You know it has been a good tasting when you go to empty the spittoons and there is nothing in them to empty! I have long been a fan of Veuve Clicquot, so I had a good feeling going in to this tasting and it did not disappoint. We were lucky enough to have Nicola here (our local rep) to walk us through these wines and her passion and knowledge is palpable.
Clicquot is all about firsts. When Madame Clicquot took over the running of this illustrious Champagne House at the tender age of 27 in 1805, she was the first woman to run a Champagne House. Her contributions to the world of wine are still being used to this day. She invented riddling to get the dead yeast lees out of the bottle, making the wine less cloudy in a much speedier fashion. Madame Clicquot was also the first to make a blended Rose Champagne; now most Grande Marque houses make Rose in this fashion to this day.
These days, Veuve Clicquot continues to be on the cutting edge of innovation. Their marketing is second to none and the bright orange/yellow livery (another first from Madame) stands out from all the other labels. Luckily for us, it is not just bells and whistles. They lavish care and attention on their product and it shows.
The NV was well balanced and shows great finesse. There is a reason it is always in our top 2 when we put it in a blind tasting! The Rose on Madame Clicquot’s 200th anniversary was conducting herself with aplomb, this was one of my favourites of the night. We then followed with the 2008 Reserve and 2008 Reserve Rose and what a treat they were, still very much in the Veuve Clicquot style but deeper and richer and meant for a longer life. We finished with Extra Old and the jewel in the crown La Grande Dame 2006 the extra old consists of six different vintages from 2010 back to 1988, the wine is then double-aged, three years on lees in vats, then three years secondary fermentation in the bottle. Fresh, creamy, concentrated, refined. The Grande Dame was exceptional a silky classic. 53% Pinot Noir and 47% Chardonnay in sublime balance, the refined palate of honeyed, toasty stonefruit, almond and brioche checked by vibrant acidity. Great length from an opulent vintage.
There was a time when I thought that this tasting would not go ahead. Thankfully, there were twelve other Riesling lovers that were just as keen as I was to taste through some of New Zealand’s finest Rieslings. The key to a good Riesling is balance, and as luck would have it, every wine we tasted had achieved just that – perfect balance.
I did two flights of four. The total line-up was stunning and there was not a bad wine in the bunch. We tasted in order from dry through to extremely sweet. The first flight started with the Jackson Estate Dry Riesling 2015. This was a perfect beginning, as it still has some fruit presence. The Martinborough Manu 2016 was enjoyed by the attendees, with just about all agreeing that it was the wine of the flight. There was a hint of sweetness, but it was beautifully balanced against the fruity acidity. Greywacke 2014 was more of a dry style, but again we found perfect balance between the fruit and acidity. The final wine of the flight was Tongue in Groove 2012 from Waipara, and that wine was stunning, it is just starting to show its secondary flavours.
The second flight consisted of Pegasus Bay, Millton Opou, Rockburn Tigermoth and Fromm Spatlese. The Pegasus Bay 2015 is classic – nicely weighted and a must for every cellar. The Millton 2014 is always a delight, making me think of the smell of honey in the bush. The Rockburn Tigermoth 2016 is exceptional; this is a wine that will age gracefully in the cellar – but good luck not drinking it! The Fromm 2017, at only 7% it is ethereal in its lightness. As it opened, it displayed lovely fruit concentration and a streak of minerality. We finished with a Lake Chalice Sweet Beak 2010; it has a lush palate evoking stone fruit and marmalade flavours. At only $18.99, it is a steal.
All in all, the sign of a good tasting is how it finishes up at the end of the night and in this case, everybody left with a smile on their face, and that is for me what it is all about!
I’m so excited I can barely contain myself! I am finally able to start tasting some of the 2010 Burgundy’s that have arrived. As we are still basking in sunshine I am going to kick off this round of tastings with Vincent Girardin white wines on Wednesday March 13th – details on the Glengarry web site
I did a tasting of Vincent Girardin white wines just over a year ago and they were stunning every sip was a delight. Vincent’s origins date back 11 generations so his roots are buried deep in the hallowed soils of Burgundy and he knows every vine and parcel of land. The white wines that Vincent produces find their essence in their finesse and extreme purity. He manages to find the perfect balance between acidity and richness and while the wines are a delight to drink early they will benefit enormously from some time just laying about in a cellar.
I am going to open nine wines in total starting with a generic Meursault and finishing on a high with a Corton Charlemagne and his Quintessence Corton Charlemagne.
Watch this space for the summary of these wines I am certain that they will not disappoint!
To say that Anne Gros makes good wine is like saying Valerie Adams can throw things.
Every time I have the very great privilege of tasting Anne’s wine I am surprised and delighted all over again. One of the great things of course about the last tasting that I did was that all of the wines were from the great 2009 vintage. This vintage has proved itself again and again and while Anne Gros has established herself in the challenging vintages the rewards in a stunning vintage are undeniable.
We went through and tasted all of the 2009 Anne Gros wines that we have in stock here and they were all spectacular from bottom to top and even though they were approachable now the group thought that most would benefit further from a bit of age.
We started with the Bourgogne Chardonnay as a little palate cleanser it showed some lovely white floral notes and hint of toasty oak. We followed with the Bourgogne and Bourgogne Hautes Cote de Nuit both showed well and offered extremely good value although most thought that the Hautes Cote de Nuit could do with another year or so bottle age the Bourgogne was on the whole pleasurable now. We then moved in to the Chambolle Musigny La Combe D’Orveaux and Vosne Romanee Les Barreaux and both of these are a step up from most village wines and her skill in getting the most out of her grapes shines here. Anne gets a wonderful depth of flavour in her wines but without massive extraction just sublime.
But wait there’s more! (This by the way is the part of my job that doesn’t feel like working at all!) We did the Clos Vougeot, Echezeaux and Richebourg. Just for fun one of the group suggested that we did them blind this was great as it took away any preconceptions that we may have had. I am happy to say that I did guess them correctly when it came to the reveal –phew reputation intact! They were as expected all remarkable and a delight to taste the Richebourg stood out from just the sheer power of the wine, this is a massive wine and would be a worthy addition to the cellar of a serious Burgundy collector. With that said the star of the night was without a doubt the Clos Vougeot it was elegance personified and enjoyed by all. The Echezeaux was a star in its own right it had lovely spice notes and fantastic structure it was another five star wine but just slightly overshadowed on the night by the Clos Vougeot