Tonight’s challenge was to unleash the lurker that is loitering at the bottom of the rack, the wine that for one reason or another was forgotten about and now you are nervous to uncork whatever might be inside.
This wine was won as part of a church parish raffle, rather than the dodgy bottle of ‘mulled wine’ you might expect at such an occasion, this was properly hitting the jackpot! Chateau Rieussec 2007 Sauternes, a Sauternes Premier Cru. A lovely golden colour, orange blossom, it’s like amber nectar, absolutely delicious and paired with an unusual choice of biscuit M&M’s! This comes under the lurker category because he can never find the right time to open a sweet wine. A 75cl bottle is available from House of Townend £75
Found beneath the stairs… Santa Digna Chardonnay Reserva 2010, Chile. Let’s just say this is best drunk young and move on! Next up from beneath the stairs came the Chateau Derezla 2015, Tokaji, Hungary. This is a dry wine made in a region largely associated with beautiful, complex, age-worthy sweet wine. He wasn’t sure if this dry and moderately priced wine was going to stand the test of time having only tried it very young before but we have a success story! It is showing fantastic texture and richness and in fact has much more character than when it was younger. Tropical fruit, lovely fresh acid. Armit Wines 2011 vintage £11, 2018 vintage £12
Next up we had a problem that was to be repeated a few times – a lack of lurkers! She drinks everything that she buys, even the ones she is intending to keep! However, were she to have a lurker, it probably would have been a South African wine, but Thursday Night Club has opened her eyes to quality from all over the world and encouraged her to drink adventurously. So to celebrate this she is drinking a ‘would have been’ lurker by virtue of being South African, The Blank Bottle ‘Master of None’ 2019, South Africa. This is Pieter Walser’s answer to Cru Beaujolais and is an unusual blend with Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and a splash of Roussanne and it is light, fruity and absolutely smashable, unusual and really delicious. Philglas & Swiggot £19.50
Again, lacking a true lurker he went for a wine that is not his usual go to region; Bordeaux. Too often the beautiful ones are eye-wateringly expensive and the affordable ones are mediocre. This was a sample sent by a customer, The Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs, St Emillion 2015 and 2016. It is nice, approachable early with 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the 2015 shows fleshy raspberry and strawberry, not (yet) hugely complex but its ok, it definite has a few more years in the tank so one would hope for improvement. 2016 is fresh, red fruited, but at about £200 not what he would be looking to buy himself.
Wyncroft 2010 Riesling, Michegan. Made by a German friend in the US and they weren’t sure how this would be after 11 years. When they pulled the cork they found it was plastic which doesn’t bode well as it tends to be used for wines designed for early consumption. They took a sip and then wished they hadn’t! In an effort to up the pace they opened the Guy Wach Grand Cru Moenchberg Riesling 2007, Alsace but it smelt of nothing, the second bottle was better with some old Riesling fruit and a waxy texture, like a faint memory of what Grand Cru Riesling used to be. A trio of disappointment
Long ago, they used to rent their house out during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, a Czech racket stringer took a room and brought a bottle of Czech wine with him as a thank you. Contemplating lurkers, he had never tried the wine and figured this was the ultimate lurker (it must have been there for 20 years!) Turns out his wife had made an executive decision and cooked with it! So instead he opened the Moreau-Naudet Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 2018, Chablis. Honey and citrus with a lovely texture, it is really opening up in the glass. A thoroughly delicious wine with great concentration of fruit. Our Glass £30
Amancaya 2013, Mendoza, Argentina. This is a collaboration between Lafite and Laura Catena, it is the second wine of the estate and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Inspired by the talk of Laura Catena a few weeks ago he bought a few bottles of this, but frustratingly bought a much older vintage than he thought he had. Mature with a savoy Bordeaux character rather than the exuberant new world fruit you might expect. Farthinghoe £16
Teasing us with a few really old bottles we thought they might crack (but are being saved for the relevant birthdays) and a 1960 Bouchard Pere et Fils Musigny which had in fact already been drunk (and was sadly a bit past its best) Instead they went with the Union de Viticulture de Chablis 2018, France. This was a lurker purely because the bottle shape wouldn’t fit in the wine fridge so it was left out in the cold, or more accurately left in the warm. Lovely light lemon, lime and apple fruit with a long finish. Would be lovely with the fish they are having later but if they are honest they will likely have finished it by then. The wine was a gift.
Sutherland Riesling 2011, Elgin, South Africa. This has been in the rack a while, but its credentials suggest it should age gracefully (Riesling from a good producer in cool climate Elgin under screw cap) but this is a huge disappointment. Nothing was wrong with it, but equally nothing was particularly right. It has lost all its fruit, there is a hint of spice, and there is sweetness. Food didn’t help resuscitate it either.
Radford Dale The Thirst Gamay 2020, Stellenbosch, South Africa. In this house there is never a wine lurking, every one is diligently bought, and swiftly enjoyed. Having just done 16 days dry ‘The Thirst’ seemed an appropriate wine to enjoy. It is fantastic, perfumed, light, fresh and summery with pomegranate, raspberry with a hint of tomato leaf and spice. No oak and enjoyed slightly chilled it is an absolute delight. Take out of the fridge about an hour before you want to drink it. Gnarly Vines £14.50
A similar situation here, any lurkers I feed to my lovely boyfriend on the nights I am not drinking! So instead I went with a favourite grape from a new producer. Luna Beberide Mencia 2019, Bierzo, Spain. I love the energy of the Mencia grape and particularly like the unoaked examples as the fruit really shines through. This shows chocolate, damson, blackberry and notes of wild heather on the nose, the tannins are elegant but grippy, the palate shows velvety chocolate, purple fruit, dried wild flowers, spice and a hint of granite. There is a rusticity to the wine which is actually quite enjoyable, and it is fantastic value. The Wine Society £9.95