SITT 2011



SITT is the Specialist Importers' Trade Tasting.

It's been a while since I've done a large tasting like this and I was very much flagging towards the end, not helped by probably walking miles due to the shortage of spittoons, which was really irritating as the merchant or even winemaker could be telling you something interesting, but you have to wander off to the centre of the room to spit, and then wait your turn again back at the table. Not great for the exhibitors trying quickly to build a relationship with a company that might be buying from them.  A few people told me that Judy Kendrick has passed on organisation of SITT to someone else, and if that's the case, I think it showed.  Or maybe the government has introduced a new tax on spittoons?

First, here are a few quick impressions as headlines, with the full tasting notes following below.

Table 2, Vintage Roots
Côtes de Gascogne Quatre Cepages, Pajot 2010 was jolly good: fresh citrussy, but with nice body. Great at c. £7.99
Their Morgon was lovely stuff, though no bargain.
Stellar Organics, No Added Sulphur Cab Sauv 2010 from South Africa. A good easy drinking cab with a nice bit of funk.
Novas Carmenere/Cab Sauv Emiliana 2008 (Chile) A very luxurious wine at a nice price.

Table 17, Jackson Nugent
I rather liked the Delheim wines. Gorgeous gewurz, gorgeous noble late harvest riesling. Grand Reserve Cabernet 2007 very impressive.
Even the Delheim Pinotage Rosé was drinkable. One of the few expressions of pinotage that I might willingly drink.

Table 21, Winehaus
Bonkers. What possesses someone to decide to specialise in the wines of Baden-Württemberg? Definitely deserves a look, though bear in mind that I tasted the rieslings so you don't have to. (The riesling Eiswein was lovely, though.)
Most of the wines were good, though not great. Some unusual stuff (unusual in the international context, not for Württemberg), like a 100% pinot meunier dry still white wine and a rather glorious Lemberger rosé Eiswein.

Table 26, Hungarian Food & Wine
All pretty solid stuff. The Tokaji and the Cserszegi Fuszeres were a bit disappointing.
But the really good Heimann Kekfrankos Selection 2008,  I thought a fascinating wine.

Table 27, Astrum
Again solid stuff. The Pfaffl St Laurent Altenberg and (an old favourite) the Verus Sauvignon Blanc were the standouts, though the Abbazia di Novacella Kerner and Cantina Terlano Pinot Bianco Riserva Vorberg are both worth a taste: nice wines.

Table 31, Indigo Wine
Some interesting Spanish reds. A pleasant but distinctly over-valued Bobal from the unfortunately named (for the British market) Bodegas Ponce.
The organic Syrah-Garnacha from Bodegas Jimenez-Landi impressed me, as did a biodynamic, unsulphured Cab Franc-Merlot blend from Bodegas Escoda, a funky, animalistic hairy-bollocked wine that's not afraid to step on the cracks between paving slabs.

Table 44, Winetraders
Got the feeling he didn't like people he didn't know coming to taste his wines, but it was good to get an opportunity to taste through the range of Bellbird Springs wines from Waipara in New Zealand.
The Pruner's Reward was a good traditional NZ sauvignon at a not unfair price.
The Home Block White (essentially an edelzwicker blend) is a firm favourite of mine and completely lived up to expectation.
It was the Block 8 Sauvignon Blanc, which I'd not come across before, that I found particularly impressive: very white Bordeaux-like, with a really classy feel.
The Pinot failed to rock my boat at all, though.

Table 49, Bella Wines
It was good to meet and chat with Hamish Wakes-Miller, whom I'd known for a while through the wine forum on Tom Cannavan's wine-pages

I'd gone to taste the Marc Kreydenweiss (yes, he of Alsace fame) Rhônes, which were all really good, the Perrières Costières de Nimes standing out for me, but I'd be happy to have any of the three in my cellar. Is there really such a thing as Vin de Pays des Côteaux Flaviens, or has Kreydenweiss invented it?

While at Hamish's table, I also tasted the Domaine La Prade Mari wines, with which he's more closely involved in the production. The roussanne was a bit disappointing: too young, from too young vines? But the others were all good and particularly good value. The Chant de l'Olivier is most definitely worth crossing the road for. Absolutely cracking stuff at a pleasingly keen price (£10.99).

Vintage Roots

Vintage Roots, based in Hook, Hampshire, are specialists in organic and biodynamic wines.  On this sample of their portfolio, I would say the wines are carefully chosen for a pretty high level of quality across the board, at very fair price levels.

Jackson Nugent Vintners


Winehaus is a bit bonkers. What possesses someone to decide to specialise in the wines of Baden-Württemberg?  Franken I could understand, but Baden-Württemberg? The wines from that region are completely different to the more commonly found German wine-producing regions further north, the Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Ahr, Mosel etc.  Red wines are much more commonly found here, with many pinot varieties/variations planted, and Blaufränkisch (here called Lemberger), though as it is still Germany, there has to be riesling.  On the basis of tasting this sample of the wines, riesling is categorically not a strength of Baden-Würrtemberg.  I don't know much about Winehaus, but with a portfolio like this it has to be a labour of love, and deserves support.

