Happy New Year to everyone!!
Here are the wines consumed in the week up to and including New Year Day. We were five round the table on New Year Eve and the main item on the menu was lobster fished off the Cotentin peninsular in Normandy. 2014 Domaine Valambelle Faugères Millepeyres - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Faugères (12/27/2016)
Another good vintage from this reliable Faugères. Perhaps less full but more charming than its three predecessors at a similar stage showing medium+ body with fresh dark fruit infused with Mediterranean herbs, lightly touched with leather and liquorice with a firm finish. More-ish and good+. 2014 Château de Cruzeau - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan (12/28/2016)
This wine was extremely appealing at first with its lively fruit, mostly grapefruit and pineapple, its minerals, underlying gras
, juicy acidity and slightly smoky finish. However, like most wine from 100% SB, it seemed increasingly simplistic as the bottle progressed and was quite easy to leave unfinished. Good though. 2000 Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi - Italy, Campania, Taurasi DOCG (12/29/2016)
Each bottle seems fresher and brighter than the previous. Colour still dark and quite opaque. Full/medium bodied and deep with red and dark fruit, it showed a balsamic touch, which I didn't note before, and more lively acidity in addition to traces of rose petal, tar, rubber and leather with a quite long and fragrant finish. Very good. 2015 Domaine de la Chêneraie Beaumes-de-Venise Cru des Côtes du Rhône - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Beaumes-de-Venise (12/30/2016)
An opulent S.Rhône showing rich fruit with a candied touch, quite thick texture, not a lot of acidity, some liquorice and backbone which owes as much to alcohol (15.5%) as to tannins. Not my favourite wine style but it was in its place paired with an unctuous boeuf Bourgignon stew on a cold day. Just about good. NV Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut Réserve - France, Champagne (12/31/2016)
Nice airy preprandial Champagne which slips down easily. A little bland compared with our Christmas Eve bubblies. NV Bollinger Champagne Brut Rosé - France, Champagne (12/31/2016)
This is a lovely dinner time Champagne much fuller than the preceding Feuillatte with bouquet more fruity and vinous than most and additional roundness on the palate with pinot fruit to the fore as well as fine minerals, toasting bread, more-ish acidity and backbone. This bottle was a recent purchase and I guess that, like other Bolly, it would acquire extra subtlety with more age. Very good. 2008 Graham Porto Late Bottled Vintage - Portugal, Douro, Porto (12/31/2016)
Dark coloured, robust, fruity, quite full bodied with backbone, this LBV filled well its function as pairing for mature nutty Stilton cheese but had a raw touch on the finish and naturally lacked the depth, texture and subtlety of 25+ year old vintage port, all of which from my cellar has alas been drunk. This bottle was finished in one sitting so we are unable to see if a few days in the opened bottle brings a marked improvement as with the Christmas Banyuls. Good. 1999 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (1/1/2017)
After complaining about several recent bottles of CndP not being worthy of the appellation's reputation, I am glad to say that here was one that was really performing. Furthermore, though in the past I have met big bottle variation in Clos des Papes, I can repeat almost verbatim my TN from over 2 years ago. This was a beautiful CndP at its peak. It was not a blockbuster and showed an unusual Burgundy type elegance. It had medium/full body, velvety texture, smooth acidity, round sweet cherry tinged fruit infused with game and forest floor notes leading to a decently long and firm finish with kirsch hints. It was a good pairing for our traditional New Year rabbit marinated in Trappiste beer with prunes. Excellent.
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