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Having Brighton and Hove Albion season tickets for myself and youngest son, means we go down to Sussex every few weeks for a match. The Amex stadium is a wonderful ground set in the South Downs opposite Sussex University and Brighton, under inspirational Manager Gus Poyet, are playing lovely football. Having supported Albion through rough times, including the end of the Goldstone Ground, near extinction and wilderness years at Withdean Stadium it is great to see them winning matches in the Championship and still dreaming of Premiership football (although it is always good to be careful what you wish for as there is so much that is good about the Championship and a lot of downsides to playing in the top tier).
My mum, who lives outside Lewes, was one of many who opposed the planning application and although I was sympathetic to the arguments against it, my selfish desire for my team to have a decent ground won out over greener concerns. It really is a stunning venue and even visiting supporters rate it highly on fan sites. With beer from Harveys and Dark Star as well as pies by Piglet’s Pantry we are well catered for. There is lots of space around the stadium so no mad crushes getting in, great acoustics and comfy padded seats. No wonder we have loads of season ticket holders and are getting the highest attendance figures in the Championship (regularly 28,000 plus).
So how does a 2007 Southern Rhone fit in to this football soliloquy? Whenever we are down for a match we visit family and friends who always seem to have fantastic foraged food, game or homegrown veg. Recently I came back with some wild venison which stimulated a 2007 Rhone tasting as I was conscious I have a few that are probably peaking. It was a difficult but decent year, (especially when compared to Bordeaux) but is surrounded by the excellent 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010 vintages which tend to overshadow it. Forget about the 08s…
Chateauneuf-du-pape, Domaine de la Roquette 2007
This is designed to be more approachable than it’s famous sibling Vieux Telegraphe (which was great in 2007 but still needs years to peak). This was the third bottle I have tried over the last 18 months and I was surprised how quickly it seems to be fading. Perfectly drinkable but lacking the subtlety and the complexity I had hoped it might develop. Dark fruit, alcohol and a bit of spice. I could buy something cheaper from more recent vintages that would knock spots off it. Maybe it is in an awkward, slightly closed, stage?
Domaine de l’Ameillaud Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne 2007
Cairanne is often pretty humble stuff but this showed some nice garrigue notes which worked with the venison. Made with a deft touch by Nick Thompson everything was nicely integrated and balanced. I am not sure I would leave this hanging around if I had any left. I’m sure it might last but it is hard to see it gaining anything and it is really enjoyable now.
Côtes du Rhône Villages Secret de Famille, Paul Jaboulet 2007
Jacques Desvernois sourced Syrah from Dauzaman in the Gard to make this for the Wine Society. Some Grenache was added (10%) and this has proved to be a wise decision as it definitely adds another dimension to it. More than capable of another couple of years but I wouldn’t go past 2015. Nice purple showing some age, sweet and spicy. A good affordable effort from classy stable.
Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2007
I love this wine in most vintages. The Mourvedre in the GSM blend is key. It often disappoints on opening but left to its own devices for an hour (or two), preferably in the open air, it starts to morph into something slightly animal. Crunchy when young this is well into its stride but shows no sign of fading. The brothers Brunier seem to take more risks, or exercise less control, with this wine than Roquette above. I am probably the one per cent that would rank this higher if I was forced to give scores.
I had a bit of a technology meltdown recently. Broken phone, vanishing tablet at Gatwick, laptop lead mauled by puppy and backup phone deciding to give up the ghost after a decade of faithful service. Thus, I found myself in Portugal dependent on a hotel laptop to stay in touch with loved ones and work. The funny thing is that it was incredibly liberating. No checking multiple email accounts, video conferencing, texting, googling, telephone tutorials, tweeting, skyping, blogging or impulse buying on Amazon, Ebay etc. Instead I felt a pleasant connection with the immediate world and spent my time chatting with people, noticing things around me and generally entering in to a state of mindfulness that was an echo of simpler time.
Days became a simple refrain involving golf, wine, reading, chat and waves crashing in along the atlantic coast. And so it goes… This kind of routine has become alien to me and much as I love the frenetic pace of life in london it was a real antidote to atomised attention. Not enough to make me want to retreat to a Himalayan monastery but definitely enough to make me question the value added by information and communication technology.
