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Tuesday 20 November 2012

Justerini & Brooks Loire and Rhone tasting‏

The name alone, Justerini and Brooks, has an aristocratic ring - even before you get to the Royal Warrant. Established in 1749, it has a whiff of Old School and Old Money, of composure, sophistication and elegance.

Appropriately then, the tasting was in the panelled, high ceiling-ed surrounds of Vintners Hall in the City.

It being on my way home, I was able to drop in briefly before getting the train back to Cambridge.

In general, the wines were .... well, to say good does them a disservice; they were classical, assured and sophisticated, with a somewhat timeless feel. And expensive, too.

Their grandeur embodied the ethos of aristocracy and owed nothing to mere bourgeois aspirations.

These are wines to fall quietly in love with then - they are not attention-grabbing young turks, but graceful debutantes, accomplished hostesses and elegant dowagers

I started with the Loire whites - prices are per case of 12 In Bond.

Francois Cotat, Sancerre Caillotes, 2011 (£200) ripe fruit, soft texture, very good persistence

Vincent Pinard Sancerre Harmonie, 2010 (£220) ripe fruit, soft full texture, zesty pithiness

Lucien Crochet Sancerre, le Chene, 2010 (£210) ripe melon fruit, good aromatics, mouthfilling, precise, good depth and rounded acidity

Domaine De La Taille aux Loups Vouvray, Clos de Venise, 2011 (£190) minerally, poised, pure and focused, with balanced fleshy ripeness

For the Rhone, I concentrated on the north.

Domaine Etienne Pochon, Crozes Hermitage Chateau Curson, 2011 (£130) ripe elderberry fruit, vanilla spice - feels soft and easy drinking even now. Very competent.

Andre Perret Condrieu, Coteau de Chery, 2011 (£300) soft texture, peachy and ripe

St Joseph, Les Grisieres, 2011 (£180) soft, ripe, perfumey and mouthfilling. Balanced and elegant.

Francois Villard Condrieu Le Grand Vallon 2011 (£300) from an east-facing vineyard, this has a complex freshness that I really like; flintsmoke and zestiness on the nose, pure linear acidity, zesty and poised. Very Good.

Cote Rotie, Le Gallet Blanc, 2011 (TBC) good ripe fruit, well balanced, perfectly ripe tannins

Clusel-Roch Condrieu 2011 (£295) ripe tropical fruit acidity and zesty pithiness

Cote Rotie, Petite Feuille (£240) musky, feral nose, dark fruit and muskiness on the palate, long and ripe with a sour-cherry rasp

Rene Rostaing Condrieu La Bonette, 2011 (£395) freshness on the nose, mouthfilling and peachy, good savoury underpinnings with good zesty pithiness

Cote-Rotie Ampodium (£355) sour cherry rasp and long on the palate. Chianti-esque.

Bernard Burgaud Hermitage Le Greal 2011 (£385 for 6) complex with ripe fruit, vanilla sweetness, smokey earthiness and a pleasantly sour rasp. Very Good Indeed.

Domaine du Coulet Cornas Brisse Cailloux, 2011 (£240) herbaceous aromas, complex dark fruit, musky with lots of sour cherry acidity, vanilla sweetness and loooo-ong finish. Very Good Indeed.

Cornas Billes Noires, 2011 (£460) a step-up from the Brisse Cailloux; same profile but even greater complexity, balance and poise. Very Good Indeed - and then some.

Recommended Wines

Loire - the Domaine De La Taille aux Loups Vouvray, Clos de Venise for its poise and minerality

Rhone, white - Francois Villard Condrieu Le Grand Vallon 2011 for its freshness and linearity

Rhone, red - Cornas Billes Noires, 2011 for its mix of intensity, complexity and elegance

Other related articles
En Primeur Rhone at Cambridge Wine Merchants
Rhone Double Header at Twickenham
Cotes du Rhône Village Visan, Louise-Amélie, 2009
Domaine Rablais Touraine - with a Risotto Recipe


Justerini & Brooks - website, twitter

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