Missing In Action !

It’s been a while since I last posted here. It’s not that I have been avoiding you, and I didn’t give up Wine for Lent, but I have been pre-occupied over the past six weeks or so, as I started my Italian Wine Scholar Course, and its very intense, taking up a lot of my spare time, with a lot to learn, as I’m sure anyone with knowledge of Italian Wine will agree with.

However, thought I would post a few words about a diversion that took place this week, and a Zoom Wine Tasting we did with my local Grapes of Rath Wine Club. It’s obviously been impossible over the past year to have face to face meetings and tastings, so we have tried to pivot to Zoom, and on-line meet-ups. In truth they have been a great way to stay in touch with fellow wine aficionados, obviously not ideal ways to share wines, but we have to do the best we can, and last Thursday we spend a couple of hours catching up, and sharing two wines.

The two wines we enjoyed were from Portugal and Germany, a welcome change from my Italian Tastings, much as I love my Italian Wines, but drinking for pleasure rather than for study purposes is always a nice break.

The White, was a 2019 Adega de Pegoes Colheita Seleccionada from the Peninsula of Setubal. An interesting combination of grapes go into this blend, mainly indigenous Portuguese varieties. 30% Fernao Pires, 25% Verdelho, 25% Antao Vaz, 10% Chardonnay and 10% Arinto.

The colour was enticing, quite straw like, and the nose had a buttery hint, indicating the oak involved in the fermentation, with pear and only slight indication of more citric fruits. On the palate the buttery aromas turned into vanilla with that pear being there again, but overall the fruit was being overshadowed by the woody influences. Having said that there were some tropical fruits notes trying to break through, and the finish stayed with me for a good lengthy time.

If you enjoy an oaky Chardonnay, this will appeal.

The Red was of great interest to me, a 2018 Martin Wassmer Spatburgunder from Baden in Germany, otherwise known as Pinot Noir/Nero. Its been a long time since I sampled German Reds, and this didn’t disappoint at all. Pale Ruby in colour, light in the glass, and the first thing I noticed on the nose was the lack of that familiar funkiness associated with Pinot’s from Burgundy – here I could smell the fruit oozing out of the glass, red cherries, raspberries, maybe cranberries too. The acidity was relatively sharp, but the fruit balanced out the tannins, and while a light texture, the taste was lingering long after the last swallow, leaving sweet spices on the residual.

If you are a Pinot lover, this will be right up your street as an everyday Pinot, at a price that should put the French Wine Industry to shame. This may only be Martin Wassmer’s entry level wine, but on this example, it will be well worth seeking out further wines from his stable.

The two hours flew by as we chatted, and I finished off the Spatburgunder with a hearty late dinner casserole, which complimented the wine perfectly. Now it will be back to Italy for the next couple of months, but I will try and pop back to post now and again.

A Gamay in the Cote d’Or

Domaine Huber-Verderau “Les Chanterelles” Cuvee No.1

Just south of Beaune are the villages of Pommard, Volnay and Meursault. An area of the Cote d’Or, well known for its Premier & Cru white wines, and where reds are concerned it is Pinot Noir that is the expectation. However, Thiebault Huber founded the Domaine Huber-Verderau in 1994 on the family estate, and he now operates four hectares of vines across the three parishes. As a biodynamic producer he works on minimal intervention, and it is with the 60 year old Gamay vines, that he cannot replace (by law!), a rarity this far north in Burgundy, that he produces this wine, an 80/20 blend with Pinot Noir.

The grapes are de-stemmed and fermented in concrete vats, before resting on lees for nine months, resulting in a elegant wine, and the vintage I was to enjoy was from 2015.

Upon opening, the aromas of fresh red fruits were prevalent, along with a farmyard funk, more associated with the Pinot’s here. I noted strawberries and raspberries, with maybe some lingering cherry on the nose. Once in the mouth the acidity was modest, as were the tannins, but there was definitely a hint of sour cherry, and although only a 12.5% alcohol level, there was a peppery spice adding to the overall complexity. The concentrated flavours lead to a lengthy finish to a smooth, well balanced, delightful wine, I enjoyed, paired with bacon ribs, pepper sauce, potatoes tossed in Olive oil, which despite the saltiness of the ribs, which fell off the bone I might add, pulled out the fruit in the glass. I finished off the evening with Comte and Shropshire Blue Cheeses, which also coupled well.

Another interesting and enjoyable wine imported by Wines Direct, to whom I am grateful for the information as the Website is lacking detail for this particular beauty. I will be tasting another of their wines later this week, the 2018 Les Constances, a more regular Pinot Noir, it will be interesting to compare notes.