So as I sipped Alvarinho with friends I became ever more conscious of the connection between the wine and the, for want of a better word, ‘terroir’. Vinho Verde means “green wine,” but translates better as “young wine”. The modern ‘Vinho Verde’ region was originally designated in 1908 and includes the old Minho province plus adjacent areas to the south. The resulting wines are widely available and keenly priced in Portugal. For example Muralhas (pictured) can be picked up for as little as 5 euros (or 3 or 4 times the price in a nice restaurant). Another good value one that is on a lot of restaurant lists is Deu et Deu.
I have often sung the praises of Albarino from over the border in Spain and there is something about the grape that ticks all the boxes for me. Refreshing, tangy, salty, peachy; great as an aperitif and good with lots of food. Often there is a pleasant spritz along with a limey acidity which makes it thirst quenching. Also it tends not to be too boozy so can be glugged. It is not always easy to find in the UK but Asda have an Albarino from the Rias Baixas in Spain (pictured) which is sometimes reduced from its already reasonable £7.98.
I was really amazed by this wine as I would probably have plugged for Puligny in a blind tasting! Made in the Okanagan Valley, the main viticultural area in British Columbia, by CedarCreek Estate (twice crowned ”Canada’s Winery of the Year”). This is part of their top-of-the-range Platinum label and was obviously made with serious care and attention, not to mention expensive barrels. It is easy to see why it’s picked up awards in Canada and the US. 357 cases were made but I guess not many pitched up in the UK. I will keep an eye out for other wines from CedarCreek and try to visit if I am in BC. This will drink well for years to come and I would love to taste it as it evolves and that expensive oak becomes more integrated.
Hand picked clone 76 and whole berry cluster pressed. 100% barrel fermented (25% with wild vineyard yeast) and 10 months in oak “from Coopers François Frères, Mercurey, Berthomieu, Remond and Dargaud & Jaegle”. Bottled September 2011 and released June 2012 . I love makers who put comprehensive information on the net. As well as the geek stuff they also have fun with tasting notes (see below) and a featured recipe; ‘bacon jam’ . If you haven’t tried bacon jam their version is here. You could cook up a batch and pair it with this wine.
WHAT WE SMELL Pineapple and roasted almonds.
WHAT WE TASTE Grapefruit. Minerals and spice.
WE’D EAT IT WITH Fresh crab, just pulled from the pot on the stove.
WE’D ALSO PAIR IT WITH Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album, Blue.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the 2011 Burgundy En Primeur tastings. The wines haven’t been massively hyped but are stylistically more ‘up my street’ with lower alcohol and more restraint than the lauded 09s and 10s (both of which I like). I guess most telling is what I actually bought to drink and it wasn’t at Grand, or even Premier, Cru level. I am increasingly priced out of these as Burgundy becomes ever more globally fashionable but in 2011 it also seems that top end wines might not be the best value because of the understated nature (limited longevity?) of the vintage. Given the problems with 2012, 2011 en primeur may be an opportunity not to be missed
The Corney and Barrow Tasting at the Tower of London gave an excellent overview of the pros and cons of the vintage and was the one that got me to part with cash. I ended up buying all three wines being shown by Domaine A & P de Villaine. The name will probably ring DRC bells but this is Aubert de Villaine’s own Domaine, based in Bouzeron, set up with his wife Pamela and now run by his nephew Pierre. (Website here). Villaine is of the ‘wines are made in the vineyard’ school of thought, and the wines reflect restraint in the cellar. A & P de Villaine has been organic since 1986 (certified by Qualicé-France) and the approach is well-bedded in, perhaps influencing the high quality of the fruit despite challenging conditions in 2011.
The Côte Chalonnaise (named after the region’s county town Chalon-sur-Saône and AKA Région de Mercurey) was identified as having good terroir by monks during the Middle Ages. Wines from Bouzeron, Rully, Mercurey and Montagny often provide value at a basic level but the area also has some seriously good makers some of them, like Villaine, interested in tradition rather than fashion. These wines also seem to be particularly food friendly.
Bourgogne Aligoté de Bouzeron (2011) A & P de Villaine; Aligoté may have been relegated in much of Burgundy (often for good reason) but in Bouzeron it is still extensively grown. This is Aligoté Doré, more refined than the more prevalent Aligoté and, in this incarnation, it ages well. Lots of lemon and hints of melon with wonderful minerality. Not cheap but fascinating and satisfying. Corney and Barrow, £135 per case of 12 in bond.
