Friday, 18 January 2013

Gambero Rosso 2013

Having waited this long for the English version, my copy arrived this morning. No great surprises to find Fabrizio Battaglino, Filippo Gallino and Giovanni Manzone listed. Well done to them!

Fabrizio was also cited for especially good value for his Roero Arneis 2011, the Gallinos for their Roero Riserva 2008 Sorano and the Manzones for their Barbera d'Alba Superiore 2009 La Serra.

Fabrizio's 2010 Roero Sergentin was a Tre Bicchieri finalist (I still think he should have pushed the 2010 Colla forward!) as was Gallino's 2008 Roero Riserva Sorano. Manzone had three in the final this year, including the 2009 Barbera d'Alba Superiore La Serra and two of their 2008 Barolo wines.

So, what should I be drinking tonight to celebrate their successes?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Two top table wines from Cahors

On my recent trip to France, I came across an old copy of the Revue du Vin de France (from October 2009) which happened to include a review of Cahors wines. I'll come straight to the boast: two of the wines on our list occupied the top two spots (I know you're not surprised KW!)

Which two?

Both scored 18/20 but I don't know whether there were fractional points separating them or whether they were just listed alphabetically - the two wines were, of course, Chateau du Cedre's 2005 "Le Cedre" and Chateau Lamartine's 2007 "Expression".

So, time for me to re-taste them (now that the antibiotics have all gone) - I think I will try the Lamartine first as I haven't had this recently so that makes it a good place to start. It is fully flavoured, as you would expect from a wine that has undergone a long maceration, but well balanced and the fruit is not over-powering as it so often is in its New World contemporaries. A modest 13.5% alcohol, according to the bottle - manageable. Some oak comes across but the fruit is holding the whole thing together well. Really rather good!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Half way through an enforced period of abstinence

A painless abscess requires attention it seems. I have been putting this off since December, refusing to take antibiotics over the Christmas period unless absolutely necessary but the absence of any nerve endings in the vicinity has let me off the hook until now.

Christmas and New Year were very jolly - two weeks in the Vaucluse departement in southern France and, for once, not even a bus man's holiday: I didn't visit a single vineyard whilst I was there (although I did buy a few bottles from the Caveau in Gigondas and stopped off in Burgundy on the way home but that's allowed, I think). Lots of brisk walks up and around the Dentelles de Montmirail and across the rolling countryside still failed to halt the increasing pounds the seasonal stuffing insists on adding though. So, time to do something about this and the abscess.

I had put it off as long as I could. Over Christmas with friends, it was clearly a non-starter but when they left and we had arrangements to get together with other, local friends, with wine a shared passion, it didn't seem realistic either. New Year came and went (with a rather good bottle of Rene Rostaing's Cote Rotie) then it was only a couple of days before we were heading home so it didn't seem right to end the holiday on a low.

However, fate had reserved something of a kicking for me. I had finally set on Sunday for the first day of antibiotics (which would have meant only one more day to go!) but, thanks to Eurotunnel, our crossing was so delayed on Saturday that, instead of arriving home at 6pm with a bottle of something suitable to look forward to, we got back at midnight with a firm resolution that I would allow myself just one more day.

I don't know what happened to Monday.

All I do know is that my oldest son discovered that his usual Monday evening activity doesn't start until next week so by 6.15 my will had been broken and I was rummaging around for something - probably to locate some determination in the rack alongside the bottle of Burgundy that came out first.

So, Tuesday morning - a new school term and, without pondering it any further, out came the antibiotics. Just 15 of them over five days and I have now had eight although I don't count that as just over half way through when I still have three evenings of abstinence ahead of me.

Of course, I still get to sniff, second hand, when a glass is waived, maliciously, under my nose.

Come Sunday, normal service will resume - now where did I put that Jeroboam?