Amid all the anger and disgust at Prime Minister Johnson and his ‘government’ appearing to have held a continuous party during Covid lockdown, the image of aides being sent out as supplies plummeted with a suitcase to buy more wine may well be the enduring one. I assume that it must have been a trolley case. Remember that Downing Street, where the Prime Minister lives and works (occasionally…) is one of the most heavily guarded places in the UK with a large police presence and abundant CCTV cameras. We will have to see if Johnson manages to hang on – that will be down to his own Members of Parliament.
There is one positive, however, there is now no way that a UK version of the Loi Evin could be passed while the present government is in power. Also I await the first smart retailer to start offering a ‘suitcase’ selection of wine…
Loire Cabernet Sauvignon
This weekend we enjoyed an excellent bottle of the 2003 Les Millerits, Anjou-Villages Brissac from Domaine des Rochelles owned by the Lebreton family. It was richly concentrated with now very soft tannins with a long finish. Still deep coloured at 18 years old it was evident that this 2003 was for the long haul and could be kept for another 15-20 years. 2003 is famous as the year of the heatwave and some expressed doubts as to whether Loire wines from this vintage would have staying power. Les Millerits 2003 is further evidence that well-made wines from this very hot vintage do indeed last.
Les Millerits is notable as being 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Anjou is the only part of the Loire where pure Cabernet Sauvignon works because here the growing season is sufficiently long to cope with this late ripening variety. Even here CS has needed a special site to ripen properly. During the era of the Concours de Brissac Domaine des Rochelles was a regular winner with their La Croix de Mission Anjou-Villages made from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. The secret is the warm schistous soil of La Croix de Mission single vineyard, which gives Cabernet Sauvignon here a head start.
Other notable pure Cabernet Sauvignons from Anjou include Rocca Nigra (Domaine de Bablut), Côte de la Houssaye (Domaine Ogereau) – these two are also planted on schist – and La Chevalerie and La Grande Chevalerie (Château la Varière) where CS is planted on gravel over clay. The recent run of warm and successful vintages will have made it easier to get Cabernet Sauvignon to ripen properly.
Views of Dalwhinnie Distillery from a distance
One of the pleasures of being in this part of Scotland are the mountains and the opportunity use a mountain bike on the many off-road tracks up here. Having some electrical assistance for some of the steep slopes as well as the at times rocky and uneven tracks is a considerable help.
Mountains over 3000 feet (914.4 metres) are called Munroes, named after Sir Hugh Munroe who was the first person to list all the Scottish mountains over 3000 feet. There are 282 of them and many people attempt to climb all of them. Although nothing like as high as the Alps etc., these northern mountains can be very challenging, especially in winter when the weather can change very dramatically in just a few minutes, so you need to be properly equipped and experienced to tackle them.