RSJ's 30th anniversary: 1980-2010

2010 was a very special year for us as the RSJ Restaurant celebrated its 30th year. We held a number of special events through the year to mark our 30th birthday.

36th Year: 1980-2016

Another milestone with events happening during our 36th anniversary year.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tasting: 2005 and 2006 in the Loire

21 September 2009

Last night we had a look at the 2005 and 2006 vintages – two quite contrasting vintages. The weather was settled and fine in 2005. This allowed producers to be remarkably relaxed and pick just when the grapes were ready. 2006 was quite different – it was a race against rot. For many producers this was the fastest vintage ever as they pulled out all the stops to get the grapes in before they were gobbled up by grey rot ripping through the vineyards.

A few climate figures from Tours illustrate the differences between the two years:

Total rainfall
2005: 400mm
2006: 684mm

Rainfall: August to November (2005 first)
August: 24 – 40
Sept: 19 – 95
Oct: 45 – 60
Nov: 31 – 59

Average max temperatures: July - October (2005 first)
July: 26.1˚C – 30.4˚C
August: 26.3˚C – 23.2˚C
Sept: 25.8˚C – 24.9˚C
Oct: 23.6˚C – 18.6˚C

Hours of sunshine (2005 first)
Total: 1929 – 1753
From January – October: 1750 – 1592

2006 was the wetter year with crucially well above average rainfall in the September, which provoked the rot. Overall it was cooler although with a very hot July. 2005 wasn't super hot but had a long period of even warm temperatures from July through to October.

Wines tasted:

Apéritif: Crémant de Loire, Domaine de Nerleux, Régis Neau £10.50
Attractively soft and creamy sparkler from Régis made from 70% Chenin Blanc and 30% Chardonnay and two years sur latte.

2006 Expression de Gneiss, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine, Domaine de l'Ecu, Guy Bossard £10.50
Gneiss is a rock that is similar to schist containing minerals in horizontal bands. Guy Bossard went organic in 1975 and has been biodynamic since 1986. He vinifies his different soil types separately. The 2006 had attractive floral notes and some weight of fruit with long minerla finish. Rather overwhelmed by the creamy risotto, would, I think, have shown better with some prawns or oysters.

2005 Touraine Azay-le-Rideau, Pascal Pibaleau £10.30

This white made from 100% Chenin Blanc is somewhat of a rarity. Only 50 hectares are classified as Touraine Azay-le-Rideau.
Annual production is 1800 hl with rosé accounting for 60%. Grolleau has to makes up at least 60% of the blend with Cabernet, Côt and Gamay allowed as the additional grapes. (I mistakenly said last night that more white than rosé was made.) There is no red Azay – instead reds are classified as straight Touraine. Well made floral, dry wine with some richness reflecting the vintage, hint of wool and a typical touch of acidity and bitterness in the finish to make it refreshing. Worked better by itself rather than with the salmon and risotto where the flavours didn't marry with the dish.

2005 Sancerre, Cuvée d'Antan, Domaine Henri Bourgeois

Served with: Scottish girolles risotto with roast organic salmon
This was a particularly successful dish – 'delicious' was a frequent comment.

2006 Les Châtains, Saumur-Champigny, Domaine de Nerleux, Régis Neau

2006 Le Haut de la Butte, Bourgueil, Domaine de la Butte, Jacky Blot

2005 Coteau de Noire, Chinon, Philippe Alliet

Served with: English free range duck breast with potato torte and seasonal vegetables

2006 Chaume, Coteaux du Layon, Château-Pierre-Bise, Claude and Joëlle Papin

Served with Tarte Tatin with Creme Chantilly

One of two Tarte Tatins prepared by George

Report to be concluded ........

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