2006 Edmond Vatan Sancerre Clos la Néore
Great stuff. Classic Vatan aromatics of mint, herbs and chalk leading into a palate full of incredibly fresh citrus and pear fruit over a mineral base. There's a sense of remarkable purity and finesse to the flavours, superb length and it's a wonderful combination with Crottin de Chavignol.
1998 Fayolle Hermitage Les Díonníeres
Textbook Hermitage; powerful, a little rustic and still rather young with layers of black olives, roasted meats, earth and a touch of leathery funk all combining into a wine that's incredibly fragrant and compelling to sit down with and follow over a few hours. There's great balance, still some tannin lurking on the back end that suggests it needs more time, but it's a fantastic wine.
2007 Marc Sorrel Hermitage Le Gréal
Incredibly young and really in need of a lot of time in the cellar, but it's already quite amazing now and offering a lot after a few hours in the decanter. Great aromatics combining all sorts of smoky, meaty, floral and dark fruited flavours into a lovely scent, but the real fireworks are in the mouth where there's a remarkable combination of power and finesse, tremendous depth, balance and incredible persistence. I expect this will be amazing with time.
2006 Marie-Noelle Ledru Champagne Brut Rosé de Saignée Grand Cru
The darkest rosé I've come across; this is an incredibly lurid red, looking like more like cherry soda than any wine I've seen before. It's also remarkably un-Champagne-like, not showing any yeasty/autolytic flavours but instead it's all about incredibly pure cherry and raspberry fruit over a vivid chalky mineral base. There's a sense of real refreshment and great balance here, and while it's not the most complex wine right now, it's certainly compelling and very enjoyable. I'll hold off opening my other bottle for a while though.
2010 Yvon Métras Fleurie Vieilles Vignes
A compelling fragrance right away with an incredible scent of lavender and other bright floral notes, fresh red fruits and a savoury earthy element that becomes more prominent with air. Medium weight, elegant and incredibly finessed in the mouth with an incredible purity to the fruit flavours and impressive length.
Sunday; a few older reds with tea smoked duck and pork soup dumplings, then various Rieslings with increasing levels of spicy meats (chicken, pork belly, beef) at Grand Sichuan:
1988 Noël Verset Cornas
First impressions are of barnyardy funk. There's a lot of brett here, but with air it calms down a little and shows gentle red fruited flavours mingled with mature leathery and meaty elements. It's quite pleasant to drink, though it seems a little tired and a few years past its best, and not showing the distinctive characteristics of Verset or Cornas that younger bottlings have.
2003 Noël Verset Cornas
Powerful red and dark fruited flavours accented by faint smoky notes on a full bodied frame with low acidity; while it's not bad and reasonably balanced, it's rather one-note and anonymous, showing no real character whatsoever.
1994 Reinhold Haart Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese
Lightly corked. Not noticeable during the first few sips, when it showed lovely mature fruit and stony minerality, but with time the TCA quickly emerges and drags this down. Dammit.
1994 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese
Drinking superbly now. Fresh white cherries, limes and peaches augmented with developed smoky and creamy elements and vivid stony minerality, with all the flavours converging into a seamless whole. There's that Dönnhoff-typical sense of lightness and purity, great balance and remarkable persistence. Dönnhoff doesn't age, yeah.
2001 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese Auction
Phenomenal Spätlese. A spectrum of Riesling fruit ranging from classic pear, citrus and apple flavours to riper peachy notes; vivid slatey minerality, developing creaminess and bright floral accents all combining seamlessly into a whole that conveys power with barely any sense of weight. The balance here is impeccable with bright acidity balancing the sweetness and tremendous length and while still young, it's a truly remarkable wine.
2002 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Saarburger Rausch Riesling Spätlese
Still drinking very well, full of bright Riesling fruit, slate and herbal accents, but overshadowed on the night by a pair of truly amazing Rieslings from Haag and Dönnhoff.