Dry January, a month of no alcohol after the excesses of the festive season. Worthy and honourable I agree, I do think those of us who are passionate about wine do need to promote concern about the risk of alcohol as well as the pleasures of wine itself. Personally, I try to make Mondays and Tuesdays alcohol free every week to give my liver and body a break. However, the idea of a whole month without wine was a non starter, especially given the ongoing gloom of Covid and the wretched weather here in the North East of England. My only concession to the idea was not to purchase more wine in the month, rectified quickly at the start of February!
So, what reds from the cellar were consumed?
I wrote about the wine pairing of La Vigne Haute and On Peut Pas Vraiment Dire Que here, a comparison I enjoyed immensely. Of the other Coutelou wines 5SO 18 was on very good form (as are all the 18s at present including the Couleurs Réunies) but the highlight was the Grenache, Mise De Printemps 19 which bodes well for that vintage. It was like a top Beaujolais, fresh, fruity and just lovely wine. The Ravaut Ladoix 14 was very good, a reminder of why Pinot Noir Burgundy is hard to beat from a time when it was more affordable. Not a great Burgundy but good. Jouret, Cohen, Padié and Duchene were all very good examples of natural wine – well made and providing much pleasure. The Fonseca Terra Prima is my go to Port, organic and carrying a freshness rather than the cloying nature of many Ports at this price range.
On to white wines, including orange or skin contact wine too.
I chose Costadila‘s 450slm as one of my favourite wines and the producer has fast become one of my favourites. The Veneto grapes of Glera and Moscato Giallo in this Móz PetNat brought a welcome sense of sunshine and joy, Prosecco but not as most would know it. From Prosecco to Champagne and the Drappier Premier Cru was very good for the price (under £25) with nice bready hints and good depth. I wrote about the unusual grape of Christian Venier’s Les Perrieres here and it was another natural wine delivering great pleasure along with the Bock and Valle Unite. I should have included a very good Manzanilla sherry from La Gitana, Pastrana single vineyard. Why is sherry still underrated?
Julien Meyer’s Gewurztraminer Les Pucelles 15 is unusual, vinified very dry to express place rather than grape, just a hint of hidden spice rather than the often overt flavours of the grape. Casa Pardet’s Blanquet 17, an orange wine from Chardonnay and Macabeo, was delicious, I’m a big fan of this producer as regular readers know. They remain mysteriously under reported. The Champalou Vouvray 03 was a lovely sweet wine bought from a visit there, subtle sweetness, fresh and light which is how I enjoy such wines, very good. Special mention for Jean Louis Tribouley’s Gg 18, just lovely. Jean Louis is a friendly, generous man and this Grenache Gris from the Roussillon has long been a personal favourite, this is a very good example, I need to buy some more now that my version of dry January is over!
New Year and my wife’s birthday meant that some very good bottles were opened in January, I would certainly recommend all of these and hope that my comments show special bottles. February is shorter, just as gloomy but includes my birthday. Let’s see what bottles it brings.