The Elitistreview team met up with top London wine-merchants Lance Foyster and Isabelle Clark for lunch today (Franco Manca pizzas are good, but we thought the service in their Chiswick branch was woeful). Lance and Isabelle issued us with the wine they had been showing in the morning for us to sample this afternoon; we used one of these as a launch-pad for an enlightening compare and contrast session.
The Australian Pinot had been open since morning and dragged around London for a lot of the day, so we thought if we opened a Burgundy of similar age it would need serious decanting – hyper-decanting, indeed. Read on to see a video of hyper-decanting in action.
Pinot Noir ‘Woori Yallock’ 2008, Mac Forbes
This is a bright, vibrant, pale garnet colour that a grown-up Burgundy producer like de Montille would be proud of – it’ll scare off all those ‘15 points for colour’ weirdos. The aroma profile also seems like a good de Montille, or at least a classy Cote de Beaune producer’s wine: there is a lot of bright red berry fruit that is highly attractive intertwined with a good mineral tang. I admit this might not be the nec ultra plus of complex Pinot noses but is clearly up there with a serious village-level wine from someone worthy of seeking out. The palate also has post-pubescent village-level style: lovely fresh fruit, lively tannins and energetic acidity. Pretty long, too. There is a lot here to enjoy, which pleases me no end as I have met Mr Forbes and he is a lovely fellow. I like buying wine from lovely fellows.
So the narrative goes that at this point I am telling The Editor that the Mac Forbes is well up with serious village wine from a good producer. He asks if I can prove it and so I have just scoured my database to see if I have any decent Volnay or Beaune in stock. I don’t, alas, but suggest a Premier Cru from a less favoured village: Editor Daniel agrees with my suggestion and I tip the wine into the blender for a 15 second whizz. This slightly unnerving operation is termed hyper-decanting. Having allowed it to breathe with violent intensity we taste wine number 2.
Auxey-Duresses Premier Cru 2008, Comte Armand
OK, it is darker, but that doesn’t mean a tinker’s cuss. By arse the nose is highly expressive and enjoyable for a minor appellation wine. There is a brooding intensity here that adds dimension to its ravishingly fruity profile. The fruit is certainly winning, but its grown-up mineral complexity is wizard stuff. It is doing it for me in my nasal cavities. The palate has rigorous tannins, thrilling acidity and plenty of fruit charged with distinctly lewd enjoyment-value. It is quite long and rather complex as well, the mineral character really persisting with that lovely, lovely fruit deliciousness. Hyper-decanting did the business of opening this up for us to dive in and enjoy and it clearly has many years to develop and improve should you lack a blender. This is a not just a minor wine, I’m taken with it – definitely the newt’s knackers. Good job Benjamin Leroux, the winemaker, is also a lovely chap otherwise I’d feel awful about buying more of this than I did of the Woori Yallock.
These wines cost pretty much the same amount, and both delivered many mirth-fuelled chortles of jolly pleasure. However, I’m terribly sorry to say this Mr F., but M. L’s wine is just better. Mac’s maybe a hedonistic laugh-fest, but Benjamin delivers these goods as well as more complexity, age-worthiness and intellectual thrills. I wouldn’t throw either of them out of bed, though, not if I was thirsty anyway…