Amy’s December wine blog…
With Christmas now not far away, I have this month selected a sleek grower Champagne to showcase in my blog alongside a sneaky rich red, both from one of London’s finest wine suppliers. Roberson Wine is a Kensington institution, with a selection heavily dominated by France but stretching across the world.
Dosnon et Lepage . Blanc de Blanc Champagne . Côte de Bar . NV
With only 100% handpicked Chardonnay grapes this Blanc de Blanc is true to style, bright precise and vigorous on the palate with perky acidity. The attention to detail both in the vineyard and in the winery is undeniable by the impeccable finesse and purity, underlined by a very low dosage.
Located less than an hour north of the Burgundian village of Chablis, this region of the Aube Valley has more in common with northern Burgundy than with the rest of Champagne. Davy Dosnon and Simon-Charles Lepage are masters working the land from a lost region of Champagne. The terroir is different from northern Champagne in that it shares the same sub-soil as Chablis. This Kimmeridgien limestone is full of fossilised sea creatures and bright white chalk which helps to produce wines of purity and rich in minerals.
One of the coldest growing areas of viticultural France, Champagne sits to the Northeast and east of Paris. Like most areas of France, wine has been produced here for centuries, but over time, production in the region went from still to almost entirely sparkling wine.
Today, the vast majority of the wine production comes from large negociants who purchase grapes or must from growers. These negociants may or may not have a say in how the grapes are produced and the ideal end product is one that tastes the same year after year without accommodations made for terroir. Grower champagne typically is from one terroir and often from one year, showing the “flavour” of that corner of Champagne.
Fermented entirely in former Puligny-Montrachet barrels this is an elegant, rich and extremely complex wine. As if anyone ever needed an excuse to indulge in a bottle of bubbles over the festive season but should one require it, mine would be Greg’s Soused Cornish Mackerel with heritage beetroot and granny smith apple. Moving on perhaps to the Steamed Fillet of Sea Bass with scallop mousse and Falmouth Bay mussels.
7 Rue de la Pompe . Jean-François Coutelou . Languedoc . France . 2012
A pure Syrah of incredible purity, Rue de la Pompe is a vibrant, fresh and exciting wine. Made by Jean-François Coutelou who is renowned as one of the foremost producers of natural wines in the Languedoc-Roussillon.
The wines of Mas Coutelou are made in the little village of Puimisson between Béziers and Faugères and was one of the first producers in the region to be certified organic before progressing on to natural wine making. Jeff uses virtually no sulphur (a very rare and difficult exercise) in order to preserve the absolute purity and elegance of the old-vine fruit and all his wines are made completely by hand and naturally fermented. Jeff only makes the wines that suit a specific vintage, so if that means introducing a new cuvée in one year or skipping vintages of an existing wine because the conditions don’t suit, then so be it.
This fresh and bright Syrah has enticing spicy and meaty notes on the nose followed by vivid raspberry and cherry fruit flavours on the palate. With such structure I can’t wait to try this wine alongside Greg’s infamous December addition of Braised Ox Cheek, served alongside celeriac puree, Bordelaise sauce and onion rings. The structure of the wine is perfect for the melt in the mouth texture of the ox, whilst the vibrant fruit and acidity will cut through the autumn worthy richness.
For me most importantly it’s a fabulous cheese wine and Christmas is my natural excuse to fill our cheeseboard with the richer, meatier seasonal cheeses that La Fromagerie stocks a plenty. So keep your eyes peeled!