Hungarian Food & Wine

Astrum Wine Cellars 

Indigo Wine

Winetraders (UK)

Rhône to Rioja

  • N.V. Equipo Navazos, Manzanilla I Think
    A glorious, nutty, salty aromatic nose. Lovely fresh, pure palate. Great complexity. 91/100
    ManzanillaIthink lable
  • N.V. Equipo Navazos, La Bota de Fino "que va para Amontillado" Nº 24 
    A deep golden colour. Rich almonds and extract of apricots. At first you think it's a bit simple and wonder what the fuss is all about. Then, all of a sudden, it really explodes in the mouth. Big, zingy, controlled excitement. Fabulous. But at around £40 for a half bottle, there is undoubtedly better value amontillado out there. 91/100
    BotadeFino24 Label
  • N.V. Equipo Navazos, La Bota de Manzanilla "Navazos" Nº 22
    Green olives and anchovies on the nose. Very maritime flavours, almost tending towards a hint of fishiness. Lovely, intriguing manzanilla. 89/100
    BotadeManzanilla22 label

Bella Wines
  • 2008 Marc Kreydenweiss Costières-de-Nîmes Perrieres - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes 
    Meaty, bloody, red fruits on the nose. Lovely, elegant palate. Light and poised. Really good fruit with a very pleasant and surprising acidity. Terrific. 93/100
  • 2007 Marc Kreydenweiss Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 
    A very attractive, gently perfumed nose with thyme and black fruits. Attractive, correct palate, but with a touch of dried fruit character. Good structure. 90/100
  • 2007 Marc Kreydenweiss Vin de Pays des Coteaux Flaviens Ansata - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Vin de Pays des Coteaux Flaviens 
    Initially, a real bruiser with some farmyard notes, but really balances out with time, with some violet perfume. Silky tannins and black fruit. 92/100

  • 2010 Domaine La Prade Mari Viognier - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d'Oc 
    Nice, poised nose. Better than the same producer's 2010 Roussanne - more rounded and grown up.. A rounded, clean palate. Works well. 88/100
  • 2010 Domaine La Prade Mari Roussanne - France, Languedoc Roussillon 
    Very young vines, planted five years ago - this vintage was their first crop.
    It has a rich, varietally correct nose. Very, very young feeling in all respects.  Rather sternly priced, and the score reflects that a little. 83/100
  • 2010 Domaine La Prade Mari Minervois Rubis des Garrigues - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Minervois 
    An equal blend of grenache, syrah, mourvèdre, and carignan. A deep pink/pale red colour. It has fairly rich, sweet red fruit on the nose. It's fairly slight on the palate. Pleasant enough, with a nice touch of dry fruit on the finish. 86/100
  • 2007 Domaine La Prade Mari Minervois Chant de l'Olivier - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Minervois 
    A 50:50 blend of syrah and grenache.
    Is it the power of suggestion, or do I get black olives on the nose? Definitely some garrigue. A lovely silky mouthfeel. Jolly good. 92/100
  • 2008 Domaine La Prade Mari Minervois Secret de Fontenille - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Minervois 
    A blend of syrah, grenache and carignan.
    A lovely characterful nose, with aromas of black fruit, tobacco, minerality and the garrigue. A nice, spicy blend with exceptional length. Very good purity on the finish. 89/100
  • 2007 Domaine La Prade Mari Minervois Gourmandise des Bois - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Minervois 
    80% syrah, 20% grenache.
    There's a mix of tobacco, black fruits and some garrique spices on the nose. Much silkier and easier on the palate than you might expect from the nose. Nice, fine tannins. 88/100
  • 2009 Domaine La Prade Mari Carignan Vieilles Vignes - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Vin de Pays de l'Hérault 
    There's a slight hint of cherry fruit on a nicely integrated nose. Light, fresh, clean. Very good value. 88/100
  • 2008 Domaine La Prade Mari Minervois Conte des Garrigues - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Minervois 
    An equal blend of syrah and grenache, aged in new oak - more new oak than the Chant de l'Olivier. On the nose, there is slightly bloody black fruit. There's notably more oak on the palate than the Chant de l'Olivier, giving it a pretty big structure. 87/100

  • 2008 Moulin Gimié Vin de Pays d'Oc - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d'Oc 
    Bright, clean fruit with quite a jammy edge. Big, open-feeling fruit on the palate. There's an oddly savoury, almost fishy note on the finish. 85/100
  • 2008 Moulin Gimié Vin de Pays d'Oc les Fossiles - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d'Oc 
    A blend of merlot, syrah and mourvèdre.
    Very pleasant, perfumed sweet black and red fruits on the nose. A very pleasant palate. Uncomplicated, rather summery fruit. Good drinking with a nice character. 89/100

A couple of wines tasted from other exhibitors (identified in parentheses)

2009 Alsace Pinot Gris, Philippe Gocker, Mittlewihr (Winegrowers Direct)
A light, fresh, bright nose. Straightforward Alsace pinot gris. Good at the price (c. £11). 86/100

2008 Gewurztraminer Kitt, Domaine Rémy Gresser, Alsace (Top Selection)
A nice, classy, perfumed gewurztraminer nose - feeling very controlled. This is a good, classy Alsace gewurz with nice weight and balance.  There's also a nice freshness, especially on the finish. Rather seriously priced at nearly £20 though.  89/100

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Last updated: 7 Feb 2013