By Paul Hunter
The aperitif wine was a Brut de RoseÌ from Bandol, a Provence appellation on the Mediterranean coast. Bandol is famous for its RoseÌ which some consider the best produced in France. It is made from at least 50% of the MourveÌ€dre grape (also known as Mataro). This aperitif was served very cold and was most refreshing. It had a pinkey / brown colour. The soft fruit was well balanced with light acid & tannins. A great start to the lunch.
The first white wine was a 2003 Chardonnay from Rully in the Cote Chalonaise appellation in southern Burgundy. The wine was a classic green / gold colour with oak & fruit aromas & a buttery, metallic palate followed by a clean acid, fruit finish. The aromas and flavours developed in the glass as the wine warmed up â€“ it was served almost too cold. A good match with the seafood dishes.
The next white wine was from the Crozes â€“ Hermitage appellation in northern Rhone. A 2001 blend of Marsanne and Roussanne grapes by Matiniere â€“ Ferraton. This wine was also served very cold which probably suited the big fleshy style of wine. A bright gold colour with fruit and mineral aromas & palate, followed by a crisp acid finish.
We were then treated to three excellent reds. First was another Bandol, 2002 Mas De La Rouviere. A blend of MourveÌ€dre, Grenache and possibly some Cinsault. Dark red colour, oakey aromas, fruity / acid palate & a strong tannic finish.
Then on to Italy and the wine region of Piedmonte in the north west which includes the city of Turin. Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto are the top red grapes of the region & produce the finest wines. First served was a 2004 Babera Butti (Revertito, Morandini). Bright deep red colour with a pinkey rim, oak dominant nose (these wines have a mandatory minimum time in oak) and mouth filling sweet fruit (raspberries?). A clean balanced acid and tannin finish.
Next came a Barolo, made from the Nebbiolo grape, which to many is the king of Italian reds. This was a 2003 from Reverito, Morandini. Bright red colour. A big wine with a lot of complexity on the nose and palate. Plenty of oak, rich fruit and acid with a long tannin finish. Will be even better in 10 years time.
These reds were an easy match with the beautifully cooked and presented rack of lamb.
Finally we had an interesting dessert wine. A 2004 Ballerine Surmature by F & D Giroud, Valais, Switzerland. Ballerine is an â€˜assemblage de cepages blancâ€™ â€“ a white blend, mostly late picked Chardonnay. â€˜Surmatureâ€™ means overripeness, caused by leaving the grapes on the vine longer to concentrate the sugar and diminish the acid. The wine was light and fruity which went well with the dessert Trio.