Notes from the tasting:
2008 Anjou Blanc Sec Domaine Ogereau, Vincent Ogereau £8.25
Made from 70% Chenin and 30% Chardonnay, this is the least convincing wine in the normally exemplary Ogereau portfolio. Not that it is badly made, it is just that a Chenin/Chardonnay blend works tends to work better as sparkling rather than still. I fancy that this would be a more successful wine if it was pure Chenin.
2007 Château de la Roulerie Chenin Sec, Anjou Blanc Philippe Germain 2004 £10.75
Savennières Clos le Grand Beaupréau Vincent Ogereau n/a
1991 Anjou Blanc Sec Chauvigné Didier Richou n/a
2005 Les Rogeries, Anjou Blanc Sec, Domaine Richou
Served with roast skate wing, cod brandade, crab bisque
Unfortunately the 1991 Chauvigné was completely stuffed – oxidised. It would have been fascinating to taste this as 1991 is now very rare because a single April frost reduced the overall crop to a third of normal. It was swiftly replaced by the 2005 Les Rogeries, which perhaps needed time to open up. On this occasion the 2005 was rather dumb – very much in contrast to the 2004 which I drank in May, which was then sensational – rich, complex and balanced with clean acidity.
2007 Gamay, Anjou Gamay, Château Pierre-Bise
Replaced the 1997 Gamay, Anjou Gamay Château Pierre-Bise, which was unfortunately corked.
2007 La Croix de Mission, Domaine des Rochelles, Jean-Yves and Anita Lebreton
2006 Anjou Villages Vincent Ogereau 2005 Les Jeunes Vignes des Gelinettes, La Ferme de la Sansonnière, Mark Angeli
Served with: Roast saddle of English lamb, French beans, Chantenay carrots, fricassée of wild mushrooms, new potatoes
This was a very interesting range of reds unfortunately again disrupted because of a problematic bottle – this time the cork. Possibly, of course, that the oxidation of 1991 Richou was due to a faulty cork but difficult to establish. The 2007 Papin Gamay was attractive on its own – soft red fruits and quite marked acidity but without sufficient concentration to partner the lamb. Had the 1997 not been corked I think this would have fared better with the lamb.
I thought the 2007 La Croix de Mission was showing extremely well – not a heavyweight but good ripe red and black fruits and well balanced. Yet another example of how having a good site in a difficult year can make all the difference, especially where Cabernet Sauvignon is concerned in Anjou. The concentrated and powerful 2006 Anjou Villages Domaine Ogereau was the favoured wine in this series, although less clear cut than the white trio. Ideally the 2006 need another couple of years or so to further soften up. Drink the 2007s while you wait.
Mark Angeli's 2005 Gelinettes is certainly a petit bête – almost opaque, very concentrated, quite toasty and very tannic. It needs a lot of time and I have to wonder whether Mark didn't push the extraction too far or may be it just needs time. If I didn't know mark reasonably well I might accuse him of making a wine to attract the attention of a certain US wine critic but I'm sure that wasn't in his mind. To be fair to Mark his 2005 showed much better with the lamb.
2008 Coteaux du Layon Rochefort Château Pierre-Bise, Claude Papin
Served with: pear and almond tart with saffron ice cream
2008 is a difficult or perhaps unfulfilled sweet wine vintage in that everything was looking promising until the end of October and then frequent rain took over in November. Wines from grapes picked early have a lot of charm and purity but they don't have the complexity or concentration of a good Layon vintage. Enjoy them as an aperitif or with a variety of rich dishes but not with dessert. Also drink them young. 2007 in contrast is a lovely sweet wine vintage. There are wines here that really will go the distance.