(15 September 2008)
Our autumn season of tastings kicked off with a very successful tasting of Sauvignon Blanc. With the exception of the aperitif – a Sauvignon from Anjou – all the wines came from the Loire’s central vineyards, the home of Loire Sauvignon Blanc. This was a rare opportunity to see how well these wines age as we tasted wines back to 1989. With the notable exception of the 1997 Château de Tracy, the wines had lasted well and generally were remarkably youthful for their age. As well as the wines, the quality of the cooking, particularly the main course of a trilogy of fish, was much applauded. Chef Alex was congratulated on getting the timing absolutely right – not easy when serving some 25 people at the same time. "I've really enjoyed myself – everyone is so friendly and relaxed," said someone attending their first RSJ tasting.
Unfortunately only the first three wines are still available.
1] 2006 Sauvignon de Bablut £7.85
Christophe Daviau VDP du Val de Loire
From Brissac-Quincé in Anjou, some weight, easy drinking Sauvignon softer acidity than generally found in the wines from further east.
2] 2007 Quincy, Domaine des Ballandors £9.75
Jean Tatin & Chantal Wilk
Racy, lemony typical of the clean, precise flavours of 2007. Jean and Wilk’s wines tend to take on weight after a few months in bottle.
3] 2006 Menetou Salon ‘Clos de la Cure’ £9.75
Roger Champault et Fils
Disappointing: quite fat but dumb – lacked zip.
4] 1999 Sancerre (in magnum)
Opened up in the glass, citric and mineral, still youthful. Well liked by many of those present.
5] 2000 Pouilly Fume ‘La Rambarde’
Showing well – yellow plum on nose, some weight with racy acidity in the finish.
First course: warm goats cheese, roasted peppers & ciabatta crostini
6] 1997 Pouilly Fumé, Château de Tracy
Comte Henri d’Assay
Both bottles badly oxidized. Served it anyway as an example of oxidation. Not clear whether corks were to blame or whether the fault lies elsewhere. Is this a similar problem to that suffered by some top end Burgundies from the same period?
7) 1996 Sancerre Dominique Midgeon
Last minute additional to replace oxisided Tracy. Still very youthful, quite lean.
8] 1997 Sancerre ‘Les Culs de Beaujeu’ François Cotat
Powerful, rich fruit matched by balancing acidity in the finish. Very good match with the fish.
9] 2004 Quincy, Cuvée Sucellus Jean Tatin
Tasted on its own the oak was not yet fully integrated leading one to wonder whether there was enough concentration to carry the wood. However, it was much improved with the fish and a particularly good match with the salmon. Sucellus was the Gaullish god of agriculture, forests and alcoholic drinks.
Main course: scallop, monkfish & salmon
Cress, crushed new potatoes
Peas & broad beans
White wine veloute
10] 1989 Cuvée Pierre ‘Vendange tardive’ N/A
Joseph Balland Chapuis
Something of a curiosity. Not especially sweet with some honeyed and barley sugar flavours. Predictably overwhelmed by the dessert. Although it comes from Sancerre it can only be called a vin de table français as the Sancerre appellation is only for dry wines.
Dessert: spiced orange cake with plums & whipped yogurt