Preamble Tasting July 1998
Un Tour de France
Colm Brangan, Brangan & Co. Ltd.
1er Etage Condom - Montpelier
1. Cotes de Gascogne, VdP Domaine de Tariquet, 1997
Slightly petillant, light yellow. Nice fruity nose. Good acid, some residual sugar. Fresh and crisp. Ugni blanc and Columbard (usually brandy grapes).
2. Cotes de Thongues, VdP "Equinoxe" Domaine de l'Arjolle, 1996
Clear yellow. Fruit and flowers on the nose - pears, lychees. Wonderfully complex with luscious fruit, although still to come together. Chardonnay, Viognier and Muscadel, 50% in new oak.
2eme Etage Cheverney - Sancerre
3. Cheverney Blanc AOC, Domaine de Salvard, 1996
Very light in colour. Light "cats pee" nose. Gooseberry and acid zing, long lasting, very intense without being heavy. 100% Sauvugnon Blanc. A food wine, and much better than the '96. Generally Cheverney is not so good; too near Paris.
4. Sancerre Blanc AOC, "Cuvee Prestige" Domaine du Columbier, 1996
Light gold, with noticeable glycerine "legs". All Cabernet Sauvignon but doesn't smell of it. Some of the flint of Pouilly Fume; rich, rounded, the "grass" subdued into a floral, concentrated nose. Every sniff is different. Wonderful zing, fullness, honey. The Sauvignon Blanc comes through when aerated. No oak (surprisingly). Very old grapes, soon to be grubbed up. 12.9%, ready 2020-2025. Suggestion that all really good wines taste of Kirsch (red) and honey.
3eme Gout de Bourgogne
5. Rully Rouge "Tastevine" AOC, Edourd Delauny et ses fils, 1995
Light red, carmine. Beginnings of a farmyard nose. Flavours of raspberry, some tannin and bitterness.
4eme Etage Montpelier - Orange
6. Cotes de Thongues VdP, Cabernet de l'Arjolle, 1993
Lovely deep, stern red. Warm nose, somewhat oaky, not much fruit. Wallops you with tannin, and fruit behind it. Colm reckoned it would be wonderful within two years, with loads of "fruitcake". Too young by far, 100% Cab Sauvignon. 3-6 months in oak. The 1990 is highly recommended. Everyone else raved about this wine (one giving it maximum stars) so consider it!
7. Cotes du Rhone AOC, Syrah Domaine St. Anne, 1993
Deep red, bit cloudy. Nose a bit closed. Bit of coating in the mouth. Tried a different bottle; got good Syrah nose, warm spicy fruit, plummy. Oak aged, 50% in new oak for 18 months - two years. West of Rhone, opposite Chateauneuf du Pape.
5eme Etage Col de Provence
8. Bandol AOC, "Cuvee Migoua" Domaine Tempier, 1994
Light red, lighter rim. Earthy nose, farmyard, incredibly powerful. Herbs, good zing. Quite farmyardy, leather and tarry. Tannin still, will last. 85% Mourvedre with Carignan and Grenache. Single vineyard between Monaco and Marseilles. '94 was a great year in Provence. Would be great with game.
6eme Etage Les Pyrennes
9. Banyuls AOC, "Cuvee Parce Freres", Somaine de la Rectorie, 1996
Lighter red than I remember. Quite sweet, good acid, like a cross between sherry and port. White Grenache, Rose Grenache, Red Grenache, Mourvedre. 16%+ One of my favourite wines. (One of the ladies present - who had better remain nameless - suggested that she would like "a log on the fire, a sheepskin rug, a bottle of Banyuls and a hunk".)
10. Champagne "Cuvee Nicholas Francois" Brut, Billecart-Salmon, 1990
Huge, yeasty nose from the bottle, disappears somewhat in the glass. Very big, fresh. Some "pucker" in it yet. Most unusual. Said it will last to 2040, and recommended as the Champagne for the millenium.