Domaine de Bellene’s Côte de Nuits Villages from the 2018 vintage is a lovely wine. It opens to attractive and fragrant aromas of spice and blackcurrant, with an end note of smoke and cedar. It can only be Burgundy. The palate is medium bodied and more workmanlike with characters akin to red currants. This attractive wine is approachable now. Rating: Good to Very Good. Website: http://domainedebellene.com/. Reviewed: July 2020.
La Maison Trénel is part of the Chapoutier stable. From the Côte de Brouilly, this cru Beaujolais is particularly good. It has aromas of red fruits and a cedar like character despite its maturation in cement tanks. The palate is medium bodied with delicious and quite firm tannins. The finish is towards long. This wine provides compelling current drinking and is an excellent example of a Côte de Brouilly gamay. For a longer post on the wines of the region, see here. Rating: Very Good. Website: http://trenel.fr/. Reviewed: July 2020.
Sablet is one of the Côtes du Rhône Villages appellations in the southern Rhône Valley in France. This wine from Domaine de la Roubine is a blend of 70% grenache, 25% syrah and 5% cinsault. It has aromas of stalk, rosemary and a green bouquet garnis character. The palate is full bodied, with medium tannins and rich expression, together with high alcohol (15%) and no edges. Ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Website: http://domainelaroubine.com/en/ledomaine.html. Reviewed: June 2020.
This wine is a blend of grenache blanc, viognier, marsanne and bourboulenc. So a couple of less frequently seen grape varieties in an Australian context (grenache blanc and bourboulenc). The distinctive feature of this wine is its very full bodied, viscous palate. The viognier seemingly tries to break out of the wine and go it alone, revealing its distinctive apricot kernel character and the palate has an at times thick syrup like texture. The finish is dry and the acidity low. A full bodied slightly wobbly wine that is ready to drink now. Rating: Acceptable. Website: https://www.paul-jaboulet-aine.fr. Reviewed: June 2020.
I’ve tasted a couple of vintages now of this entry level syrah from the Cave de Tain and the Collines Rodaniennes IGP in the Rhône Valley, France. The 2016 vintage is reviewed here. The 2018 vintage is also of good quality. It has typical syrah aromas of wet rosemary, spice and bouquet garnis. The Australian equivalent would include cool climate Yarra syrah although this wine has fewer angles. The palate is full bodied, spicy, has soft tannins and a medium length finish. Ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Website: https://www.cavedetain.com/en/. Reviewed: June 2020.
Muscadet sur Lie is a very particular Loire Valley style white wine from the melon de Bourgogne grape variety that is relatively inexpensive, but consistent in expression. This Muscadet has typical aromas of yeast, lees and yoghurt. The palate is dry, medium bodied and has high and zesty acidity. Ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Website: https://en.sauvion.com. Reviewed: June 2020.
This is a sound pinot gris from Hugel in Alsace. There is not much here in terms of aroma, some pear notes perhaps. The palate is dry and has subtle acidity hidden under its fruit, which adds freshness. A pinot gris paradigm that is ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Website: http://www.hugel.com. Reviewed: June 2020.
The 1994 vintage of the Pichon Baron is a mature claret that remains in its drinking window at 26 years of age. The 1994s are considered a more modest vintage for left bank Bordeaux, but the better producers produce better wines, as usual. In my experience, drinking modest Bordeaux vintages from good producers (from long tasting, Pichon Baron is unquestionably in this group) at the right time can be as enjoyable as drinking wine from the great vintages.
The 1994 Baron has tertiary and fully developed aromas of old cedar, earth and soy. On the palate, the tannins are very fine, but still firm and build with time in the glass. The length on the finish is gentle, persistent and long, and the balance exquisite. This is a graceful and mature Baron that is ready to drink. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5. Price: $100+. Website: https://www.pichonbaron.com/en/. Reviewed: June 2020.
This is an excellent expression of Crozes-Hermitage from Jann Chave in the northern Rhône Valley, one of the region’s stronger producers. It has cedar and spice aromatics. The palate reminds of syrah with its pepper and spice character. Some pastille notes express themselves at intervals. Overall, this is a very good wine that is enjoyable now and can be approached over the next 5 to 8 years. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 12.5. Price: $50s. Website: https://www.yannchave.com/en/our-wine. Reviewed: June 2020.
This is an excellent AOP Chablis from Christian Moreau and the 2018 vintage, frankly resembling a premier cru in terms of quality. It has pleasingly typical Chablis aromas of stones and a yoghurty, lees character. The palate is dry, with attractive stone and flint notes, medium length and linear, high acidity. I would ordinarily suggest drinking an AOP Chablis in its youth, but the quality in the glass here suggests the wine may improve with cellaring of 3 to 5 years. Rating: Very Good. Price: $50s. Abv: Not recorded. Website: https://www.domainechristianmoreau.com/eng/wines.html. Reviewed: June 2020.