Rully Les Saint-Jacques (2011) A & P de Villaine; Despite its youth this is accessible (and may not be the longest lived white burg out there). The usual suspects of green fruit and blossom with a bit of brioche. I guess I could have bought any number of similar wines elsewhere but there was something about staying with the maker once I had decided on the other two wines. Corney and Barrow, £175 per case of 12 in bond.
Mercurey Les Montots (2011) A & P de Villaine; ‘Les Montots is situated on a fairly steep slope with southern exposure, planted with a selection of Pinot Noir vines from Nuits-Saint-Georges chosen for their aromatic qualities and moderate yield.’ Assorted red fruits and pleasant spiciness. At first it appears quite slight but there is an underlying structure that makes it surprisingly age-worthy (ready to drink in a year or two but potentially until 2020 onward). Traditional yet quirky, I can’t wait to drink it cellar cool with food. Corney and Barrow, £100 per case of 6 in bond. (This is made in such a small quantity that there is a limit of 6 per customer).
I was in town for a conference on inclusion earlier in the week and dropped in to a tasting in Bermondsey with Andrea D’Ercole from italyabroad.com, a small set up specialising in Italan wine and food. We were joined by Stefano Camilucci from La Valle Franciacorta who was showing three of his wines. What I really liked about the tasting was the small number of wines being shown; three sparkling Franciacorta, two whites and two reds all of which are drinking well now (see below), with a selection of anti-pasti and good company to discuss them with. This is much more analogous to how wines are drunk in real life rather than the false setting of a controlled tasting or a huge free for all with juvenile tannic monsters.
Franciacorta, La Valle NV
This Italian sparkling wine is made using the ‘Champagne method’ with a second fermentation in the bottle. Chardonnay, pinot bianco and pinot noir are vinified separately and then blended. It is a surprisingly structured and elegant Brut fizz. 12.5% and definitely worth trying at £20.99.
Franciacorta Rose’, La Valle NV
Left on its lees for at least 30 months, this blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is a lovely onion skin/pink. Fragrant fruit and lingering yeasty aftertaste I really enjoyed. Durable enough for food and good competition for more expensive French competitors. 12.5% and £24.59
Franciacorta Zerum, La Valle 2001
Zerum is a Riserva made only in the best vintages fom Chardonnay from the oldest vineyard. This is a big, rich fizz that clearly benefits from the aging process (60 months). Only a few hundred bottles are produced each year. Very versatile in terms of food. Impressive even at £53.99.
From a single sea facing vineyard in the north west of Sardinia. This is an atypical Vermentino, rich and minerally. Lots of fruit on the nose and hints of tropicality. Most striking is an ozone quality and long finish. A really good food wine (13.5%) £13.99.
The Olympics have defined this summer. In many ways they are now defining September too which is a huge achievement for the Paralympics. I had committed so much to the former that the latter became a bit peripheral despite my work with kids with disabilities. I came back from France (see below for winey stuff) and was faced with awe inspiring images of people showing the world that our stereotypes are patronising and outmoded. There are challenging new discourses opening up and wandering around Stratford is even more inspiring than it was 4 weeks ago. Fantastic! Luckily quite a few friends have tickets so I am going to get to see some events. I can’t wait.
I managed to visit Languedoc‐Roussillon, Burgundy and Champagne over the summer and it has been a good opportunity to reflect on their relative strengths and weaknesses. The extreme south east of France will always be one of my favourite places. The wildness, magical light, social history, food and wine … it has it all and is a hugely underestimated wine region because of its history of mass production. Makers such as Jean Gardies and Olivier Pithon are the antithesis of this, making terroir driven wines characteristic of the physical landscape but also representative of cultural capital and attitudes. I was told that Pithon is no longer making his ‘Saturne’ and have contacted him to try and find out if this is true. That wine epitomises all that’s good about the area; old republican vines, grenache, carignan and syrah, biodynamic experimentation, garrigue and minerality. It would be a profound loss and I have had my fill of that this summer.
I had been due to meet up in France with my friend Mark and his family but he had already told me he would be too ill to travel due to surgery and chemo. He died a few days before I left after demonstrating how to face a terminal diagnosis with bravery and humour. I found myself surrounded by the beauty of Collioure reflecting on how much I would have enjoyed sharing the wines of the region with him as our kids played on the beach. He will be badly missed, particularly by Nicola, Ella and Nick. He is also a loss to Psychology, the training of clinical psychologists and to our understanding of disability, the area that fascinated him.
