of Beaujolais that e.g. J-M Burgaud makes. Lovely cherry aromas; ripe but tannic and structured, very refreshing and moreish. Delicious stuff and I had to say 90.
Domaine Grand Lauze Ledogar 2008 was a ringer - since a blend not a Carignan - from Corbières-Boutenac. It is bio and from 60-120yo vines and was also delicious. At this point I was sure of a Beaujolais-theme because this had some aromas that made me think of carbonic maceration and it smelled of cherries and was fruity and joyful and just great fun. Also 90.
Agricola Punica Barrua 2008 from Isola dei Nuraghi and 85% Carignan. Some thought this corked. I thought it was supersweet and open in its aromas, it smelled of liquorice; sweet, ripe and quite like Grenache, spicy. It was ok, but no better so just in case some others were wrong and this was an ok bottle, I said 85p.
Cocacola Punica Barrua 2007 was so like the previous that it confirmed what I felt that it couldn't have been corked. Strawberry, liquorice, spice and sweet Grenachey/cola fruit were what I thought I smelled and tasted. Quite hot on the finish but I still liked it more than many Grenaches I've had so I said 88.
Santa Alicia Carignan Gran Reserva de Los Andes 2010 from Maule, Chile; 50+yo vines. Oh my FSM what a disgusting wine! It smelled like Chilean Cabernet (yay! at least I guessed the country right!): fake aromas of cassis; icky, sweet, cloying, almost puke-inducing palate. According to the scale we were using, a wine gets 50p just for turning up. I therefore wanted to give this 25 points because I wasn't convinced this was wine. But social pressure forced me to be polite so I gave it 65p. This was the only red of the evening available in Alko - go Alko!
La Sorga Serelbroc 2011 was a Vin de France officially but from Corbières, and is 90% Carignan from 110yo vines with the rest Grenache. Bio and no added sulphur. Slightly fizzy but attractive: ripe but slightly appley fruit. Good crunch and liveliness on the palate. Though this did remind me slightly of Treloar's Le Maudit (though that isn't, of course, fizzy) I still somehow started to think of Beaujolais again as our theme tonight despite the previous wines being obviously not Bojo. A solid 90p for just being really delicious.
Louis-Antoine Luyt Carignan de Emperdrado 2010 is an organic+ wine from Maule, Chile and is from 70yo vines. This was my favourite of the tasting. I gave it 93p. But before you start fainting at me praising a Chilean wine I should explain that the grapes may be grown in Chile but this is the project where the grand masters of Beaujolais are the main influences: IIRC Luyt studied with Marcel Lapierre and Yvon Métras' son is working there. And that style shows. This is exquisitely pure, very Beajolais in style - so no points for Carignan typicity, perhaps - but 93 points for super-delicious, ethereal wine that smelled of cherries and was so incredibly moreish I wanted to steal everyone's glass and run away to drink it all by myself. Awesome stuff.
Domaine Gauby Vieilles Vignes 2010 from Roussillon was another ringer in being a blend rather than a Carignan (or almost completely Carignan). This was delicious, too, but was a bit shy aromatically and demanded more age. But I like the style: refreshing for a Southern wine (and I even guessed at this point that we were in the S. of France). It smelled like a not-extreme-style of naturalness - kind of like Texier. Really delicious. But I was a bit peeved at not getting enough of the Luyt so I was perhaps too harsh in scoring this only 89. And that is just one of several reasons why scoring shouldn't be done. After this many wines silly emotions cloud judgement. Certainly a wine I would like to drink again in a non-tasting environment.
And to finish, we had a couple sweeties.
Emile et Rose Carignan tardif rouge a Vin Doux Naturel from 95yo vines. Smells of strawberries and apples; sweet but tannic and fairly refreshing and gladly not outsized or cloying. Nice sweetie.
Domaine de l'Alliance Sauternes 2009 is something that Sauternes-lovers should search for. I'm not any more a fan of Sauternes, but I used to drink enough of it that I think I still remember what the good stuff is supposed to be like. And this is that: smells spicy and slightly oaky and almost like a red wine; very rich and sweet but doesn't cross over the line to become cloying. More an Yquem style than something bright like Climens. But unlike Yquem, very cheap for this quality (iirc 20€ / half, but don't quote me on that).
So it was a fun evening with many lovely wines. The only pity was that my bottles of Treloar's Le Maudit were too far away for me to excuse myself and bring one for everyone to try once the theme had been revealed.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.