2003 Château d’Or et de Gueles Trassegum, Costières de Nîmes
I’ve just tasted this Syrah-based southern French red again, more than a year since I last tried it, and if anything it’s even better than before. It’s a big wine (14% alcohol) with sweet, but fresh cherry fruit, a nutty kernel richness and a stony mineral character. It’s become softer and more complex with age, but retains a vitality which is all the more impressive coming from the heatwave 2003 vintage. Trassegum is the top label from Château d’Or et de Gueles, made only in the best years and from particular parts of the vineyard. It’s back in stock at The Real Wine Co, a gem of a merchant selling wines chosen with passion and expertise by ex-supermarket wine buyer Mark Hughes.
£11.75, The Real Wine Company.
2007 Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay
First-class chardonnay from the Piccadilly Valley in South Australia – as good a demonstration as there is of the quality being achieved in some of the vineyards in Australia chosen for their combination of cool climate and suitable soils. This has white-peach and citrus flavours, a nuttiness that comes from both the chardonnay and the French oak barriques (used for fermentation and ageing) and a beautifully polished, creamy texture. It’s elegant, fascinating and can only become more complex. I expect it to become richer, nuttier, less lemony, more honeyed, but also more savoury. If you keep it until 2017, it may look quite cheap, too.
£29.99-£43.99, Last Drop Wines, Edencroft Fine Wines, The Sampler, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges.
2007 Tapanappa Foggy Hill Pinot Noir
Pinot noir at it’s purest and most seductive, with plum and cherry aromas, a hint of oriental spice, the silkiest of textures and an underpinning of delicate acidity and supple tannins. Brian Croser says that the next vintage of this wine, the 2008, is the most exciting that his 41 years of being a vigneron have produced. Can’t wait.
£21.50, Edencroft Fine Wines
A bit of background: Tapanappa is a partnership of Brian Croser, who founded Petaluma, with Champagne Bollinger and the Cazes family of Château Lynch-Bages. The other wines, equally recommended, are Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Shiraz and Whalebone Merlot (both around £30-£36). I’ve held back on my Tapanappa recommendations because they don’t look very recession-friendly, but they would be a great way to celebrate at home instead of going out and would make ideal presents for wine lovers (thanks, my birthday is in January, but Christmas will do).
And next week… I’ll find something cheaper.