I have spent years in search of obscure vineyards and dragging my family around cold and dimly lit cellars but they still show great magnanimity about such visits. In Burgundy we had bikes and the highlight was a pleasant ride from Beaune to Puligny‐Montrachet taking in Meursault and a few other villages sacred to ‘Burg hounds’. It was a wobbly ride back after a tour, tasting and lunch at Domaine Leflaive. Disguised as exercise this was still great fun and my boys thought Simon Aplin’s engaging wine spiel the best of the summer visit talks.
Like Burgundy, Champagne has so many tasting opportunities it can be a bit overwhelming. A lot of the bigger houses are closed in August but Mumm was buzzing and they have good infrastructure for visitors. They also have a house style I quite like (not as much as Verve Cliquot or Pol Roger though) and a few interesting lines not available in the UK. Visits to Epernay and various growers are easy and well worth it. Although everyone is raving about ‘grower champagne’ I found them patchy though a couple were superb.
So my favourite wines of summer;
Mon P’tit Pithon Blanc Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Domaine Olivier Pithon A snip at 16 euros for a magnum given the current exchange rate. Maccabeu, Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris blended to accompany food and please rather than impress. Not too boozy and very gluggable so perfect for long lunches with lots of local anchovies.
La Torre (2009) Côtes du Roussillon Villages Domaine Jean Gardies Not cheap at twenty quid but a seriously good wine with a great future. Mourvedre, Grenache and Carignan, it has depth and balance that could stimulate a myriad of pretentious comparisons.
Saint Romaine Sous Le Chateau (2009) Domaine Olivier Leflaive Lovely mineral white Burgundy that is good value at not much over a tenner in France (premier cru status is being pursued but has not been granted yet). The 2010 is available in the UK from Haynes, Hanson and Clark.
Champagne Fernand Lemaire Champagne Brut (2005) An admirable effort from a medium sized family concern. 80% chardonnay and 20% pinot noir. Ginger biscuit notes which might not be everyone’s cup of tea but works for me. Premier cru although that designation in Champagne doesn’t really say much.
And favourite things to see and do; say ‘hello’ to the mischievous ‘Messire Bertrand’ in the kitchen at the Hospices de Beaune, eat Bouzigues oysters at the fishermen’s outlet in the harbour at Port Vendre then night sail back to Le Racou, visit Montrachet as a reminder that magic can emerge from pretty humble fields, ooh and ahh at the Champagne themed and Chagall designed stained glass windows in Reims Cathedral, whisper ‘Merrett’ by Dom Pérignon’s grave in the pretty chapel at Hautvillers, and perhaps best of all go on all the slides at ‘Aqualand’ in Argeles with fearless kids…
Staying on an Olympic theme, a review of all things sporting and vinous seems appropriate at the moment. It has been such an amazing time in London and good to see visitors from around the globe enjoying being here. Despite all the valid reservations about commercialism, relocation of businesses, ticket fiasco and empty seats, it has been superb so far. From the wonderfully subversive opening ceremony it has gained momentum and won over even the most hardened skeptics. Both my sons have been in awe at the sheer spectacle and I am confident that they will have wonderful memories from being part of it.
I have not been surprised by the superb performance of Team GB because ‘home advantage’ is such an robust finding. I just wish I had followed my instinct and had a flutter on us doing well. The crowds have been brilliant and must have had an impact on results. I went to the England v Brazil ladies football game, slightly reluctantly, but it was the best atmosphere I have experienced at Wembley since 1996 when I saw England beat Holland 4‐1 in the euros. A big part of this was the prevalence of kids who had tickets through the ‘tickets for schools’ scheme and were happy to scream and Mexican wave through the match. They were fantastic and the game thrilling. It is just a shame Team GB will not be in the final on Thursday, as I’m going it.
Even more thrilling was being at the park on Sunday night. We abandoned the Handball in the Copper Box (despite it being a cracking sport) to catch Bolt on the big screen and there was a real sense of seeing history in the making. We had been to the park for Diving but left before sunset as our youngest was exhausted but one of my top tips is to stay until late if you can. At night the park is spectacularly lit up, not as crowded and has a bit of a party atmosphere. The Orbit is worth going up but don’t go near the BMW pavilion unless you want to be force fed corporate nonsense. The London Ambassadors deserve a special mention. They are representing us in all our diverse and eccentric glory. My favourite ‘ambassador’ plays dubstep on her phone through her loud hailer. Superb!
