Category Archives: Tasting notes

Wine notes from the Central Italian wine dinner at the Sportsman, March 7th

The Sportsman, Seasalter

 Central Italian Dinner March 7th


‘Miolo’ Brut Villa Cresptori, Franciacorta NVOkay , so it is not from the region but it is a delicious, fresh sparkling wine made in the Method Traditionelle. There is a light bready, yeasty note to the wine which also appears on the palate along with a touch of ripe lemon and brioche. The wine is dry, with a fine mousse, and fresh without the austerity of Champagne but retains an uplifting freshness reminiscent of its upland origin.

Smoked cod deep fried breaded balls with an intense blanched parsley purée.

Oysters fresh and baked

Belissario, Verdicchio di Matelica 2011

Delightful crisp and gently aromatic white with a light to medium body and long fresh finish. The wine was wonderful match for both forms of the oyster.


Pigeon Rissotto

Gran Sasso, Montepulciano d’Abruzo 2010

A black cherry fruited wine with focus on fruit and a light yet sustained tannic underbelly. Slightly overwhelmed by the risotto but fine on its own.

Fattoria le Terrazze, Rosso Conero 2008

Another expression of the Montepulciano grape but this time with more body and tannic structure. The fruit was dark berry, chocolate and leather. Its depth and spice a fine partner for the risotto.


Sea bream with smoked seabream roe sauce

Vesevo Greco di Tufa, Campania 2011

A pleasing, medium bodied wine with good breadth and freshness but lacking the mineral core to partner the fish.

Bucci, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2010

A fine example of the style with a silky texture and some savoury, nutty notes to counterbalance the ripe pear fruit. A good partner for the bream with the extra weight and depth required.


Ox Cheek

Fontodi, Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2008

A stylish, Chianti offering good density and concentration with flavours and aromas of dried herbs, cherries and cedar. Long and powerful, still in need of a couple of years to mellow and integrate.

Isole e Olena, Cepparello, Tuscany 2006 

Terrific wine with fine, complex and sensual aromatics giving an array of dried red fruits, spices, herbs and sweet leather. The characters evolved in the glass yielding up further aromatic notes. The palate was clean, bright and intense. The fine tannins were in harmony with the elegant fruit, acidity. This is a very well balanced wine, drinking exceptionally well now and with a good 8 years ahead of it. And the closure is a stelvin!


Sportoletti, Vina Fidellia Rosso, Umbria 2005

Served as an amuse bouche this was a powerful , dense, tannin driven wine supported by dark black fruits and a hint of mint. A sort of St Estephe of Italy. Really well done and just getting into its stride. I first tried this wine 2 years ago and found it too tannic, time seems to have worked its spell.


Tea Junket with Pina Colada Ice Cream

Selvapiano, Vin Santo 2005

Not the perfect match by any stretch of the imagination but the wine performed very well. The aromatics are of honey, caramel and dried figs and dates, there is a touch, just a touch, of oxidation to bring complexity. The palate is intensely flavoured and very sweet and lush but is cut by a fine fresh acid and delivers a long harmonious finish.

Wines and Prices


‘Miolo’ Brut Villa Cresptori, Franciacorta NV 18.00
Belissario, Verdicchio di Matelica 2011 9.25
Gran Sasso, Montepulciano d’Abruzo 2010 9.00
Fattoria le Terrazze, Rosso Conero 2008 17.25
Vesevo Greco di Tufa, Campania 2011 13.90
Bucci, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2010 15.99
Fontodi, Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2009 19.50
Isole e Olena, Ceperello, Tuscany 2006  59.00
Sportoletti, Vina Fidellia Rosso, Umbria 2005 28.00
Selvapiano, Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina 2004 34.70

A visit to Barnsole Vineyard and English wines at Press Wine Services

I visited the Barnsole Vineyard (in Staple, very near Canterbury) yesterday and met the owners. We tasted a few of the wines and discussed the difficulties of the 2012 vintage. Sadly Barnsole, like other English vineyards, has been badly affected by the poor conditions at flowering during the cool, damp spring. As a result the harvest is down by 50% on whites and slightly more on the red grapes. The outcome will be fewer bottles of their wines (on average they produce 8,000 each year) and one cuvée instead of the usual two of the white wine. The good news from the vineyard is that they will be planting some Bacchus, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir next year and extending the winery. So the prospects for the future are looking good for sparkling wine, a lighter Pinot red and some delicious Bacchus.

