NWC – 28th Feb – Bottles in memory

Very sadly one of our members passed away this year and on Weds evening we gathered, bringing bottles that reminded us of our departed friend. We enjoyed and shared memories over 20 wines, too many to include every bottle this week but I wanted to share a few highlights

Erdener Spatlese, 2014 Dr Hermann. I haven’t had the opportunity to write about much Riesling yet and Dr Hermann is a very underrated and great value producer. I visited him last year and based in Erden his vineyard looks across to an amazing aspect and his monopole, Herzlei. This 2014, Spatlese was from that very slope and had a fabulously intense tropical fruit nose. I prefer the more ethereal style of Riesling but so much to love here with some sweet apple at the front of the palate giving way to peach and guava whilst retaining great acidity.

Bonus photo, the incredible terroir of Erden from Dr Hermann’s Weingut

Gravonia, 2014. Lopez de Heredia remain a producer you can’t go wrong with from their entry level Cubillo to Tondonia and Bosconia. The white gravonia is now £35 but brings so much enjoyment with its oxidative notes and nutty complexity. With younger bottles like this 2014 you’re reminded how much freshness and stone fruit there can be behind the more obvious tertiary character.

As our member had been a lover of Rhone wines there were few light reds but one was outstanding, a 1988 Grivot Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Boudots. A producer that does traditionally need some time this had some light cranberry red fruits alongside baking spices and a touch of a beef stock note. The palate was still vibrant, some elegant wild strawberry melding with more a savoury, umami that was in real balance and harmony.

A wine I might not have expected to feature was Le Difese, 2021, a entry level super Tuscan from the Sassicaia estate. Because of the prices of many from this area I have enjoyed a few bottles from the big names but never considered buying them myself. Initially I thought this could be a Brunello and whereas usually the blend was Cab Sauv dominated, in this vintage it was mostly Sangiovese. Cherry and balsamic notes gave it an unmistakably Italian profile with some dry tannins, which I like in my Sangiovese.

Cote-Rotie, 2011, Clusel Roch. This is a Domaine I have bought from that sits a little below the prices of big names of the area like Rostaing, Jamet and Ogier. This is their entry level wine but in recent vintages hasn’t made an appearance that I can see, which was a shame because this was drinking very well. There was something a touch ferrous on the nose alongside some damson and generally a great energy and intensity that carried through to the palate. Plenty of time left ahead of it with a juicy blackberry palate but already enough age where there is balance and oak integration.

1995, Eileen Hardy Shiraz, Hardys. I’m often unfairly dismissive of Aussie Shiraz but this was one of the most enjoyable bottles I’ve had. There was a little mustiness of the nose that blew off to show some menthol and herbal notes though I didn’t get much eucalyptus. Incredibly fresh and concentrated, more menthol alongside blackberry and a touch of dried fruit and raisin/prune.

Bandol, La Tourtine, Tempier, 2001. I said somewhere recently I don’t think I’ve had a bad bottle from Tempier and I stand by that. Sweet forest fruits on the nose give away to a touch of tomato and bacon fat. The balance of the wine to be powerful, fruit driven but still get plenty of oak influence is quite stunning. I need to buy more when I can.

Cavendish, Vin de Liqueur, 1949. A tawny ‘port’ from South Africa this spent 30 years in barrel and has been another 40+ in a cellar. Amazing life in this despite the age, a hugely complex nose of chocolate, coffee, raisin and flecks of soy. The palate was macadamia nut and more coffee with a lightness of orange peel peaking though. Incredible length and a privilege to be able to try.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.