In terms of food and wine I have been disappointed. At the boxing at Excel we paid £1.50 for an apple and it wasn’t even a good apple! They should be giving away English apples as a celebration of our produce but I guess it is like the way we exploit dairy farmers in this country, pay them a pittance then mark it up exponentially to generate huge profits. The ‘biggest Macdonalds’ in the world is a bit of a monolithic carbuncle that shouts out ‘global warming’ and the Champagne and Seafood bar is run like a overly strict boarding school where you ‘have to’ have this or that if you want to sit on the terrace. I guess it is legal to require people to buy Champagne (De Nauroy and Mumm) to sit somewhere but it’s not very inclusive or sensitive. I saw an Asian family pretty unhappy about it but the member of staff dealing with them didn’t seem to give a toss. The ‘prestige’ wines on sale were pretty good though, Argento Private Collection Malbec (£26.50), Spee’ Wah Pinot Grigio (£23.50), Chateau Coucheroy Pessac Leognan (£35.50) and an ok 2011 Chablis from Jean Dafaix (£32.50), and not as massively marked up as apples. The Olympic wines (see previous blogs) were really uninspiring with the Fairtrade Chenin the best bet of the three. Take empty water bottles as there are plenty of places to fill up and buying bottled water is a bit like burning money (expensive and polluting).
An alternative to eating at the park or the other venues is to eat locally or take snacks. Security has been pretty efficient and not overly pedantic (although at the shooting at Woolwich on Sunday it seemed a bit tighter). If you are at the Park then go to Franco Manca at Westfield which has excellent affordable pizza and great natural wine from Ottavo Rube. Alternatively book up one of the pop up restaurants. Jimmy’s supperclub at Annex East is very close to the park and has a small art gallery (website here). The other night Phil from Les Caves de Pyrene matched Jimmy’s sound cooking with Rene Mosse Moussamoussettes NV, 2011 Riesling from Andre Scherer, Le Petit Fantet d’Hyppolyte 2011, and Moscato d’Asti Ca’ d’Gal. Fun wines and nice people. Less successful was GlobalFeast2012 (website here) although Lin Soderstrom’s cooking was good. The guest chefs from around the world change every night and they have an amazing ‘global’ table.
For a couple of Olympic events we only got two tickets rather than four so I will be missing out on the Basketball tonight. However, it is the Corney and Barrow summer tasting with an Olympic quiz which should be fun. I will be ‘competing’ in the blind tasting and am hoping for a medal of any kind.
I like Jackson Estate and, for a few months during the prolific rise of wines from New Zealand, their Sauvignon Blanc was a bit of a ‘house white’. I still think it is consistently better than most of the ‘premium’ SBs (Cloudy Bay et al), and head and shoulders above the myriad of monotonous wines being churned out there now. However, for some reason I hadn’t had, or at least hadn’t registered having, the Shelter Belt Chardonnay until yesterday.
There is a bit of sun this morning so I am not going to spend much time on this review as who knows when the next respite from the Great British monsoon will be! Jackson are a paragon of consumer information and my guess is that this is just another reflection of a conscientious outfit doing their best to make their wine accessible. They provide good tasting notes and the pdf for the 08 Shelter Belt is here.
If only all producers made the effort to do this the wine world would be more accessible. I guess most people don’t care about ‘titratable acidity’ or that it was Geoff Woollcombe doing lots of hard work in the fields, but others do and providing this information can add value. I was really taken by this wine and wanted to see if my impressions were ‘right’ in terms of how it was made. I also like to check out my tasting notes with others (I guess this is an ingrained tendency to triangulate).
