Tasting at home - part I
Given that the current 'lock-down' has put a temporary stop to my monthly wine tastings at the St James's Club in Manchester city centre, I have started writing a series of weekly wine notes which have been featured in the club newsletter. I thought it might be an idea to repost the notes here so you might try the wines during our not-so-splendid isolation. Each week, I will post two wines which I think are worth a mention. Should you be interested in finding out more, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Take care everyone...
Domaine Bouchié-Chatellier Pouilly-Fumé ‘Premier Millésimé’ 2018
Despite the weather teasing us with sunshine and blue skies over the past week, I didn’t have the nerve to break out the Bandol or Crémant rosé. Instead, I opted for a sophisticated Sauvignon Blanc from Loire: Something with enough vibrance to let us think of summer, but with far too much sophistication to be drunk out of white poolside polycarb goblets!
No, we’re not in Sancerre. It’s the other side of the river where we find this elegantly poised Pouilly-Fumé boasting all the traditional hall marks. Think flinty, Kimmeridgian soils, think elegant rich, minerality, think quintessential upper Loire Valley charm. The vineyards back onto those of the late, great Didier Daguenau and benefit from the same influences that coax his vines to produce some of the best expressions of Sauvignon Blanc – a pleasant semi-continental climate with a crucial diurnal swing. If you want a classic top drawer Pouilly-Fumé then look no further!
Ripe, herbaceous aromas, nettle and dill, balanced by concentrated green fruit and crisp citrus acidity. It has a lovely chalky texture on the palate afforded by extended skin contact which beautifully complements the richness.
Château Lanessan Haut Médoc 2014
Finding a quality claret isn’t difficult. Provided your pockets are deep enough, you may treat yourself to some of the best wines in the world, indeed some of the best wines in history. Precious few however have cash to splash on an 1855 Grand Crus Classé from the left bank or Premier Grand Cru Classé from the right. Petrus remains laughably unobtainable for the majority; Le Pin almost mythical. Outside the recognised prestigious Châteaux, there is an overwhelming amount of choice to bamboozle the hapless consumer. But how can we be sure we pick out a winner especially one with all the hallmarks of true old school claret – cab sauv-led structure from the left bank; silky, merlot-driven opulence from the right?
This month, I thought I’d start on the left bank with a wine which I think is worth a mention. Château Lanessan has been producing good quality Médoc-style claret for some time. Situated just south of St Julien, the property dates back to the late eighteenth century and benefits from excellent gravel soils. The vineyards are planted roughly 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot and are known for producing a traditional style Bordeaux which is also good for aging. The Château has been credited for producing Cru Bourgeois-standard, even, for certain vintages, Grand Cru Classé-level wine at far more affordable prices: A bottle of Château Lanessan will set you back around £25, depending on the year, whilst a bottle of the second label, Les Calèches de Lanessan will be roughly £18 a bottle.
The Chateau has attracted plaudits from the likes of Robert Parker, especially for the 2005 and 2009 vintages. With Paz Espejo at the helm, not-to-mention the arrival of Hubert de Bouard, of Chateau Angelus fame, as consultant, this property looks set to go from strength to strength.
Drinking beautifully now, this has a classic Médoc cigar box nose, followed by a textured, fleshy, plum fruit and aniseed-scented palate.