Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Bel Air Lagrave 1989: Bargain vintage drinking

I picked up an end of line bottle of this, the 1989 Bel Air Lagrave, back in April in Vienna.

I paid about 20-30 Euros for it. No more.

For the money it's really excellent value if you like aged Bordeaux wines from the Graves.

I thought it was drinking perfectly. Plenty of spicy black fruit left, (typical Graves in that regard) but with that forest floor / mushroom ageing thing, that adds so much to aged Bordeaux wines.

The Telegraph website here in the UK has it for £34 a bottle.

I'm not sure you can get a 23 year old Bordeaux wine that's drinking so well at a better price, even in the inflated UK market.

If there is, I'd love to hear about it. I just bought a magnum of Cantelys 1999 for about £45. That might qualify but it's so much younger the comparison wouldn't be fair I suppose. I will report back on the Cantelys in due course.

It's hard to keep up with who is still in, or out of, the Cru Bourgeois classification these days/each year. But this is a little gem that deserves to be there if the other years are anything like this one.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Two more great value quaffing wines: Clos d'Alzan 2010 and Jean-Paul Dubost Beaujolais Villages Tracot 2011

£58 plus VAT/Duty from: FromVineyardsDirect

Here's a couple of good value quaffing cases, as mentioned in the previous post.

First up: Clos d'Alzan 2010. From terroir very very close to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, so I am told, it's bargain drinking.

My case was around £80-90 all in, from those excellent chaps and chapesses at, my favourite online retailer.

Now it's a bit more (mine was fortunately En Primeur, bought on the spur of the moment some time ago) but it's still worth it.

At £120 a case, here's where you can get it

That's pretty good value at under a tenner. 

I can't see how you could do better in a supermarket or via Laithwaites etc. 

As far as I can tell, the only UK outfit that competes with for value wines is the Wine Society. 

But given they are non-profit, I'm not sure how fair the comparison is.

Anyhow, here's a bit more about the Clos. It's typically big, rich, broad and full of beans. Not literally. 

It's hard to drink without food, but it's an excellent accompaniment. As are most decent wines of course.

Here below is a shot of the Tracot I also bought recently, which you could drink with just a snack.

To be exact, it's Domaine Jean-Paul Dubost Beaujolais Villages Tracot 2011.

I picked up a case, on a whim, from Berry Brothers in London recently for around £110.

Here's a review of it from the BBR website:

"Fresh, natural, mineral and quite serious with a lively spiciness under the sapid black cherry fruit. Fresh acidity and a serious mineral component help to make this an alive wine. Just delicious, and one of the best sub-£10 reds I’ve ever had. 92/100
(Jamie Goode, The Wine Anorak, 21 November 2011)"

£110 a case from BBR
I wouldn't go as far as Jamie Goode does, but it's a lovely drop, and at the price, you can't go wrong.

I drank a glass, then drew the air out of the bottle over night and then let it breathe again the next day for 30 mins.

It really opened up the second time around.

What I like about the Northern Beaujolais wines I have tried is the finish on them. I find wine that disappears in taste/length as soon as you swallow, well, just annoying.

This Jean-Paul Dubost Beaujolais Villages Tracot really lingers considering it's a Pinot Noir grape. 

I've yet to discover much of Burgundy, so I'm sure it's not alone in nearby regions. For the price, it's definitely a gem.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2011: A real find

This is my first post for a while.

I've been away, in Brazil, Turkey, China, Germany, Malta, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, France and Singapore. Phew. It's nice to be back in Blighty for a bit.

Of those, only Turkey, China and Germany have half-decent wines :)

France of course, was amazing. More on my recent Bordeaux trip in another post. 

More also on Turkish and Chinese wine later.

I would not recommend Brazilian wines.

They say the sparkling white and Cabernet reds from the south are drinkable.

They are wrong. In Brazil, drink Chilean reds. Or Argentinian of course. Uruguay has some wine too, but one hears it's not up to much.

In particular in Brazil I'd suggest Carmenere, which I found very passable in many restaurants on the North East coast of the country. More on that, again later.

Meanwhile, here's a true gem of a wine: Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2011.

I've tasted, and posted on, the 2007, a while back, which is superb at the price.

I was dubious about the 2011. So young, how could it compete?

But it does. It has similar characteristics to the 2007: The richness, the excellent acid balance, the supple smoothness and the spine. Overall I'd rather drink the 2007, as it has aged just a tad, and so had broadened out a little. The 2011 is still quite tight, if you know what I mean.

But what a wine at the price!

I bought this bottle above in Dusseldorf airport for around 10 Euros. A total bargain.

It's what you'd expect from Lafite Rothschilds, but it's a whole heap better than anything else in that price range.

In the UK of course, rip off central, you pay a bit more. £10 or £11 a bottle. But well worth it.

It's to be my next quaffing case for sure. Once I have got through my case of Clos d'Alzan 2010 (bought en primeur at £7 a bottle and amazing, I am pleased to say) and a case of Tracot Beaujolais Recolte 2011 (ideal for Christmas chugging, from Berry Brothers). More on those, later.