You don’t get much change from twenty quid with this wine but it knocks spots off many white Burgundys from the same year that cost more. It is drinking beautifully but has a good few more years left in it. I guess it demonstrates the utility of screwtops and I am going to cellar a few to see how they evolve. The lovely balance and tropical notes make it really moreish. The French oak has been used sensitively and there is a nice oatmeal flavour in the background. Not much was left by the time the chicken had roasted…
Jackson Estate Shelter Belt Chardonnay 2008 Ocado £17.00
I avoid most supermarket tastings because they are often really grim affairs. They tend to show an incoherent bunch of wines that reflect a need to appeal to a broad customer base so tastings feel ‘scattergun’. That’s not to say some of the wines aren’t really enjoyable and good value (see below) but the experience of working through 50 or a 100 is best left to people getting paid to guide us through the overwhelming number of wines on the supermarket shelves. However, I have a soft spot for co-operatives per se and also for the ICA so figured the worst that could happen was that I would abandon the wines and have a look at some of the works on show.
The wines verged from mediocre to pretty good. I don’t review wines much now because I can’t take the ratings game seriously and there are lots of other people doing it. A few of them even do it well but most fail to take into account what we know about the limits of sensory discrimination, memory and human consistency. When I blog for Winepsych it is really just a whimsical supplement to the real point of the website which is the wine research papers, book reviews and sharing ideas about psychology relevant to wine. However, a couple of the wines being shown merited a description and seemed pretty good value;
The Cono Sur Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2011 was showing well and at £7.99 is a good alternative to a lot of the boring NZ ones dominating the market. Winemaker Adolfo Hurtado’s name on a bottle is as reliable an indicator as any rating that you will be getting something technically sound, good value and potentially interesting. This has lots of citrus fruit but it is balanced and not overly acidic. It has nice melon notes and a hint of green herbs. It is refreshing and would work perfectly as an aperitif but has enough about it to match food from goats cheese to light chicken dishes. A rounded and versatile wine with organic credentials and 13% ABV. The label (pictured above) has a bicycle on it because this is the transport used by the local workers to cut emissions and avoid pollution in the vineyards. The label is itself is made from recycled paper. This is a wine which reflects an admirable mindfulness and it also drinks well.
The other wine that stood out for me (and it should always be borne in mind that my taste changes with the weather, as does the taste of the wine) was Domaine Brisson Morgon les Charmes 2009. I have a taste aversion (learned) to Gamay, I used to love it but now rarely drink it, so to pick this out was a surprise. Morgon, at its best, can be really complex and age like Burgundy. 2009 was kind to the region and this is, in many ways, as good as it gets at this price level. Like the SB above it is £7.99 and when you are willing to stretch beyond the fiver threshold you can get so much more. It had a surprising depth of colour, smooth fruitiness and subtle notes of tar and eucalyptus (which I like). This will be great for summer BBQs once summer arrives and at 12.5% much less likely to lead to you setting fire to yourself than all those 14% and 15% horrors out there. Try it slightly chilled with a burger.
I am no longer a member of the ICA because it seemed to lose direction a few years ago but I didn’t dwell on the tasting and was able to spend some time looking at Remote Control; an exhibition about the influence of television. I got hooked by the Adrian Piper video ‘Cornered’ (1988) which explores notions of racial identity in quite a challenging way. You can watch it here but it is not quite the same experience as sitting in one of the chairs in front of the installation in the gallery.
I thought I had escaped the Siberian cold front when I left Geneva on Friday… The temperature in the Alps had been around minus 4, with excellent skiing all week, but minus 30 (with chill factor) was expected so it was perfect timing for a return to balmy London. However, the coming week in the UK will no doubt be categorized by snow induced chaos. I had hoped to make a tasting tomorrow with Raeburn wines at Hedone but the chances of Chiswick being accessible are as slight as me going to the South Pole on the Jubilee Line.
During the trip (to St Jean d’ Aulps near Morzine) I tried as many local wines as possible as they were a bit of an unknown quantity. I had enjoyed some Swiss Pinot Noir previously and knew there were a myriad of local varieties including chasselas (fendant), sylvaner (valais), gamaret etc. However, the ‘house’ red and white (both from the Languedoc) were so good it was hard to justify drinking anything else although there were a few forays into host Mark’s (chilly) cellar.
Pictured is a 2010 Vin de Savoie chosen mainly because it is called ’Cuvee’ Thomas’! Made from jacquère (a local grape with, usually, high yields and not a great reputation in terms of ‘nobility’) by Jean Noel Blard and described as ‘vielles vignes’ from ‘anciennes parcelles’. It has a bit more minerality than most of the AOC vin de Savoie I tried and makes a decent aperitif but would be ideal with a fondue from local cheeses (such as Comte’, Beaufort or Abondance) and cepes.