D Byrne & Co Summer Tasting
28 May 2011



Byrne's of Clitheroe need no introduction to wine-lovers in the north of England and, indeed, beyond. The depth and breadth of their range of wines, housed in a Victorian shop and rambling cellars, are the stuff of legend: wine-lovers have been known to be lost for hours and curiously reappear with empty wallets and full car boots. 

Today's tasting, of "Wines for Summer" was quite an interesting tasting, showcasing the sort of wines I would tend to ignore on the shelves: all fairly anonymous mid-range wines; no big names; nothing at all obvious or eye-catching among the selection.  The only wines I already knew were the Turckheim wines, and those on offer here lived down to the usual avoidability of wines from what must be the biggest of the Alsace co-ops.  Not all the remaining wines convinced me, but there were some real crackers in here, perhaps most notably a really gorgeous gewurztraminer from, of all places, Trentino in northern Italy.  The were a few wines on tasting from the ever reliable Araldica (based in Piedmont in Italy), and these were true to form: good value, well-made wines showing good typicity.  There were a number from the producer/importer Boutinot, who do good business with restaurants in the north west and have some good, reliably interesting wines in its portfolio.

Prices are those given by Byrne's.

NV Ant Moore, Kiki Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (£9.99)
Not at all bad. Nothing wrong with it at all.  Not an aggressively NZ style sauvignon blanc, and I believe there's a touch of chardonnay blended in.  Very drinkable. Not a wine you'd cross the road to avoid, but equally you wouldn't want to cross the road especially for it. OK ... if you want a sub £10 sparkling sauvignon blanc. 83/100

2009 Boutinot Les Cerisiers Rosé, Côtes du Rhône
Very pale salmon pink, almost vin gris sort of lack intensity. Light, gentle red fruit on palate. Artificial strawberry fruit on finish and a bit hard too. 82/100

2010 Alianca Vista TR Rosé, Beiras
TR stands for Tinto Roriz, I think, the grape variety.  Pale red colour (very much red rather than pink). Very good nose with lots of good red fruit and cherries, packed full of character. Nice palate: lots of pleasing fruit with some richness and body. Portugal makes some good rosés nowadays and I like this one.  89/100

2009 Monte Schiavo, Pallio di San Floriano Verdicchio, Marche
Decent stuff. Straightforward verdicchio. 85/100

2010 Stanley Estates Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Intense asparagus nose. This is a fairly powerful, pungent NZ sauvignon blanc. Not a lot more to say about it: if you like this style, you'll love this. 86/100

2010 L'Ancienne Mâcon Charnay, Boutinot
A light, fresh nose. Light, clean, fresh but a bit lacking in white Burgundy typicity: could be from anywhere. Good for the price. 86/100

2009 Domaine Vincent Dureuil Janthial Rully Blanc
A lively nose, feeling a little wild. Lovely palate. Nicely balanced with good poise. But also a very good weight with some power behind. Jolly good. 91/100

2009 Tabali Chardonnay Talinay, Camachaca Vineyard, Limari Valley
A green tinged yellow appearance. Pretty full on chardonnay nose with some toasty notes. Nice palate. Good balance and mouthfeel. Nice touch of acidity on the finish.  87/100

2009 La Fleur Solitaire Côtes du Rhône, Boutinot
Dullish nose with a slight almondy lift. Decent palate. Would make a good by the glass option for the on-trade. 86/100

2009 Cave de Turckheim Reserve Pinot Blanc
Fairly tropical nose. Undemanding palate. On the richer side for a pinot blanc. 85/100

2009 Cave de Turckheim Reserve Pinot Gris
Rather slight nose. Decent palate. Clear Alsace PG style. Fairly weighty. 85/100

2010 Bottega Vinai Gewurztraminer, Trentino
A nice subtle perfume, more lycheee than rose: clearly gewurztraminer but not aggressively so. Very inviting. Very good, very soft, open, rounded gewurztraminer on the palate: there's a nice richness to it. All the good characteristics of gewurztraminer and none of the bad. Really lovely stuff. 91/100

2009 St Amour Le Cru des Amoreux, Domaine de la Porte du Paradis (£8.59)
Good soft, strawberry and cherry fruit on the nose. Light, slightly chunky gamay. I quite like this. 87/100

2008 Bottega Vinai Lagrein Dunkel, Trentino
A very deep, inky colour. A bit slight onthe nose - some black cherries? Good palate: lots of character. Deep black fruit, yet also very fresh feeling. 88/100

2008 Bourgogne Le Chapitre, Réné Bouvier
Quite deep red fruits on the nose, that you wouldn't immediately guess was Burgundy if served blind. Quite meaty on the palate. Fine, but it doesn't thrill or interest me. 84/100

2009 Tabali Talinay Salala Vineyard Pinot Noir, Limari Valley
Quite deep and plush on the nose. A bit bloody on the palate maybe. Rather green, crunchy palate with notable acidity after. 83/100

2008 Araldica Barbera d'Asti Ceppi Storici, Piemonte
Simple reddish fruits on the nose. Good, easy palate. The usual straightforward, good value Araldica. 86/100

2008 Villa Tonino, Baglio Curatolo Nero d'Avola, Sicily
Smoky, gently herby black fruit on the nose. Gorgeous palate: sweet black fruit; structure; balance. 89/100

2007 Araldica Barbaresco Corsini
Light, bright nebbiolo nose. Weedy restraint with notable tannins. Not for me. 86/100

2009 Dehesa de Rubiales, Alaia Tinto, Castilla y Leon
Nicely perfumed, light palate, backed up with good structure. 87/100

2007 Château Mayne Viel, Fronsac
Quite mushroomy on the nose. A good luncheon claret. 87/100

2005 Chateau Giraudels Milon, St Emilion Grand Cru
Attractive nose. Very good palate: very feminine and elegant. 89/100

2005 Chateau Lestage Simon, Haut Médoc
Fairly decent nose. Bit of a clunky, basic feel. But it is right at the end of the bottle and largely sediment, so can't really judge.

2008 Rustenberg John X Merriman, Stellenbosch
If you like fresh sawn oak and black fruit, this is a lovely nose. Impressive palate, with a rather classy feel. 90/100

2009 La Chapelle de Marin, Cuvée Patrice Armand, Côtes du Rhône, Boutinot
Very attractive, bright, vibrant nose with a subtle perfume. Gorgeous fresh, clean palate. Cracking stuff, and superb value. 91/00

2009 Willunga 100 'The Tithing' Grenache, Mclaren Vale
There's classy feeling black fruit on the nose. But in the mouth, I get quite a soft drink feel, with very juice fruit and not a lot else. 86/100

2007 Patrick Lesec, Gigondas Les Espalines
A nice straightforward Gigondas - I'd have put it as more of an £8.99 wine. A bit too much alcoholic heat maybe. 85/100

2009 Altos Las Hormigas Malbec 'Terroir', Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
Lovely deep, rich, black fruit on the nose. Very pleasant palate. A good food wine. 88/100

2008 Bremerton Wines, Matilda Plains Shiraz-Cabernet, Langhorne Creek
Really intense, sweet blackcurrant nose. On the palate, it's a simple, sweet perfumed cabernet. I don't get any shiraz on either the nose or the palate. 83/100

2007 Mount Adam Patriarch Shiraz, High Eden, Barossa
Big sweet black fruits dominate the nose, which is slightly sweaty. Good palate, with nice balance. 86/100

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Last updated: 29 May 2011