Sunday, April 10, 2022

Low-Intervention Wines from Europe

WASP (Wine Appreciation Society, Penrith), Roundthorn Country House Hotel, Penrith. Thursday 31-March-2020.

Our first proper tutored wine tasting for several years. The wines were presented by Sam Jary of Black Hand Wine which is literally up our street.

We learnt about WASP by chance at the Christmas meal for the U3A Italian conversation group. Chatting to Peter who is actively involved in both groups, he told us about the group and we signed up straight away. This was our first opportunity to go to one of their tastings. 

You never know what to expect with a new group. There were more people than I was expecting, it was a fair sized crowd of 41 people. We hadn’t got the message about bringing our own tasting glasses (presumably a hangover from Covid) but the hotel rustled up a couple of glasses for us.

Sam is a trained professional oenologist and viticulturist specialising in organic wines. As always quality costs a little more but in this case is worth it to try some interesting and unusual wines. 

Sam talked a fair bit about the biodynamic principles so my very sketchy knowledge of this approach was greatly improved starting with Biodynamic Preparation 500 which involves burying a cow horn full of manure over winter to create a soil enhancer.

He presented eight wines, four white, four red:

Wine 1: Ciù Ciù Falerio Oris Bianco 2020, Marche, Italy - 13% - £14

  • Location: East Coast, Marche. 
  • Vinification: Organic. Fermented in stainless steel.
  • Grapes: Trebbiano, pecorino, passerina.
  • Tasting: Acidity, light floral, good finish.

Wine 2: Cuvée TRADITION Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2020 - 13.5% - £17

  • Location: Rhone.
  • Vinification: Sur lee / autolysis, biodynamic.
  • Grapes: Grenache blanc, viognier, clairette, bourboulenc.
  • Tasting: Strong aroma, aromatic, appley / spicy. Unctuous, peach kernel?, Well balanced, good length.

Wine 3: Chapuis Fréres Bourgogne Chardonnay 2020 - 13% - £22

  • Location: Savigny-le-Beaune.
  • Vinification: 20% new oak. 2020 a good year.
  • Grapes: Chardonnay.
  • Tasting: Buttery, vanilla (aroma and flavour), very well balanced, good length, fresh acidity on finish.

Wine 4: Vincent Gaudry 2017 Sancerre Le Tournebride - 12.5% - £26

  • Location: Loire.
  • Vinification: Biodynamic, wild yeast, unfined, unfiltered.
  • Grapes: Sauvignon blanc.
  • Tasting: Rich, smoky, perfumed, depth on nose. Unctuous, great body, well balanced, great length, complex.

Wine 5: Ciù Ciù Piceno DOP Bacchus 2016 - 13.5% - £14

  • Location: East Coast, Marche. 
  • Vinification: New oak, six months in stainless steel, three months in bottle.
  • Grapes: Montepulciano, sangiovese
  • Tasting: Purple / plum colour. Tasty, balanced, soft fruit, nice acidity, length.

Wine 6: NATURE Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2020 -13.5% - £17

  • Location: Rhone.
  • Vinification: No added sulfites, no oak, vinified in concrete.
  • Grapes: Grenache, syrah.
  • Tasting: good fruit, earthy, deep, herby. Deep, tannic, dark fruit, velvety.

Wine 7: Velvet Gerard Pittnauer NV, Austria - 12.5% - £17.50

  • Location: Burgenland, by massive lake which moderates the climate.
  • Vinification: Organic, biodynamic, wild yeast. Aged in neutral barrels
  • Grapes: Zweigelt, blaufrankisch. 
  • Tasting: Herbaceous, fresh acidity on nose. Good fruit flavours.

Wine 8: Chapuis Fréres Coteaux Bourguignon 2020 - 14.5% - £21

  • Location: Cru Beaujolais.
  • Vinification: No added sulfites, unfined, unfiltered. 4 months in barrel.
  • Grapes: Gamay. 
  • Tasting: uncharacteristically big, high alcohol. Fruity, good body, some tannin.

At the end of the tasting anyone who wanted to could help polish off the leftovers.

We had eaten beforehand not realising there was a buffet afterwards but I think we would have eaten anyway to line our stomachs.

One of the attendees recognised me as a neighbour from my hand delivering a misdirected Christmas card last year. We ended up having an excellent chat till gone 11pm when we all staggered back down the hill to home.

Even after decades of wine tasting we always learn something new from a good presenter and it was an excellent social evening.

No comments: