Newtonmore is a village in the Highlands of Scotland – up in the Cairngorms overlooked by mountains. Whether people living in the Alps would call them mountains is another matter as few are over 4000 feet. They should not be treated lightly, however, especially in winter as they are a good 1000 miles north of the Alps. The weather can change with frightening rapidity going from a bright clear day to a white-out in just a few minutes. Just as in the Alps there are a number fatalities on these mountains every year.
Newtonmore, which is is about 45 miles south of Inverness – the capital of the Highlands – used to be on the main road (A9) from Edinburgh to the north of Scotland. Now the new trunk road version of the A9 bypasses all the villages and towns on its way to Inverness, so compared to London the roads are relatively quiet here.
The village still has a railway station and surprisingly, although it is just a single platform and is unmanned it is possible to catch the sleeper to and from London. This is where I will be, at least until early April.
All in all this is a rather long intro to explain that despite being confined to the Scottish Highlands I am still able to taste some Loire wines, which producers have kindly sent to me here so I can continue to work.
2017 Coteaux du Giennois, Clément and Florian Berthier
This 2017 Coteaux du Giennois from Clément and Florian Berthier is simply delicious – not complex but lovely, very clean citric aromas and flavours including grapefruit notes. Vignobles Berthier is based in Sainte Gemme en Sancerrois. The domaine was founded by Jean-Marie Berthier in 1983 and now has nearly 25 hectares making Sancerre, Menetou-Salon, Pouilly-Fumé and Coteaux du Giennois.
This wine is represented by
Chris Hardy & Charles Sydney
Charles Sydney Wines Ltd
11 Quai Danton, 37500 Chinon
Tél : (France) 02 47 81 44 03
They arrange sales to the UK wine trade.
2015 Domaine René Couly, Chinon, Couly-Dutheil
Domaine René Couly is another fine 2015 red from Couly-Dutheil. These vines are planted on clay and flint and from parcels selected by René Couly, the grandfather of the company’s current MD – Arnaud Couly.
The deep coloured 2015 Domaine René Couly is considerably more concentrated than Wednesday’s featured wine – 2015 Les Gravières. Although drinking well now, the René Couly has considerably potential to improve and age over several decades.
Encore Couly-Dutheil – 2015 Baronnie Madeleine
2015 Château de l’Aulnaye, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Château Thébaud
This very fine rich and concentrated Muscadet spends three years on its lees. It is the style of cru communaux, although Château Thébaud has yet to be formally recognised the French government rather to the understandable frustration of those eligible to benefit from the new appellation.
This style of Muscadet is far removed from the fresh citric version that goes so well with shellfish. We drank the 2015 Château de l’Aulnaye with salmon with butter and lemon in a parcel – a fine match. This Muscadet also worked well with some mature Montgomery cheddar.
The Lieubeaus are important growers in Château Thébaud.