We tasted a number of the wines from the 2010 and 2011 vintages and now I will stock three of the wines at the Goods Shed in Canterbury. They will be the light, fragrant and off dry Canterbury Choice Pilgrim’s Harvest 2010 (£10.50) made from Huxelrebbe, which gives the wine a gentle muscat scent and flavour, the Canterbury Choice Dry Reserve 2011 (£11.95), a powerful , textured dry white made from Reichensteiner, with green apple and citrus notes carrying a whacking 14% alcohol (my first 14% er from this island, and that’s with no sugar addition!) and the Canterbury Choice Red Reserve (£12.00) made from the Rondo grape, plus a little Regent and Pinot Noir. This gives a cranberry and leaf fruit with smooth tannins and pleasing balance.


We stock quite a few English wins at Press Wine Services at the Goods Shed. From Kent: Biddenden, Throwley, Sandhurst and Barnsole; from East Sussex: Limney Brut (sadly there will be no Dry White until the 2013 vintage); from West Sussex: Nyetimber and Stopham; and from Cornwall we stock Camel Valley.

An Autumn dinner: collaboration with Rafa’s at the Goods Shed

046Rafa, head chef from the Goods Shed restaurant, and Clive regularly get together to offer Wine Dinners, gastronomic evenings to celebrate the best produce of the season, matched with wines. On the 22nd of November they held an Autumn Dinner at the Goods Shed and here are the wine notes and some photographs of the night.



Welcome drink: Cava, R J Mur

Cava, R J Mur Robert J Mur’s Cava had a very positive character with notes of lemon and apples amid a gentle persistent stream of bubbles. Unaffected by the earthy notes that can sometimes be found on lesser Cava this is clean and fresh, making it a satisfying aperitif.


Sea Food Canapés

Mara Martin Godello, Spain, 2011. A terrifically bright and refreshing wine from the DO of Monterrei. Made with the Godello grape it had an apple blossom scent, fine lean structure but with ample fruit to flesh it out. I had come across the wine before and thought about taking it on but I must confess to being grateful to a customer named Zena who had tasted the 2011 and recommended it. It was a great wine to balance against the fresh seafood canapés. Lovers of Albarino should try the Godello as it has a similar structure and weight; perhaps Godello lacks the finesse of the Albarino but it is a delicious wine nonetheless.

Venison, Prune and PX Terrine with Piccalilli


065Es Verger, Ses Marjades 2007, Mallorca Organic. Hailing from the Serra de Tramunta in the hills (the vineyard is at 500m) of Mallorca this wine was the hit of the evening. It has a very ripe nose, not surprising given its alcohol level of 15%, with notes of prune, black cherry and a range of spices. The oak element is well integrated now and after 4 year in bottle the wine is showing a lovely maturity. The fruit and spice flavours went well with the terrine as did the richness and firm tannic underlay of the wine.

Duck Confit with Celeriac Mash and Quince



102Gulfi, Ceruosolo di Vittoria, DOC 2011. Organic. The Gulfi estate is very highly regarded in Italy and it is easy to see why after tasting this wine. It is full of character giving a real juicy mouthful with freshness and ripeness in equal measure, the tannins give a light grip and the marked acidity the freshness, the fruit is black cherry and fig. Gulfi is renowned as a Nero d’Avola specialist, with several single vineyard wines in production, but the Ceruosolo is a blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola. The wine performed well on its own but missed out to the Marsannay as the best to accompany the duck.

