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Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Perfect Cellar

Naming your business The Perfect Cellar is a sign of confident ambition, if nothing else.

The tasting I attended, however, was a little more modest with a reasonable, but not overwhelming, turnout and a slightly nervous, first-date feel.

The business has been around in one form or another for a few years now, but has settled on a model of selling well-made, upper-end classical wines from France.

The name Perfect Cellar is apparently intended to denote two ideas - that these wines are all well-made and ready for drinking now, and also that all the classic regions are covered, so you could build a cellar around the range.

I popped along in my lunchtime and was able to sample all 25 wines on show; my detailed notes are below, but in summary the wines are all good to very good, all drinking nicely now and mostly current or recent vintage.

I'm not sure that Perfect Cellar has a particularly strong USP - a well-made, focused range is no mean feat, but is not completely unique either.

But as a source of reliable, interesting wines, I would definitely give them a go - the major points of interest were the one or two older wines which were very impressive.

The Wines

Domaine de Landreau Cremant de Loire Brut "Anthonin Dubreuil" NV (£12.12) Cab Franc / Chenin Blanc good complexity, ripe fruit, good value

Rose D'Anjou 2011 (£9.19) Grolleau / Cab Franc: a good example with yeastiness on the nose, soft berry fruit and muskiness

Ch Latour-Martillac Grand Cru Classe de Graves Pessac-Leognan Blanc 1998 (£33.99) Sauvignon Blanc blend: complex, evolved nose, soft yet complex texture, good acidity and length, mellow and integrated, waxy and herbaceous - lively and vivacious despite its age. Very Good.

Domaine Charly Nicolle Petit Chablis 2011 (£12.99) Chardonnay: ripe, linear, melon and citrus fruit good length

Chablis Vielles Vignes Ancestrum 2010 (£20.45) Chardonnay: more complex nose, more challenging palate with ripe pithy lime zest, savouriness and good persistence

Chablis Mont de Milieu 2011 (£20.45) Chardonnay: aromatic and ripe, lovely texture with ripe lime zest. Good.

Domaine Sophie Cinier Macon Fuisse 2011 (£17.99) Chardonnay: soft and full, ripe melon fruit, good savoury depth with a touch of leesiness; elegant and balanced

Pouilly Fuisse (£29.99) Chardonnay: oaky, complex and toasty, creamy, savoury and leesy, ripe citrus fruit and long palate. Very good.

Domaine Parigot Pere et Fils Meurseult Les Vireuils Dessous 2010 (£32.99) Chardonnay: linear and precise, very structured and poised with toasty yeastiness and pleasantly challenging. Very Good Indeed.

Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St Jean 1er Cru 2010 (£44.99) Chardonnay: ripe white stone fruit, linear acidity, very pure and elegant

Hautes-Cotes de Beaune Clos de la Perriere 2010 (£18.99) Pinot Noir: deep cherry red, sweet red fruit and smokiness on the nose, ripe fruit, earthiness and savouriness on the palate, persistent. Good.

Pommard Clos de la Chaniere 1er Cru 2009 (£36.99) Pinot Noir: dark in the glass, red and black cherry fruit on the palate, smokey toastiness - big and masculine but elegant.

Savigny-les-Beaune Les Vergelesses 1er Cru 2008 (£27.99) Pinot Noir: pale, perfumed earthy nose; sweet ripe red berry fruit, soft texture and grippy finish

Mas du Soleilla, La Clape Reserve Blanc, Coteaux de Languedoc 2010 (£26.99) Roussanne / Bourboulenc: waxy, blowsy and fat with ripe melon and sweet spice

Le Petit Mars Coteaux de Languedoc 2011 (£13.99) Grenache / Syrah: spicy and characterful with garrigue herbs, dark fruits and sweet spice. Mouthfilling and soft. Good.

Les Chailles Coteaux de Languedoc 2009 (£18.99) Grenach / Syrah earthy, spicy, musky and truffley. Good complexity. Good.

Les Bartelles Coteaux de Languedoc 2008 (£22.99) Syrah / Grenache inky, brooding and deep, dark fruit and toastiness, velvety texture, complexity. Good.

Clot de L'Amandier Coteax de Languedoc 2009 (£38.99) Syrah / Grenache similar profile to Les Bartelles, but even more accomplished

Ch Lafon la Tuilerie St Emilion Grand Cru 2005 (£35.99) Merlot: complex and mature with good ripe fruit, vanilla and a soft texture. Good.

Ch Chantelune Margaux 2007 (£36.99) Merlot blend: nose of coffee, leather and dark fruit. Good acidity and well-integrated - a good wine from a difficult year. Very Good.

Margaux 2009 (£32.99) Merlot blend: a more youthful version of the 2007.

Ch Haut-Marbuzet St-Estephe 1997 (£43.99) Cab blend: aged brick red; evolved with sweet bramble fruit and great mellowness.

Terre de Lion St Julien 2009 (£27.99) Cab blend: good ripe fruit, well balanced and drinking nicely now - cigar box, mintiness and bramble fruit.

Ch Les Ormes St Julien 2008 (£32.99) Cab blend: again quite textbook profile. Drinking nicely.

Ch Tire Pe La Cote Bordeaux 2009 (£14.99) Merlot blend ripe bramble fruit, good grip. Good value. Good.

Recommended Wines

The Ch Latour-Martillac Grand Cru Classe de Graves Pessac-Leognan Blanc 1998  for its aged complexity.

The Meursault Les Vireuils Dessous 2010 for its structure and precision.

The Ch Chantelune Margaux 2007 for its complexity and balance.

The Ch Haut-Marbuzet St Estephe 1997 for its aged mellowness.

Other related articles
Private Cellar tasting
Justerini & Brooks tasting


The Perfect Cellar - website, twitter

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