Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wines of the week - March 22nd

This week we focus on some wines that are high in acidity, and while they are all capable of being enjoyed in their youth, they are all built to outlast many red wines.

Lanson Champagne Gold Label Brut 1996

The Lanson Champagne house was founded in 1760 by Fran├žois Delamotte, eventually changing its name to Lanson in 1837. The late 20th century saw a number of ownership changes, before the eventual creation of Lanson-BCC in 2006, under the control of Bruno Paillard (see October 20th). A rare case purchase of Champagne for me, I've been enjoying this wine for around seven years now, and remain astonished at how youthful it can seem.A bottle at Xmas was quite spiky with bracingly fresh acidity, but this bottle, from a friend's cellar, was considerably more friendly and enjoyable. There was still plenty of acidity and citrus notes, but rounded out by some biscuit and nutty characters that provided a tremendously elegant and refreshing champagne. Hopefully with a few more years in the cellar, my last bottles will end up in such a happy place.

Domaine Huet Clos de Bourg Sec 2009

A few months ago I had Huet's Haut-Lieu 2009, and I've been looking forward to trying the Clos de Bourg ever since. The wine didn't disappoint, although it is still very youthful. There's a slightly sweet attack, but the acidity quickly tames that and the wine finishes dry with good length for a young Vouvray. Shows honey, citrus and minerality characters in abundance, but will only get better in the coming years.

Didier Dagueneau Silex 2004

An early contender for my white wine of the year, this was a reminder of how great a loss Didier Dagueneau's untimely death was back in 2008. For those used to the passionfruit bombs of New World Sauvignon Blancs, it would be hard to reconcile the Silex as being the same grape, although it's almost a world away from run of the mill Pouilly-Fume too. The nose displays lots of grapefruit with some underlying herbaceous characters, while the palate shows great complexity, with grapefruit, lime and melon competing with a tremendous mineral intensity. The mouth feel is rich and powerful for a white wine with so much acidity and focus. Not cheap, but worth he occasional splurge.

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