I visited the Specialist Importers Trade Tasting (SITT) a few days ago. It was a large event with far too many wines on show to taste the lot, but a lovely Gevrey-Chambertin from Domaine Henri Jouan really stood out as being marvellous.
Henri-Jouan is a new domaine to me. He is based in Morey-Saint-Denis and only has 3.5 hectares of vines, and sells a quarter of his production to Drouhin, but based on this one wine alone I will make efforts to secure and drink as much as insane-person’s income allows.
The 2008 Gevrey-Chambertin aux Echezeaux was supremely attractive and stylish. It comes from a village lieux-dits right next to a Grand Cru and, as drinkers of Fourrier’s well-known bottling will know, it is a completely brilliant vineyard. This wine had all the class of a good Gevrey, with delightfully ripe fruit, a pleasing tannic structure and not a hint of any rough edges or spikiness. Small-scale and refined, it was clearly one of the most utterly lovely Gevrey-Chambertin wines I’ve had in a while. He also makes Clos Saint-Denis, a Grand Cru I have a lot of time for, and based on the style and refinement of this wine I bet it’s an absolutely corking wine.
You can get Domaine Henri Jouan from Clark Foyster Wines (Lance Foyster is shown above modelling the bottle) who have just started importing them to the UK. I feel this will be another hit Domaine for one of my very favourite small importers in England – a further enhancement to their already impressive portfolio. Clark Foyster’s website is here.
A few other wines stood out in the tasting as being good. Swig had two 2010 Damien and Romain Bouchard Chablis Premier Crus that oozed with all the class of the vintage and were already highly drinkable. Chares Taylor Wines showed another lovely Gevrey-Chambertin, the 2009 Vieilles Vignes from Rossignol-Trapet, which was highly desirable but utterly eclipsed by Lance’s offering above. Robert Moncuit’s Champagne Grand Cuvee Brut les Mesnil sur Ogier 2006 was a brilliant bottle of fizz from New Generation Wines that showed all the class of the village and just slipped down a treat. Finally Adnams had a remarkably enjoyable Sauvignon Blanc 2011, The ‘Doctors’ from Forrest Wines in New Zealand, that may not have been the most complex wine in the world, but clocking in at a mere 9.5% with a shade of residual sugar it was far less aggressive and much easier to drink than most evil filth New Zealand Sauvignon.
In the remaining sea of adequate wines three stood out as being remarkably unfortunate. The 2007 Signorello Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley was a boring, over-priced fruit bomb with a nauseatingly soupy texture. How anyone can even drink this stuff without sobbing due to the money they’ve thrown away on unpleasantness is beyond me. Egon Muller’s Kanta Riesling from the Adelaide Hills had hints of Saar aromas but mainly honked of insecticide. Violently repellent. From the Margaret River the 2009 Pierro Chardonnay was a filthy confection that was so repulsive it only reminded me of the flavour of vomit after eating too many sweets. Horrible beyond words.
Finally, I tried two of the very greatest grappas I have ever swallowed. However, the miserable sod pouring them greeted me by muttering he didn’t get where he was by giving free samples to wine-writers, where he was appearing to be paralytic and ignored in an extremely busy and popular tasting, and then refusing to let me try more than two of his offerings. Consequently, I will not tell you the name of these brilliant grappas and never recommend anyone buys anything from this rude git. What a spectacularly unsuccessful way of making friends and influencing people, and an even crapper way of getting some publicity. Arse.