Up from the Cellar #6

As I mentioned in our last article this was a bit of a randomised tasting. I quite literally picked up 4 very different bottles of wine, popped, poured and tasted them. The results I must say were fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of them.

So we have two from France. One from Alsace and the other from Burgundy (both white). Then we have one from the USA from Sonoma County and the other from Chile from the Aconcagua Valley. Now I know we just did a South American Cabernet tasting but this particular wine is very different from those Cabernets.

So lets get some background on those wineries first and foremost:

Maison Hugel et Fils

Now if you do not know this name do not fear… however I will say that they are extremely well known and one of the largest and best producers of Riesling, Gewurztraminer and many other varieties in Alsace. In 1639 Hans Ulrich Hugel settled in Riquewihr and took control of the Corporation of Winegrowers. In 1672 his son built a house in Rue des Cordiers and carved the family crest over the doorway which is used in the company logo to this day.

During the 18th and 19th centuries the Hugel family became exceedingly well known for producing enviable wines. Many wars including The French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars ravaged Alsace and vineyards started to become unplantable. Frederic Emile Hugel, along with some other courageous winemakers, started replanting vines and slowly bringing the region back to its former glory. Oh did I mention they also make incredible wines that have won more awards than you could count?

Philippe Bouzereau

This is a family favourite it must be said. Philippe Bouzereau is a Domaine in the heart of Burgundy in a little town with a big name… Meursault. The Domaine has been going for several generations with each generation making their particular mark on the wines they produce. The current generation being no different.

Run by two brothers, Charles et Philippe, they have recently opened a brand new premises and have been making some of the best Meursault I have tasted for the last 5-7 years. They do also produce some outstanding reds from the region as well, notably their Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru which is in my humble opinion, epic.

La Crema Estate

Part of the Jackson Family Wine group, La Crema sits in the Russian River Valley appellation and was one of the first vineyards there to produce top quality Pinot Noir. Sonoma Coast was a big investment opportunity for this winery and that’s where the first focus was in order to create great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke purchased La Crema in 1993 with the first vintage produced in 1994.

Made in a Burgundian style, the wines from La Crema over the years have been synonymous with quality. The winery now has nurtured some of the best sites across the West Coast and continue to produce fantastic wines that are coveted all over American and the wider world. Cool Climate winemaking is where La Crema have made and continue to make great wines.

Viña Errazuriz

Don Maximiano chose the Aconcagua Valley to build and found Viña Errazuriz in 1870. During the period from 1870 to 1983 the vinyards increased to 1,300 hectares making it, at the time, the largest vineyard in the world owned by a single owner. In 1983 Eduardo Chadwick joined Errazuriz and with his vision of quality wines went to work continuing the vision and creating pure, quality wines.

In 2004 in Berlin Errazuriz truly made a name for itself. They entered a blind tasting where the competition was First Growth Bordeaux Chateau’s and Super Tuscans. Two of their wines won 1st and 2nd place and Don Maximiano (their flagship wine) was listed as one of the best ten wines in the world.

Now to the wines !

Hugel et Fils Classic Riesling 2020

Gravity fed presses with no mechanical intervention. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled barrels or vats. The wine is racked once before then being bottled in Spring of the following year.

Tasting Note – Rating 90

Petrol, orange blossom and citrus aromas. Med-full bodied with excellent citrus, white fleshed fruit and apple notes really expanding the pallet. A very gourmand wine with exceptional depth of flavour and fantastic acidity. Nice grapefruit kick towards the finish which really stays with you. This is drinking excellently at the moment and will give great pleasure for the next 3-5 years. Overall extremely happy.

Philippe Bouzereau (Chateau de Citeaux) Meursault Vieux Clos du Château 2017

This is not a hugely well-known producer (it’s one of my favourites that Dad and I found years ago) in the UK and he has a very small website so trying to find out anything about this wine is tough. So I will give you the basics. 100% Chardonnay from the Vieux Clos du Château vineyard. The grapes most likely will be pressed, fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged in oak barrels & foudres for anywhere from 8-12 months.

Tasting Note – Rating 95

This gorgeous wine sings of stone fruit, vanilla, honey and marmalade. Full bodied on the palate which smacks you with peaches, vanilla and orange. Hints of honey and citrus coming through but the stone fruits and vanilla take centre stage. Acidity just zipping through the wine creating vibrancy and liveliness. The power of this wine is unmatched with pure concentration of baked fruits. Lovely long finish and just cracking stuff if you’re an oaked Chardonnay lover. 

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2017

Once destemmed the juice is given a cold soak in chilled tanks for 3-5 days. The wine is then fermented in open top tanks. The wine was then placed in tanks to settle then racked into New and old French oak barrels to age for 8 months.

Tasting Note – Rating 94

Lovely and fruity, red berries, strawberries and redcurrants giving off fantastic aromas. Great concentration of fruit on the palate with a very smooth and luscious body. Nice integrated tannins with high acidity as well. Really happy with this wine, it sings with pure fruit and exceptional vanilla notes, the body is elegant and the finish is fantastically long. This could easily rival any village Pinot Noir from Burgundy. Top class.

Errazuriz The Blend 2016

Every vintage of The Blend is different, it has always been a reflection of the unique terroir of the Valle de Aconcagua. This blend is 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 25% Syrah. This is aged in French oak barrels (18% of which were new) for 20 months.

Tasting Note – Rating 96

Elegant and fresh the red and dark fruits are compelling and silky. Strawberries, dark cherries and plums translating excellently onto the palate with great purity of fruit. The fruit is ripe and powerful, herbaceous notes nicely lifting the wine with good freshness creates a perfect balance. Acidity still going strong and the tannins are seamless and clearly integrated within the wine. This is silky smooth with a complex body and a great structure. Beautifully fresh, elegant and a gorgeous finish. My favourite of the four wines.

So as you can see, some incredible wines here. With all of these wines tasted here they are a bit of a snapshot for all of the incredible wineries that produce them. If you take one thing away from this article it is that I implore you to seek out any of the wines produced by any of these wineries. You will absolutely not be disappointed and may even find a new wine/wines that becomes your favourite.

We’ll be back in two weeks with a rather expansive review of some great wines that were tasted at the MMD Icon Tasting in London a few weeks ago. Thank you for reading and we’ll see you soon!

Harry Vernau

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