NWC – 10th April – Blind Bottle (No theme)

The first time I am writing about a blind bottle format. In short most of the wines are covered so we don’t know what we are tasting and then revealed.

A sparkling wine to start. Some nice age and autolytics immediately present on the nose with some ripe apple and citrus. High acidity on palate, green apple at the front with lemon curd as it developed in the mouth. A pleasant little bitterness on the finish. Lacking a touch of persistence at this stage of its life but soft and enjoyable. Could only be English and was a Leckford 2011 before their Waitrose partnership. Currently around £30.

The first still white had a touch of nuttiness alongside some lemon salinity. The palate was quite a rich texture and bags of stone fruit. We struggled to place this one, turned out to be a Picpoul, Les Ronces, 2019 that was punching well above your everyday example. £15

A fresher style next with lots of lifted citrus, grapefruit and lime but some sweet pear and hints of tropical pineapple too. The palate was a little less interesting, the citrus being the main profile. Acidity very high and felt short but suffered from the more weighty Picpoul that went before. I guessed this wine correctly as I had previously bought a few myself. Bodega Garzon Albarino, 2022. £18-20.

Somloi Vandor, Teraszok, Juhfark, 2020 was not served blind. The Hungarian Juhfark grape was not one I have had before. The nose seemed a touch muted if an interest mix between toffee apple with some yellow/green fruit notes. The intensity on the palate was good, with high acidity. At the front some bruised apple but I preferred the back of the palate with just unripe plums and a pithy finish. Interesting. £20

A waft of acetone greeted me initial on the next wine although the palate was very different. Very oily, almost a rosewater hint. Lacking acidity and some butterscotch caramel on the finish. Hard to pick and we didn’t guess Californian Chardonnay! Ranch 32, 2020 was a Wine Society mixed case buy. It reminded me of lower quality version of a Grgrich I had a while ago. Super concentrated and overwhelming, it didn’t feel balanced and I don’t love caramel and butterscotch in my wine. £20

A change of pace with something much lighter in the glass. The nose wasn’t very giving, citrus and maybe a touch of minerality/wet stone. Good acidity in the glass, waxy lemons and some lime but feeling a touch tired on the finish. Much surprise when it was revealed to be Chablis Premier Cru Beauroy, Christophe Camu, 2019. Expected more richness and concentration from a premier cru. £30.

Back to higher octane wines and this put me in mind of a GG Riesling. Real intensity, a sweet and sour thing going on with an interplay of citrus and stone fruits. Just excellent balance and creamy texture although a little young and needs some time to mellow. Schloss Gobelsburg, Grüner Veltliner, 1ÖTW, Ried Lamm, 2020. Not typical of your less lofty expressions of Gruner and now £40 is recognised as one of Austria’s top estates.

A really golden colour in the glass this was clearly a fair bit older than the other whites. Had a lovely mingling of pineapple, honey and sweet apple. The palate was an interesting mix of great maturity with some complexity but I found it hard to pick really specific notes. It was soft citrus, orange zest, guava. Really lovely stuff. I thought we might be in Jurancon as it had some similarities to last weeks wines. I was wrong. Anjou, Chateau de Suronde, 2004. I dont think they still have the same wine in their lineup, bottles from this era are available for around £40.

The first red was a wine of two halves. The nose was quite tertiary, more sweet cinnamon with a little cherry. The palate was really quite green and stalky though had a little bramble black fruit on the finish. I was in Etna on the nose and new world cab franc on the palate. It was Valpolicella, Lena di Mezzo, 2021. Still not quite sure what to make of it but perhaps my disastrous blind guessing put me off it :). £20

Some brown edges on the colour suggested some age here, nose of baking spices, some earth and red fruits. Others detected some barnyard aromas that I didn’t quite get. Some volatile acidity for sure. Lovely ripe red fruits still remained, redcurrant and raspberry but that sweet spice was also there. Quite a ringer for Pinot but was a soft and mature Gamay! Coeur de Terroirs, Moulin-A-Vent, Labruyere, 2014. £25.

An interesting comparison as my wine was the Moulin-A-Vent, Wine Society 150th Anniversary, 2019. A little more distinguishable as Gamay for me on the nose although others were also in Pinot territory. More of a black fruit profile but great balance, ripeness but retaining good acidity. Nice to see some victories for Beaujolais. £17.50

A pair of wines next and an example of interesting comparisons our group throws up. I was immediately in Boredaux, I don’t think it would have been anything else. One was quite rich and heady with cassis and oak. The other a little more green though elegant and with better balance. They were both Chateau Charmail the richer one 2010, the other 2012. Interesting because whilst the 2012 was a vintage rated much below the 2010 the group generally preferred the 2012. Perhaps at this level, £20 cru Bourgeois, the 2010s are feeling a little ripe and tiring?

Finally a leviathan. Super dark, lacking fruit, extracted and tannic. Dusty, with cloves and liquorice. No we were’t back in Madiran from last week, some scratching of heads but I was pleased to call it right. Aglianico. Caggiano Taurasi Vigna Macchia dei Goti, 1995. Incredibly powerful still at this age and people guessed it was 10/20 years younger than it was! Some really struggled with it but whilst I didn’t love it I found it drinkable, obviously needs to food to be more palatable. Recent vintages £50

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