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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Wine in Threes

Three is a magic number,
Yes it is, it's a magic number.

- De La Soul, The Magic Number

With something of a backlog of review wines to get through chez CWB, we invited some friends round to help us try them out in flights of three.

Three New World Chardonnays

Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Unwooded Chardonnay, 2011, McLaren Vale, Australia Lean, unoaked Aussie style of chardie, with lots of tropical citrus and zesty kiwi; sharp, grapefruit and pith, tart and a bit unbalanced, especially on the finish, not generally popular.

Vinas Del Vero, Chardonnay 2010, Somontano, Spain From Spain, this is technically a European wine, but non-traditional Spanish = New World style. Golden in the glass, there is some gentle oak on the nose, floral aromas and sweet vanilla; weightier, fuller and more complex than the previous wine; supple with good acidity, it was generally popular, but for me a bit straightforward.

Match with sweetish white fish such as lightly cooked sole.

Jackson Estate Shelter Belt, 2008, Marlborough, New Zealand Toasty, yeasty nose with tropical fruit; on the palate sweet vanilla spice, good leesy depth and balance, rounded prominent acidity; nice pungent yeastiness from thick-skinned grapes.

The popular favourite of the three.

A versatile wine, it will match with hard yellow cheese, pasta with creamy sauce or chicken.

Recommended Wine

My favourite was the Jackson Estate for its complexity and tangy yeastiness.

Three Louis Jadot Red Burgundies

Louis Jadot is a leading grower and negociant based in Beaune with around 150ha of its own vineyards which produce only AOC wines.

Louis Jadot Chateau Des Chaques, Moulin a Vent, 2007 (£14.49, independents) A Gamay, this was smokey-herby on nose and a touch of damp forest. Light on the palate with red berry fruit; pleasant enough, but felt rather overpriced and not universally popular. A bit acidic and astringent on the finish. However, I found it improved the following day and was much more balanced on the finish.

Quaff in the garden in summer, or match with a light game terrine, cold cuts or coq au vin.

Louis Jadot Beaune Premier Cru, 2008 (£16.75, Majestic, independents) Textbook nose of truffley undergrowth,with cherry fruit. Good, soft, strawberry-ish texture and balanced finish; elegant with good structure and length. Match with something gamey, such as pigeon, quail or pheasant.

Louis Jadot, Côtes de Nuits Villages, Le Vaucrain, 2008 (£18.75, independents) This wine, which had the potential (i.e. price tag) to be the best, was sadly spoilt - thin, vinegary and with no fruit, something had clearly gone wrong under the cork.

Recommended Wine

Whilst I suspect the Côtes de Nuits should or could have been the best wine here, on the day it was the Beaune.

Three red Rhônes from Jean-Luc Colombo

Jean-Luc Colombo is something of a maverick moderniser of the northern Rhone - his wines are often GSM blends, but use modern techniques.

Jean-Luc Colombo, Côtes du Rhône Le Vent Rouge, 2010 (£9.25, Oddbins) This wine had a nose of dark berry fruit and garrigue herbs, lots of elderberry and black cherry fruit on the palate with prominent acidity and a good finish. A well-made, juicy characterful red to match with salami.

Jean-Luc Colombo, Côtes du Rhône Bonne Roche, 2009 (£9.99, independents) For just a few pennies more this wine had a more interesting texture and greater complexity. Match with roast beef or garlic and rosemary lamb.

Jean-Luc Colombo, Cornas Mejeans, 2009 (£22.99, independents) This was really a step up from the previous two in terms of complexity and intensity - great texture, lovely balance, long finish.

Recommended Wine

The Mejeans is the best wine of these three, but given the pricing, the Bonne Roche represents the best value for money.

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