Nottingham Wine Circle – 10th Jan 2023

Information about Nottingham Wine Circle

Kooyong, Faultline Chardonnay, 2018 – I am a big fan of new world, cool climate Chardonnay and this was right up my street. A lot of struck match and classy oak on the nose with lemon pith and melon intensity at the front of the palate and a long finish. A really lean, tight style and similar to the wines of Kumeu from NZ which I have enjoyed for some years. You can find bottles at around £30 from the wine society but some merchants are charging £35-45 for this. Fairly universal enjoyment in the room

Pazo Barrantes, Gran Vino, Albarino, 2020 – Not often a grape associated with premium wines but they are out there! I have long wanted to try Pazo Senorans Albarino Seleccion de Anada but this was a new name for me. The nose was really not typical of albarino with some sweet fruit and almost floral Gewurtz notes. The palate though was signing with typical acidity from this grape and exceptional concentration of green and yellow fruit with a touch of honey. Balance and wine making was impressive though at around £40 you’d hope it would be….

Santenay, Gravieres, 1967 – A Wine Society bottling that was bought as a curiosity. I had thought it was an mid-aged Bordeaux from a light vintage as I was getting a lot of blackcurrant and tomato notes, the fruit profile was still remarkable despite its age. I was really quite impressed with how it had held together although there were differing opinions on that in the room. At the crux of that it just didn’t seem very ‘Burgundian’ which interestingly could be due to the fact in this era they were blending Gigondas grapes from the Rhone with red Burgundy! I can’t find out any information or background on this practice but older more learned members of the group seemed sure it was a thing before Gigondas got its on appellation in 1971

Liger-Belair, Moulin-a-Vent Vieilles Vignes, 2013 – I should mention many of our tastings are blind and this and the next wine stumped the group. Gamay is often maligned but this example was a little atypical and people were struggling to identify it (apart from me but I am more of a fan than most). Given its age and from a ‘poor’, cooler vintage the concentration was surprising. Subsequently the fruits were a little darker than expected but the balance and tertiary meaty/savoury notes were just at the level I enjoy. Liger-Belair are a big name with many of their Burgundy at £100+ but this felt a relative bargain at £30 although I don’t know if it was a representative bottle.

Idda, Etna Rosso, 2019 – The wine I selected to bring this evening from a region I have been discovering over the last few years. I think Etna is definitely one to watch. Inevitably there are comparisons with wines from Piedmont and also ‘Burgundian’ lightness but I really do think it is its own thing. This wine is a partnership including Gaja whose Piedmontese wines go for £500+ so understandably has had plenty of publicity with this new venture. Even in relative youth the light red/rusty colour is quite distinctive. The nose whilst intense was a little sweet with some wild strawberry and cinnamon. The palate was a little more like it with classic sour cherry, with a hint of herby balsamic and really quite grippy tannin into a long finish. It was enjoyable but lacked a touch of complexity and more of the savoury side to other Etna Rosso’s I have had. At £35+ it seemed to be trading off the name and I have had better wines for less, check out; Tornatorre, Cussomano, Pietradolce and Torre Mora.

Penfolds, Bin 28 Shiraz, 1996 – For me this was typical Aussie Shiraz but for those lovers of it there might not have been enough minty eucalyptus that is the signature of this grape and terroir combination. Maybe it was just in the right place and that have softened but the fruit remained with lovely light blackberry and black cherry notes and a velvet finish. Drinking very well, although according to the person who bought this ‘used to be cheap but now £30 a bottle!’

Selected other wines/notes from the evening:

Samuel Billaud Chablis 2019 – an big name and not cheap, enjoyable but fairly one-dimensional yellow fruit given my expectations. My have suffered after the very expressive Albarino

Muga White Rioja 2022 – Young and very fresh. Great value for money and versatile

Tondonia Reserva, Lopez de Heredia, 2004 – One of the great makers in Rioja and usually so enjoyable and distinctive. It wasn’t badly flawed but at the very least an odd bottle as it definitely wasn’t singing

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