103Domaine Vieux College, Marsannay Rouge ‘les Recilles’2010 . Domaine Vieux College is a little known domaine from northern Cotes d’Or and covers a few hectares. Its wine, both red and white are made with care and precision. The ‘Recilles’ showed very well with Pinot notes of wild strawberry, spice and leaf on a gentle elegant palate. It matched the duck confit very well confirming gamey characters, adding a touch of fruit and opening up the sweet duck fat.

Poached Comice Pear with Kent Cobnut and Honey Ice cream


134Ancienne Cure Monbazillac 2009 Utterly, delightful white yielding up white peach and dried fruit aromas with a mid weight palate and its freshness balanced by sweetness from botrytised and dried grapes. The alcohol at 12.5% gave a lightness of touch to the wine and it made it perfect to accompany the pear fruit.



Report and Tasting notes: Clive’s Wine Table 16th November

So what happens at when Clive hosts a “Wine Table”? A small group (maximum of 12 people) of wine lovers, drinkers and thinkers gather around a table in front of Clive’s wine stall, with a tasting glass, tasting sheet and pens. It’s informal though with a purpose of sharing and enjoying wines. Everyone is introduced and then the wines come out.

Clive pours the wines without saying much about them to start with and lets the guests taste, discuss and make up their own minds about each wine before he shares more information about each wine. He normally chooses a mixture of wines; recent finds, small parcels that have just been brought in and old favourites that he stocks at the shop as well as new arrivals that he is exploring and wants to test.

And during the tasting there are food treats from the Goods Shed, from home made cheese straws, to fine Basque and Iberico charcuterie from the Patriana stall, to winter chanterelle soup from Jonny Sandwich, to Rafa’s take on patatas bravas from the Goods Shed restaurant.

The tasting on the 16th of November featured an interesting organic range from Can Majoral, Mallorca, a biodynamic Grenache from Roussillon plus a handsome claret and a fine Ribero del Duero. In addition there was an Arbois Vins Jaune, an Alsace Riesling and a Rhone red. There were two standouts, the San Roig from Can Majoral an ultra rich Cabernet Sauvignon  which proves that Mallorca can make high class wines, and the Biodynamic Grenache from Roussillon, which at the age of 7 years had terrific energy and youth. Taste notes are below.

The organic Marllorcan wines by Can Majoral

Tasting notes:

Can Majoral Butibalausi White, Mallorca 2011 organic (Premsal, Parellada and Chardonnay)

An interesting, gentle citrus scent, fresh and clean with a slight pine note which leads to a clean , crisp, fresh palate of medium weight. Certainly attractive and mouth filling it has a brightness which is refreshing and lends the wine to fish dishes and aperitif style.

J B Adams Riesling Nature, Alsace 2011 organic.

A wine with a light yet persistent aroma of lime and elderflower with a typical Riesling kerosene note haunting the background. The palate has a marked acidity, which for acid lovers is fabulous but for those looking for rounder styles this should be avoided. The acid drives the wine giving vivacity and life to the green apple and citrus fruit. Oh for some roast pork!

Fruitiere Vinicole Vin Jaune, Arbois , 2005

Following Raymond Blanc’s TV tour of France, I thought the Table should show a Vin Jaune. This had the yeasty flor-like nose with a terrific hazelnut depth and some ripe lemon and beurre blanc scents. Delicious palate , dry crisp acid cuts the oxidative notes and balances the richness and alcohol. Long finish, nutty and clean. A great wine experience.

Butibalausi Red, Can Majoral , Mallorca, 2010 (Callet, Manto  Negro, Ull de Llebre, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon) organic.

A dark ruby wine with aromas of black plums, blackcurrant, leather and spice. A complex nose, fairly four square with a garrigue note in the background. The palate carried the sturdy , but accessible, character of the nose and with similar flavours but with the addition of a firm mineral element.

Can Majoral, Son Roig, pla I Levant, 2007 (Cabernet Sauvignon dominant with some Merlot and Syrah) organic.

