’07 Qupe “Santa Ynez Valley” Marsanne

Whenever I need to get into Central London, and I have time, I prefer to take the bus. I don’t know why, the train is usually faster (unless someone has jumped on the tracks,which happens more often then you’d think) and anyway,  I just love watching the streets of London pass by. My bus, the 176, goes straight thru Dulwich and along Lordship Lane where there is a wineshop, Green and Blue Wines. Everytime I pass by I swear I’m going to get off and check it out but I was never really motivated to do so until I found out they specialized in natural and organic wines. Well, anyone who’s been reading me for a bit knows I’m a big fan of those wines so I jumped off the bus the other night to check it out. They had a nice selection and I was tempted by many until I spotted the ’07 Qupe “Santa Ynez Valley”  Marsanne/roussane – on sale! Down from £20 to £12. I snapped it up and jumped on the next bus home. Qupe specialize in making wines using Rhone varietals and the grapes are sourced from carefully selected growers. The grapes are all organic and/or biodynamically grown. The grapes used for this wine were no exception coming from vineyards around Los Olivos, CA. The wine was a bit too cold when I opened it but after giving it 15 mins to warm up it proved to be a delight. Bright straw yellow, at first it didn’t have a very intense nose but after a bit of time, I started to get apricots and white stone fruits with a certain, slight waxiness to it.  When I sipped and swished, I got ripe apricots and peaches on a round medium bodied wine. There was a pleasing minerality on the palate along with hints of bitter almonds and it finished with a citrus peel finish, kind of pith-y. I had it with salmon en croute, a lovely match, the wines fruity qualities shining on my palate, loads of peachy, stone fruits and enough acidity to keep...

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Reds (mostly) and lamb for dinner

  Sunday dinner at mine. Rack of lamb, good friends and lots of fab wine. Ayesha, John and I provided the food and everyone else had to bring a wine. The aperitifs –  ’02 Blin vintage champagne and the Balfour Brut Sparkling Rose. The Balfour again getting rave reviews, Penny said that it could easily be confused with the Taittanger Rose. The Balfour was great with the bacon wrapped chestnuts but not so good with the chili olives – live and learn… I twittered the evening so I have some record of what we drank. Here are the highlights. Starting off with Albert Bichot ’06 Puligny Montrachet and garlic prawns. A lovely village level wine from the Cote de Beaune, still quite fresh and lemony with a great balance of fruit and alcohol, washed down those prawns in no time. What to have with the rack of lamb? I started with Penny and Paul’s contibution, the Rene Bouvier ’03 Cote de Nuits-Village, fantastic gamey, savoury, meaty pinot noir with plush raspberry and other red berry fruits – perfect with the lamb. According to my tweets, the next wine was the Qupé Los Olivos Cuvee ’06. A Rhone style blend from the Santa Ynez Valley that I had picked up when I was CA for the WBC in Oct. Comments on the Qupé – black fruits, a bit alcholic, slightly unbalanced we thought because of that but full and rich with hints of sweet spice and a  licorice finish. Penny said it was a bit scatterbrained, still needed time to age but the potential was definitely there.  Great structure with a long lasting finish. Back to the Old World with a St. Julien, Ch. Lagrange ’96 that James dug up. Amazing nose on this bordeaux, it smelled like a butcher shop, dried blood, mint, wood spice, cigar box notes – Ana observed lots of secondary characteristics. It was excellent with the food, the tannins still quite evident  but not harsh and standing up to the lamb beautifully.   Jumping across the Atlantic, the Chilean Domus Aurea...

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