Chateau Coufran 2003

87 points

Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France. 13%

I didn’t like this as much as the 1999 I had recently. In part the 1999 has an edge because it is four years older, but the 2003 vintage conditions are also part of it. This wine has some of that dry baked 2003 aroma but it isn’t porty, syrupy or even plummy, however it does lack vibrancy. It isn’t just the low acid, it’s that the fruit lacks depth.

But I shouldn’t be too harsh, as usual Coufran is a pretty good reasonably priced claret. The Wine Doctor web site has a useful profile of the chateau.

Delas ‘Marquise de la Tourette’ Hermitage 1999

92 points

Hermitage, Northern Rhône, France. 13%

A really beautiful wine. Warm consistent palate, leather and oak, with a touch of green that adds complexity. Few Australian wine drinkers could image that a touch of green could be good in shiraz. There is a bit of VA on the finish, and some indications of age, yet it’s a firm dark colour and easy to imagine it could live for a long while. Personally I’d recomend drinking now and over the next 5 years.

In weight and style it reminded me a bit of some better Hunter shiraz, which in turn reminded me what bargains these can be. This wine was not expensive for Hermitage, I wish I had room in my luggage to take some bottles back to Australia.

Ollieux Romanis ‘Atal Sia’ Corbières Boutenac 2005

89+ points

Corbières Boutenac, France. 14%

Astonishingly approachable, and yet this is a powerful young wine with capacity to age for 5-10 years. I believe this is 100% Carignan an overlooked and unjustly maligned grape variety. This is modern boutique Australian winemaking style. With lashings of black stone fruit and lovely dusty dry chocolate tannins.

Run by a Pierre Borie (any relation to Xavier Borie – of Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste ?).

Chateau Lilian Ladouys 1996

88 points

St Estephe, Bordeaux, France. 12.5%

Very dark still for 11 years old. Fresh lifted aromatic nose, lovely quite classic, warm with a good dose of green.

1996 seems to have produced wines that are both rich and yet have quite a strong green aspect, not necessarily a hard greenness though this is not a low acid high alcohol vintage. Lilian Ladouys is a very enjoyable wine, great value, it’s rare to be able to buy such aged wines off retail shelves.

Great table/food wine drinking now. Should hold or even develop for another 5 years.

Chateau de l’Engarran ‘cuvée Quetton Saint-Georges’ 2004

86 points

Coteaux du Languedoc, France. 14%

Solid, rich wine, fresh too. This is supposed to be Syrah with just “une touche de Grenache” but it is very much a classic spicy wine of Southern France. Partly this is youth, but mostly terrior. Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of this flavour profile.

Leave for a year or two then drink over the following 5 years.

Philippe et Georges Vatan, ‘Lisagathe’, Chateau du Hureau Saumur-Champigny 2005

88++ points

Saumur-Champigny, Loire, France. 14%

A stunning example of the quality of Loire reds in 2005. The height of Cabernet Franc. Super intense and concentrated without the slightest of hot climate character. An absolute baby, not for drinking now.

A word of warning, we consumed this over about 5 nights (refrigerating it in between – but not drinking it cold!), each time even small amounts of this youthful wine gave us allergic reactions (from face flushes to headaches). If you suffer in the slightest way from reactions to youthful red wines then leave this for 10 years or longer – I truly expect it will last the distance and be a remarkable wine.

Try from 2012-2015.

Domaine de Baumard ‘Clos du Papillon’ Savennières 2000

91 points

Savennières, Loire, France. 13%

Gorgeous aromas of aged Chenin Blanc with just a touch of honey. A perfectly dry wine (something which doesn’t quite match the aromas), lovely, apart from a slightly hard green tinge on the finish this is wonderful.

Drink this not too cold, when cold the nose is still lovely but the palate loses character. Will benefit from a few more years, and last a good while longer.