North Rhône Tasting & Dinner
Market Restaurant, Manchester

1976 St Joseph Blanc, Grippat
Clearly it's a deep colour, but it's a bit dark to see clearly. A sweet, reductive marzipanny nose. Feels old on the palate, but also very distinct and very precise. Old, but very focussed and really rather nice to my taste. Switching from an ISO to a bigger glass, I felt it really came on and improved dramatically. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.
Come 11pm, however, and it had dried out and shuffled off this mortal coil.

2004 Viognier Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes, 13.5%
A nicely perfumed nose, but it has a really nice restraint. Vry nice palate. Very balanced and rich, but with some lovely acidity too. A very nice wine. Very Good Indeed.

2002 Saint Joseph Blanc "Le Clos", Domaine Florentin, 12.5%
A smoky, very curious nose: a touch sulphury? and quite scented in not the most attractive of ways. Quite strange on the palate. Very big attack, then it hollows out but it's full again after. A decent wine, but curiously unsatisfying. Very Good.

2002 Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde de Guigal, E. Guigal, 12.5%
Lovely, youngish nose. Very attractive, sweet black fruits on the nose, together with some fresh, raw venison. Nice palate. Good balance. Really very young and maybe a bit international, but you can't deny that it has a certain attractiveness. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

2001 Clos des Grives, AC Crozes-Hermitage, Domaine Combier, 13%
Combier, not Colombier. A very meaty, gamey nose. Very nice on the palate - nice and refined, with really good balance. A very pleasing wine, but perhaps not for the long term. Very Good Indeed.

1999 Hermitage Nobles Rives, Cave de Tain L'Hermitage, 13.5%
Sweet roast beef on the nose. Very focussed on the palate. Possibly a little on the simple side, but very approachable and with a a certain deliciousness. Very soft, quite silky with quite reticent tannins that only really appear on the finish. Very Good Indeed.

1997 Côte-Rôtie Cuvée Terroirs, René Rostaing, 13%
Meaty, leathery blackberries and blueberries on the nose, and quite spicy. Quite spicy on the palate too. I must have been talking and/or rushed on this one, as that's all the note says.

1997 Hermitage La Chapelle, Paul Jaboulet Aîné, 13.4%
Nice. Not special, but nice. Very Good+

1996 Hermitage, Jean-Louis Chave, 13%
Quite a leathery nose, but very nice, and very bacony. Very smooth and sily onteh palate. A very pleasant wine, that might have been better tasted earlier, as I don't find it particularly stunning. Very Good (+)

1994 Hermitage, Jean-Louis Chave, 13%
A really nice nose - very meaty with a nice touch of brett. There are more red fruits on the nose than the 1996. Lovely balance. This is an impressive wine. Very Good Indeed.

1995 Cornas Les Nobles Rives, Cave de Tain L'Hermitage, 12.5%
Very stinky on the nose - in a quite unattractive way. Very rubbery with lots of raw green notes. Weedy, green palate. It's not corked, but there's something very similar wrong with it. High toned, nasty palate. Faulty bottle.

1990 Crozes-Hermitage, Domaine de Thalabert, Paul Jaboulet Aîné, 13%
Meaty, sweaty nose. Very balanced palate. There's nice fruit, but it's very restrained. This is very classy and very refined. Very Good Indeed/Excellent.

1985 Crozes-Hermitage, Domaine de Thalabert, Paul Jaboulet Aîné
Very meaty, gamey on the nose with sweaty, leathery notes. Lovely palate. Very balanced, and it has a surprising complexity. Very warm, silky and inviting. Impressive stuff. Very Good Indeed+.

1987 Côte-Rôtie, Bernard Burgaud
A somewhat tired, sweaty nose, that actually feels a bit closed when you go back to it. There are some really meaty notes behind. On the nose, I think I could put this 5-10 years younger. After a while, there's a richness comes through on the nose: it's really meaty, with lots of roast meats notes. I find it very attractive on the palate. It's clearly old, and on the palate maybe feels a bit older than its twenty years. Meaty and gamey on the palate, but the real impression is of an impeccable balance. There's a nice acidity still and some lovely soft tannins on the finish. I really enjoyed this. Excellent.

1975 Côte-Rôtie Grand Vin Fin, Emile Champet, no alcohol shown.
This has a fabulous nose - soft old leather with some very restrained black fruits. An amazing, remarkable nose. Soft, restrained and supremely elegant on the palate. Maybe, maybe just a touch dried out, but for a bad year, this really is something else. Very, very elegant on the palate. In the glass, it almost seems to pick up a bit of fruit and opens out with a bit of aeration. In terms of the nicest surprise, wine of the night for me. Very Good Indee/Excellent.

1978 Hunter River Porphyry, Bin 5880, Lindemans
This looks like Irn Bru, and like a Laurence Llewellyn Bowen girder, there's a definite whiff of emulsion paint on the nose, which otherwise has some intriguing stale marmalade notes. It has a lovely, restrained sweet palate. Quite orangey and there's a bit of a taste of barley sugar towards the finish. Very Good Indeed.


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Last updated: 02 April 2007