This week’s post covers three recently drunk bottles – one from 2019 and two from the last millennium.
2019 Pouilly-Fumé, Chassaux et Fils, Aldi
Aldi UK is extending their wine range up-market with the launch of their Icon range with prices starting at £6.49 for a German Riesling going up to £24.99 for a 2019 Gevrey-Chambertin, which has already sold out. As well as European classics the range includes a South African Chenin and a Pinotage, a Malbec from Argentina and a Shiraz from the Barossa. Most of these wines are only available on-line. The new Icon range follows on from Aldi’s 2020 Christmas premium wine range.
This 2019 Pouilly-Fumé from Chassaux at £11.99, although recently launched, is not part of the Icon range. There is an Icon Pouilly-Fumé Les Charmes from a Léon Vatan for £14.99 but this is only available on-line, whereas the Chassaux is available in-store. The Aldi 2019 Pouilly-Fumé is an attractive vibrant, citric wine – quite austere if served too cold. It takes on more body when it warms up in the glass. A good classic Pouilly-Fumé sold at a reasonable price. The bottle weighs in at 573 grams when empty.
1992 Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, Bouscassé, Alain Brumont
Wine tends to last considerable longer than we imagine it will. I don’t mean, of course, once the bottle is open rather if it is untouched. Take this dry 1992 Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh (mainly Petit Courbu with a little Petit Manseng) from Alain Brumont, which we drank two or three weeks ago. As you can see from the photo the 1992 is now an attractive golden colour and remarkably fresh for a dry white that is close on 30 years old. It does have a touch of oxidation but this only adds to the wine’s complexity rather than detracting. The finish is long and clean. A lovely wine! The bottle weighs 555 grams empty.
1999 Côt, AC Touraine, Clos Roche Blanche
The Clos Roche Blanche in the Cher Valley was one of our favourite producers until Catherine Roussel and Didier Barouillet decided to retire. While a rest was fully deserved it was a sad day for fans of their wines. Côt is the most successful red variety in Eastern Touraine. Malbec is another name for this grape variety as is Auxerrois in Cahors. There are a few parcels of Côt that are now well over 100 years old. It ripens earlier than Cabernet Franc but later than Gamay. Unfortunately it suffers from coulure so its cropping is often irregular.
The Clos Roche Blanche wines keep very well including their Gamay, which in fine vintages such as 1996 keep for a good 20 years or more. Catherine preferred her wines when they were young but Didier liked them when they were both young and old. This 1999 Côt is still drinking very well at 22 years young! It retains a good depth of colour with just a hint of brickiness on the rim. Tasted by itself the tannins are slightly grainy but with food this disappears showing the wine’s concentration of soft, ripe fruit. The bottle weighs 578 grams empty.
Like Alain Brumont in Madiran (see above) Catherine and Didier showed the potential of the Cher Valley in Eastern Touraine through good viticulture and keeping yields low which inspired a number of other vignerons in the valley to follow their example. Equally both the 1992 Pacherenc and the 1997 Côt should be good for a number of more years.