Domaine Auzias 2005

82 points

Vin de Pays de la Cité de Carcassonne. 12.5%

An intruiging blend of 50% Cab/Merlot with Grenache, Cinsault and Alicante gives a lifted slightly herbal nose. A somewhat dilute wine (to be expected I suppose given the price) with some nice fresh crunchy acidity. Lacks the depth of the similarly priced wines from Gerard Bertrand.

Chateau Pontet- Canet 2004

90++ points

Pauillac. 13%

Every wine critic speaks highly of Pontet-Canet today. It’s the new Leoville Las Cas, that is, it’s regularly compared to the first growths. In which case this vintage is a bargain.

Well to the wine. It’s super concentrated cassis and new oak, but with a freshness that is more like Hawkes Bay NZ than California. It’s different than much Bordeaux I drink because it is just so young and concentrated. Best left until nearer 2020. If you bought this en primeur you got one of the best Bordeaux deals this decade.

Les Pends Crozes-Hermitage 2005

90+ points

What a surprise, purple deep colour. Dense aromas. Yet a drinkable wine (none of the spicy fruity qualities of Southern Rhone) though still far more concentrated than the typical Crozes which tend to exploit the Hermitage name and deliver dilute wines. Must try this again. Good stuff.

Chateau Cantemerle 2004

88+ points

Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France. 13%

A 5th growth from the Haut-Medoc. A new name to me. Old fashioned yet well made – what I mean is that this isn’t souped up at all. No signs of modern fruit sweetness here. Strong slightly hard green flavours but not under-ripe. Flavour wise this reminds me of the 1996 vintage in general and I’ve just bought some Cantemerle 96 so the comparison will be interesting.

This 2004 should be a long distance runner. From 2015.

Gerard Bertrand Chateau L’Hospitalet la reserve 2007

88 points

Coteaux du Languedoc, France. 13%

I’m not a huge fan of Rhone whites and even less so of their New World imitators. That said I have tasted many.

I’m happy drinking this though. A savoury characterful wine. Inexpensive.

A blend of 30% Bourboulenc (never heard of it before) 30% Roule 25% Grenache Blanc 15% Rousanne.

PS I’ve just recalled that I am a huge fan of Chateau Tahbilk’s Marsanne from Victoria Australia. Not that these two wines are similar I just thought I should modify my above statements.

Chateau de Veyran clos de l’olivette 2005

88+ points

Saint-Chinian, France. 13.5%

An 80% Syrah 20% Grenache blend. Far less classic Southern wine than the Gerard Bertrand Minervois this is more inky in colour, tighter dense fruit, little in the way of spicy southern tannins, more acid. It’s quite an impressive wine but better in a few years. Saint Chinian is an interesting area for potentially fine wines.

Chateau Fonroque 2005

90+ points

Saint Emilion, Grand Cru. 13,5%

Didn’t quite have the fleshy richness I was expected for 2005.  Not that it is in anyway thin, but rather it is very fresh with nice acidity, very clean fruit and oak (not sweet).  A young wine set for a fairly long life.  I expect it will take on richness as it ages but will retain elegance.  Quite modern but quite classy too.  A name to remember.  Reminds me stylistically of Chateau Magdelaine.

Chateau de Briacé Muscadet 2007

87 points

Serve & Maine, Loire, France.  12%

I continue to believe that Loire Muscadet is one of the most under-rated wines – partly because most end up selling for a couple of Euro in French supermarkets.  This wine didn’t cost much more, yet after being open for a day turned into a wine of some richness.  A dry food oriented wine.  Bargain.

Chateau Mondesir-Gazin 2005

88 points

Premieres Cotes de Blaye, Bordeaux, France. 13.5%

Marc Pasquet – viticulteur a Plassac, Gironde, France.

This is the sort of quality minor Bordeaux that can be wonderful value, but many I find a bit extracted, sometimes a bit hard. But in 2005 I suspect that many of the best will be like this with a more solid core of fleshy, slightly sweet fruit, giving a really well balanced friendly if forthright and quite strong wine.

This has a lovely spicy note on the nose, almost Southern French. Wonderful value. Stong wine but still good drinking now and over the next 5 years (to 2014).