Domaine Poulleau Pere & Fils Volnay ‘viellelles vignes’ 2002

86 points

Volnay, Burgundy, France. 13%

Quite a dark coloured, brawny Burgundy with a mixture of ripe and greenish fruit. Not the most sophisticated or fine, nor necessarily exciting (it lacks real depth of fruit) but drinks rather well know and complements food.

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Chateau Cap De Fouste ‘grande reserve’ 2002

87 points

Côtes Du Roussillion, France. 12.5%

Compared with the 2001 this is a fresher, lighter, less chunky wine. Modern and clean. Well balanced winemaking in a lighter vintage. Technically it might be considered a superior wine. But for me it is less interesting.

Good bistro/cafe wine. Good value.

PS the new vintage features a new label, something that wineries do to ensure that their brand does not grow!

Domaine François Lumpp ‘Petit Marole’ Givry 2005

89+ points

Givry, Burgundy, France. 13%

Givry is a minor Burgundy appelation in the Côte Chalonaise, largely producing red wines, and largely ignored by fine wine writers. But like other areas of Burgundy (e.g. next door Mercurey) improved viticulture and winemaking mean that some of these “bistro wine” areas are starting to produce wines of some class and are where the bargains of Burgundy can be found.

This Premier Cru is a strong flavoured wine with good structure, reflecting the excellent vintage. There is a lot of oak, perhaps too much, but then again it seems to have the acid and oak to handle it. Drink in 2008-10 when it may even warrant a higher score than I give it today.

Beyerskloof 2000

84 points

Stellenbosch 14%

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (80%) and Merlot (20%).

Fantastic deep dark red colour in spite of being 7 years old.

A warm rich wine, a little touch of Pomerol about it. But there is a lack of acid, of complex flavours, of elegance. It’s good wine, but not really fine wine.

It’s quite enjoyable but not exciting – which means it competes with an awful lot of other wine in the world. When considered against this vast array of competitors it is wrong to say that South African wine is always good value.

Drink now, while it should last a while I doubt it will improve much.

Damien Laureau ‘Le Bel Ouvrage’ Savennieres 2004

87 points

Loire, France. 14%

A complex dry white, 100% Chenin Blanc. Tonnes of mineral flavour, with noticeable alcohol, and just a tiny tiny hint of honey sweetness (that seems a mixture of bortytis and/oxidation).

I love Chenin Blanc, and it says something about its versatility that it can make a wine in this (high alcohol, bone dry) style which is so far removed from the gentle sec and demi sec wines that are more typical of the Loire.

But I miss the flavour of Chenin fruit, and I dislike being able to distinctly taste the alcohol.