- Derthona 2013 (Massa)
A really characterful white made from Timorasso. There's a touch of peach-stone bitterness alongside some spicyness reminiscent of riesling. A rellay stylish, unusual Italian white with further aging potential. Possibly
- Vacqueyras Les Restanques de Cabassole 2011 (Roucas Toumba)
Impressive in its way, but a bit gummy, with that overwrought quality of enthusiastic oak use. Curious because there do not seem to be indications that the estate uses a lot. On the other hand John Livingstone-Learmonth at drinkrhone.com seems to come to a similar conclusion about the 2012. I would be a happier wine drinker if the use of new or nearly new oak barrels was outlawed in most (or even all) appelations. In the end, for me.
- Riesling Cuvee Henrietta, Altenberg de Bergbieten Grand Cru 2008 (F. Mochel)
Singing nicely at nine years old, fairly but not completely dry and rich on the palate. Nice balance and good length. Bare
- Rausan Segla 1988
I had a slightly austere (not in a good way) bottle of this some time ago, but this one is classic Claret in peak condition. Cedary, mature blackcurrant. About time to drink. Bare
- Bolinger 1999
"I'm not a Lager Lout I'm a Bollinger Brut." Actually I'm not, Bollinger is often a bit weightier and and less elegant than my favoutites, but this is rteally nice drinking. I guess it is partly the vintage character that makes their 99 a hit with me.
- Rioja blanco "1894" 2009 (Cosme Palacio)
Ambitious, one might say, but for me overwrought. Possibly, with the right food this works but I just find it a bit heavy and joyless. Others may like it rather more, but to me
- Terlaner Classico 2015 (Cantina Terlano)
A huge contrast to the previous wine, this dances rather than tramples over the palate. I used not to be keen on this sort of understated Italian white but now I love them. It's an odd blend of grapes but that frees it from the tyrrany of "varietal character" and enhances its charm. A really nice example and tremendous value. Top and almost more.
- Champagne Grand Cru Chardonnay Gaia NV (Gonet-Sulcova)
Rather a good grower, I think. This is a prestige bottling with some influence from wooden barrels. Very good indeed.
- Venezio Giulia Vitovska 2015 (Kocjancic Rado)
As one might expect from the variety, this is more spicy and less broad than the Malvasia from this producer and vintage tasted recently. Quite tight currently and I expect it will emerge a little more over then next year or two. good balace and nice finish. A bare again, I think.
- Savigny-Les-Beaune Aux Grands Liards 2005 (Camus-Bruchon)
Very nice, mature Beaune - the fruit hovering between high-toned and deeper and with a touch of minerality. Nice balance, but does not have any particular buzz of terroir, tone or depth to lift it out of the "pretty good" category. A strong
- Fino Perdido 1/15 (Sanchez Romate)
"Entry level" I guess but really drinkable Fino heading towards Amontillado. Lots of character: would make a good partner to appetisers before a meal. (A Wine Society wine.)
- Pinot Grigio 2015 (Cantina Kaltern)
From the Alto Adige, this less well know co-op has produced a very decent Pinot Grigio. It is not immensely complex but it has balance and the feel of a decent Macon about it. It's not that relatively expensive either. Rounded and fruity yet dry an balanced.
- Carso - Kras Malvasia 2015 (Kocjancic Rado)
It has that broad, Malvasia palate that does not suggest particular fruits to me - remeniscent of Marsanne in many ways. This is quite concentrated and has a long, savoury, mineral finish. Just a little angular at the moment and could do with a year or so to round off. This estate in Friuli is in the same area as the great Edi Kante. Very good - even
- Aloxe Corton 1er cru Les Vercots 2005 (Follin-Arbelet)
High toned red fruits, fairly tannic still. Good, but there is a slight question of the maturity of the fruit versus the tannins - will it come into complete harmony?. Certainly needs food at the moment. good Burgundy: top I think - but it might surpeise me in a year or two.
- Maranges 1er cru Les Clos Roussets 2014 (Chevrot)
Maranges is one of the places we might retreat to as the classic Burgundy villages become outrageously pricey. Quite tannic and tending towards the rustic - yet appealingly drinkable.
- Maranges blanc 2014 (Chevrot)
Same comments as the red above in a way, but a little more mainstream but still a way from suave. Bare
- Bricco Appiani Langhe Rosso 2007 (Roddolo)
A cassis Cabernet hidden behind a Barolo structure here. If it is Bordeaux, it is in the 1975 or 1986 mould but with excellent fruit. Very different from a lot of Piedmont cabernet-based "international-style" wines and very, very good. It's out of the mainstream and so hard to judge its future, but to me and rising.
- Champagne Bouzy 1999 (A. Clouet)
Mature Champagne with bruised apple pinot character and good mature fruit. Very pleasant with food but a bit short on elegance to be really first rate otherwise. Bare in the right circumstances.
- Eden Valley Chardonnay 1991 (Mountadam)
Big and slightly blousy matured Chardonnay. Drinking OK for a twenty-five-year-old wine, but not as good as the Petaluma two days earlier.
- Brancott Valley Pinot Noir 2009 (Fromm)
Elegant easy to drink Christmas lunch red. Good acidity, and with berry and currant fruit. Not as obviously Pinot as I would have liked (although obviously Pinot!). perhaps
- Pinot Gris 2013 (Rolly Gassmann)
Deep and medium dry, enjoyable, but lacking elegance. In my younger days I would have enjoyed this more, but it feels clunky and obvious. just
I thought that these would probably not have survived. But all were drinking well or very well.