A deep coloured wine, the glistening look of which promised a richness on the palate. The nose was laden with heavy kirsch, cassis and black fruit conserve scents, maintaining the promise and the palate then delivered. It was big, broad, unctuous, almost deep enough to spread on toast, yet balanced and vinous. The fruit characters were of black fruits almost cordial like but shot through with savoury edges. Very long and satisfying wine. Not a generic  Bordeaux style, nor with the purity of Oz or the black cherry of Napa, more akin the intense nature of recent Pontet Canet vintages.

Can Majoral, S’Heretat, pla I Levant, 2006  (Callet, with a little Merlot and Syrah)

Broad structure, loose knit with an earthy core. A very different feel to the Son Roig, this has a Mediterranean character with herbal, pine notes, red fruits which are integrating well with dusty tannins. This is not in the classic style of Roig but is nevertheless an interesting, textured  quality wine.

Les Amis de Bouissières, Vin de Table,Rhone, 2010 (Grenache, Syrah and Merlot)

Raspberry and white pepper nose with the baked garrigue of the southern Rhone create an attractive bouquet. The palate was driven by the alcohol, 14.5%, and carried some dusty fine tannins. This was a wine which caused most division at the table. Those not in favour felt it was short , those who enjoyed it liked the hit of Grenache and Rhone characters.

Chateau Lacombe Noaillac, Medoc 2006 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot)

The wine performed very well, delivering a classic black fruit, herbaceous and cedar nose, finely balanced palate with mellow yet firm tannins. It was very well behaved, ‘did what it said on the tin’, and made you happy to drink claret. Okay, so it is not a Grand Cru with the depth of that level , nor the price tag, but it delivers harmony and sophistication to the dinner table.

Ey, ‘Grenache’ Vins de Gaume’, Roussillon, 2005 Biodynamic

This is from a small bin end parcel purchased by Press Wine. Terrific Grenache suppleness and richness. The wine has great depth and breadth, still looks and tastes young, and carries that Biodynamic energy. There is the slight funk of Biodynamic wines, the hint of stemmy, very ripe fruit, fine tannins carefully extracted and Roussillon heat. Lovely exciting wine.  At a great price…..but I only have a few bottles!

Bodegas Comanges, Ribero del Duero, 2007 ( Tempranillo)

One of the most popular wines at the Goods Shed this year has been ‘Biberious’, Ribero del Duero 2011 produced by Bodegas Comanges. This wine is the one that carries the name of the estate and it is a super, fleshy, modern style Ribero del Duero. It is not the firm structured style that takes years to shed its tannic carapace but one that, at five years, delivers layered fruit and spice with a velvet-textured mesh of fine, ripe tannins. It has harmony too and great persistence.

The next Wine Tables

Friday 7th and 14th December

Press Wine Services will be running a ‘Wine Table’ evening at which a selection of 8 wines will be opened and tasted. Corks will be drawn and the first wine poured at 7 pm; we aim to serve the final wine at 8.30pm.

This will be an ideal opportunity to try a superb range of wines which will partner many dishes over the Christmas period. The same wines will be tasted on each evening. The flights will include the following wines:

2010 Seguin Moreau Savigny les Beaune Blanc, Les Goudelettes; a precise and well structured white Burgundy which carries the minerality of Chablis and the weight of the premium vineyards of the  Cotes du Beaune,

2004 Apollonio ‘Divoto’. Copertino: a fully mature deep and concentrated award winning red from Puglia. Ithas acomplex notes of spice , cedar and black fruits.

2009 Chassagne Montrachet Rouge, Jean Marc Pillot: a delightful red Burgundy from the fabulous 2009 vintage. Ripe and silky with a notes of sousbois and game.

2003 Quinta do Ventezelo Vintage Port; A ripe, powerful Black cherry fruit and spice fruited port. Drinking now but with a gutsy character to age further.

Places are limited to a dozen guests so please book as soon as possible. The cost is £ 10 per person, payable with your booking.