A Touch of Terroirs
Sean and Francoise Gilley, Terroirs

1. Veuve Fourny, Champagne Premier Cru - Grande Reserve, NV
Hard to tell the colour; nice small bubbles though. Nose is yeasty, biscuit, a hint of mineral. Clean, mineral fruit.  This is 100% Chardonnay, grown with no chemicals in a 5.5 ha vineyard in Cote de Blanc near Eperney on 35 year old vines and with a very low dosage.  Very good wine at a very good price.

2. Domaine Yves Martin, Sancerre 'Chavignol', 2004
Light gold with a very subdued nose.  Very mineral, a little buzz of acid, a hint of sweetness, some burn and a little fatness. Nice, clean; doesn't scream Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps a teeny bit flat. 20 year old vines.

3. Domaine du Clos des Fιes, Grenache Blanc, Vielle vignes, vdp des Cτtes Catalanes, 2004
Amazing nose; a very powerful smell of ripe raisins. Hugely concentrated, great acidity, a little caramel, a hint of sweetness, a burn (15%).  100 year old vines of Grenache Blanc (90%) from a plot of only 2.5 ha are fermented in stainless steel, and old Grenache Gris (10%) is fermented in 2 year old oakbarrels.  A little Maccabeau. Left on lees for 8 months.  Amazing, most unusual, classy: Shame about the price.  Not saying it isn't worth it though, for a special treat.  Recommended to go with turbot and ginger.


4. Domaine de la Cottelleraie, St. Nicolas de Bourgeuil 'l'Envol', 2002
Brown red and dense, quite a warm nose of ripe red berries.  Fresh, elegant, clean fruit, a hint of astringency but not too much. No chemicals, grass between the vines: 98% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 12.5% alcohol. Compare, however, with Five Heirs - a beautiful example of Cab Franc.

5. Il Molino di Grace, Chianti Classico, Panzano in Chianti, 2001
Deep cherry red; a bit closed but tobacco on the nose (someone said 'dusty tea bag' is a Chianti characteristic).  I got tobacco and cherries, leather, tea and a sour-cherry finish. This comes from between 280 and  400m above sea-level. It's 90 Sangiovese grosso with some Cab Sauvignon and Merlot. The stalks are removed and it's matured in Bordeaux barriques for 12 months and then 12 months in bottle.  Frank Grace and Gerhard Hirmer.  It's absolutely lovely; it should be even better in two years or so and it's a great price.


6. Chateau Lynch Bages, Grand Cru Classe, Pauillac, 1998
Unfortunately the first bottle was off. The second showed a pinker but still clear, dark colour. Somewhat green fruit and cigar box on the nose.  Sharply tannic initially (it wasn't open long, though), with fruit, tobacco and flexible tannins showing through.  A good example of a good Bordeaux. It's 90 ha with 73% Cab Sauvignon, 10% Cab Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.  Shame about the price.


7. Gran Araucano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 2001
Clean, mid-red, no age showing. Warm nose with a hint of condensed milk. Red fruit pastilles, big extract, touch of vanilla (American oak), condensed milk.  This is 500-700m above sea-level, with no fertilisers, no irrigation and it's 100% Cab Sauvignon.  Very attractive, shame about the price.

8. Acrux, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina, 2001
Big, dark, almost black.  Tobacco and blackberries.  Finish is strongly medicinal/bitter but with lots of fruit.  Needs to stay in the cellar for a while! Peter Sutherland is involved in this; it's latest technology, 18 months in oak (French and American), 12 months in bottle before release.  Tempranillo 70%, Malbec 20%,  Merlot 10%; 14% alc.  (Acrux is Alpha crucis, the southernmost star of the Southern Cross).  Lovely but way too young and too dear. 

9. Domaine du Petit Val, Bonnezaux, 2002
Silvery gold, a honeyed nose, fresh.  Gorgeously unctuous but with great acid, butterscotch, sweetness and freshness. Quince!  13./5% alc.  Chenin Blanc, hugely concentrated and, in a difficult vintage, gorgeous.  Superb.
€27 (special price on the night and basis of rating - normally €39.50)

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