What we've been drinking (16 October)
L.A Cetto Chenin Blanc, Mexico (unspecified vintage); Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc, South Africa 2007
Every time I drink Chenin Blanc, I tell myself I must drink more of it. I probably won’t be returning to the Mexican version I tried, though it scores highly in the novelty stakes, and would make a fantastic wine for a blind tasting. Not typical Chenin, it reminded me of lemon meringue pie, which I then couldn’t get out of my mind, so that’s as far as my tasting note goes, I’m afraid. It was nice lemon meringue pie, if not the fullest of flavours, and certainly not as good as my mum’s. There was no lack of flavour on the flagship wine of ‘Mr Chenin Blanc’, South Africa’s Ken Forrester, however. Forrester was in town as part of a large contingent of compatriots for a huge SA tasting, and hosted a dinner at the City restaurant Vivat Bacchus, which is itself under Cape ownership. The FMC is fairly heavily oaked on the nose (despite Forrester’s protestations of integration: ‘heaven forbid that oak should become part of a wine’s taste – what part of terroir is that?’ he said) but to be fair, it doesn’t show through so dominantly on the palate, which is full of tropical fruit, orange, a touch of honey and a certain nuttiness. Impressively structured, with a touch of spice on the finish, it carries the weight and depth that the Mexican version lacked and offers further proof of Forrester’s mastery of the grape. He admitted, though, that he’d never tried a Mexican version…
Managing Editor, Decanter
Baixas d’Agly, Rivesaltes 1969
There I was, sitting on the sofa on a Saturday night, half watching X Factor and trying to convince myself that the bottle of Greek white I was drinking was not oxidised (I was reluctant to admit this as I had poured a bottle of corked Gruner Veltliner down the sink just the night before). A knock at the door. An unexpected visitor: my good neighbour and friend Ian, who had dashed across the road during his dinner party bearing a glass of something he felt I must try. The first time I have tasted a Muscat of such age, and I hope not the last. This had all the warm, raisiny and dried fruit flavours you expect from a Muscat, but also an astonishing freshness, balance and acidity. The copper colour in the glass pointed to a wine of some age, but if I’d tried it blindfolded, I would never have guessed I was looking at something 40 years old. Needless to say, I couldn’t bring myself to go back to the Greek white...
Luis Alegre reserva Rioja 2005
From Rioja Alavesa. Fifteen percent Graciano gives juicy, round tannins, there's lots of meaty black fruit with definite smoky notes. Modern then, but very much Rioja. Delicious, drunk before supper with olives and the remains of a strong salami.