As you may be aware, I have been off alcohol for a while on medical advice. I must admit I did make a few exceptions for particularly attractive tasting opportunities, but last weekend was the first one where my wine drinking was back to normal. As it happened I managed to find three very enjoyable, though relatively modest wines, to break my fast with. These are the experiences that really make wine worthwhile for me.
The Talbot was drunk at home with a shoulder of lamb, but the other bottles mentioned below were opened at our local BYO restaurant, Aladdin. The restaurant was on fine form. It has expanded to occupy all of the ex-Indian restaurant next door – it moved into the first floor a year or so ago, and has now taken over the ground floor too. They do not sell alcohol, and so forgo the generous markups usually applied by restaurants, and I don’t think they have increased their prices in the seven years or so I have been going, but clearly they are successful. Presumably it is because they offer a product that people like, and it always seems to attract a broad range of customers. But anyway – the wine:
Ryzlink Rýnsk, Víno S Prívlastkem, Pozdní Sber, Polosuché, Tomáš Krist, Oblast Morave, Podoblast Slovácká Obec Milotice Vinícní Trať Šidleny, 2009, 11.5%, members’ price at The Daily Drinker is £11.70. Firstly, I think some translation and explanation is in order. I shall do my best – corrections welcome. This is a Riesling produced by Tomáš Krist, in the Oblast Morave region of the Czech Republic. Confusingly it is not easy to spot the country of origin on the label, but you do see the word Slovácká, which you might think is Slovakia – actually it is a subregion of Oblast Morave. This wine is a pale watery green. On the nose I get intense fresh lime and lemon. It has medium high acidity, and perhaps the merest hint of some residual sugar. On the palate the aromatics are as on the nose. The wine is refreshing, but the acidity is not at all searing. In fact it seems to have a creamy note, so I wonder it has perhaps gone through a malolactic fermentation, which I believe would be unusual for a Riesling. Decent length and rather a nice balance. Probably best to drink now, but I would be interested to see how it ages over the next few years. Pleasant but simple. ***
Terra d’Alter, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Touriga Nacional, Portugal, 2010, 14.0%, members’ price at The Daily Drinker is £9.00. FWIW, this is an IWC Gold Medal winner. Medium pale purple ruby colour, with an intense, fresh, blackberry and raspberry nose. Medium high acidity. Intense, but light. Fresh feeling to the wine. Aromatics as nose. Medium low tannin. Excellent length. Good juicy fruit. Nice bitter finish. Drink now. I am not sure about the extent to which sulphur was used with this wine, but freshness of the fruit reminds me of some of the best natural wines I have tasted. Other Touriga Nacional wines I have tasted have been a lot heavier than this one. ****
Cordier, Chateau Talbot, Saint-Julien, France, 1974. I bought this recently for a very modest £8.00 from someone who picked it up at auction. On wine-searcher at the time, I saw it being offered for £60 and £140 by different merchants. Pale tawny colour. On the nose and palate, it is has mature red fruit, and attractive gentle warm spicy notes. Medium acid and medium astgringency, with excellent length. Despite 1974 being a poor vintage, this was not at all dried out or oxidised. It might well have been better many years ago, but is still a nice wine that gave me a lot of pleasure, and at £8 it was a bargain. Not sure I would want to pay anything like £60, but those who appreciate mature wines more than me might see that as a reasonable price. ****