"Peers an Happel"

To a presentation of some of the wines of Marqués de Cáceres by Florent Thibaut, their Export Sales manager. He spoke most knowledgeably and entertainingly, and, I must add, with a wonderful accent - "peers an happel" are the fruit flavours to be found in the Blanco Crianza '03 (cork) which scored a solid 14/20.

The most interesting wine of the evening was the Gran Reserva 1995 (cork). It was still fairly purple, not really aged looking at all, and boy did it show well tonight. Last time I tasted this we opened a second bottle, so dull was the first, and the second bottle only confirmed our opinion of the first. But tonight's bottle was full of wild flavours and aromas - my notes include "spaghetti hoops on very buttery toast, talcy perfume, bananas, ?toothpaste". Yeeeeha! (Also a very strong 16+/20).

I must also mention the Satinela Semi Dulce ('05, cork), which possesses one of the dodgiest labels on any sweet wine anywhere. Don't be put off as I was for so long - try this one soon. It's very, very pale, only just green; mildly aromatic, fruity and very clean; and has a lovely sweet vinous palate. This late harvest Viura scores 15/20.


More Minervois

Last time it was an AC wine - La Cuvée Mythique - for only £3.49. Tonight I'm drinking a Vin de Table which costs twice that. Yup, it's Hegarty Chamans No.3, under cork (£6.99 from Oddbins). The way the wine is labelled though, it's clear that it is from the 02003 vintage.

In truth, the label would make you think this wine was Australian, but one sniff tells you otherwise. I originally wrote, "...it can only be Southern France", but then I thought about how it rather reminds me of the Observatory Carignan/Syrah, from South Africa, so I intend to keep that assertion in reserve until I can test it against my precious last bottle of that finest of nectars.

The No.3 is very youthful looking - bright purple - and has a powerful nose, with a complex mix of herbs, burning green twigs, molasses, licorice, soy sauce and five-spice powder. There is also a fair whack of bright fruit, I'm told, but I was too distracted by all the savoury elements to pay any attention to that. The palate is strong, dry, somehow bitter and sweet at the same time, with fairly rough tannins and a long finish with a sharp little twist to it.

Despite all these good things I'm saying about it, I only rate the wine as 15/20. It falls into the same category as the de Bortoli Gulf Station Pinot Noir (blogged here); interesting but not satisfying. I think it's just not knitted together yet. I'll try it again in six months or a year and tell you how it is evolving.


'42 Cuvées'

... it says on the label - obviously this wine is the ultimate answer. The question must have been, "What bargain wine should rodbod buy this week?"

The more different wines I taste, the more I like them all. But if I do have a weakness, it has to be for Minervois, the first cheap-yet-decent red wine I came across. So to find the Coop doing La Cuvée Mythique for only £3.49 gladdened my heart. It's the 2001 vintage, under cork , so obviously they are keen to clear it, but it certainly isn't past it.

It is still a youthful looking purple. The nose is strong and clean, with notes of pepper and cherry jam (or maybe pie filling). There are more cherries on the palate, which is full, dry and rich, with a spicy peppery finish.

A solid 15/20. Grab some before I complete my tour of Coops of the West of Scotland - once I've finished there won't be any left.