Three wines from an almost dud-free selection of 48 put out for tasting in London yesterday by the six members of the Bunch – Adnams, Berry Bros & Rudd, Corney & Barrow, Lea & Sandeman, Tanners & Yapp Brothers.
2008 Domaine Vincent Dampt, Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys
Stellar premier cru Chablis from Vincent, son of Daniel and grandson of Jean Defaix, which is a good start in Chablis life if ever there was one. Vincent has also worked with Olivier Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet and done a stint in Marlborough, New Zealand. The nose is quintessence of Chablis with nutty, sour-cream richness set against stony minerality and tingling freshness. The palate is creamy and textured, with ripe fruit – hints of apricot and apple – and intense, penetrating, lime-like acidity. Great length and presence. 13% abv. Drink from now until 2018.
£18.59, Corney & Barrow
2009 & Co, Hawkes Bay
Having gone on about wine names last week I shall say nothing about this one except that I haven’t got it wrong: it is called ‘& Co’ (without the quote marks). As that’s all it says on the front label, I suspect it’ll be displayed more often with its back label on view. The bottle also has a crown-cap. The wine is the first release of an intriguing and delicious New Zealand sauvignon blanc from organic vines planted on calcareous gravels in Hawkes Bay in 2003 and 2004. It’s very aromatic with a varietal grassy note but with exotic notes of spice, passionfruit, smoke, honey and honeysuckle too. The palate is full and ripe, but structured, with a Graves-like smokiness and fresh finish. 13.7% abv. A propros of nothing, I reckon the winemaker Gabrielle Simmers has the wine world’s longest legs.
£12.95, Lea & Sandeman
2008 Castello di Argiano, Sesti Grangiovese, Toscana
The Sesti family of Castello di Argiano – not to be confused with Villa Argiano - make this from sangiovese that hasn’t made it into the Brunello or the Rosso di Montalcino. It’s supple and succulent, with fruit that is both sweet and savoury, a spicy tobacco character and an attractive, dry finish. It’s not hugely concentrated or complex, but delightfully honest, thoroughly Tuscan and thoroughly sangiovese. 13.9% abv. Viticulture and winemaking follow the phases of the moon, but not Steiner-inspired calendars and biodynamic practices, which Giugi (Guiseppe) Sesti, a world authority on ancient astronomy, thinks are misconceived.