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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Are you a Diposomaniac?

Or, I should ask, are you a Certified Dipso? The Certified Dipsos are a group of WSET Diploma graduates in Ireland who meet regularly meet for tastings and also organise wine trips. Tonight I attended an excellent tasting of Loire reds hosted by David Rorke and efficiently helped out, as always, by David's wife Joyce.
We started with a "red" made from 100% cabernet franc. This was the Couly-Dutheil Blanc de Franc Vin de Table 2008 - quite nice without being interesting. Then on to the real reds. An Alphonse Mellot Generation XIX Sancerre Rouge 2004 was really good, even if an expensive wine. Made from 100% pinot noir it had a good colour and pinot character on nose and palate. Next up was one of my favourite Loire reds, Eric Nicolas' Domaine de Belliviere Hommage a Louis Derre Coteaux du Loir 2002, 100% pineau d'Aunis. This is an odd wine but has great character and this sample was as good as any I've tasted before. Classic pepper and strawberry aromatics, somewhat firm on the palate but really delicious. I think I was the only one who really liked this one! Over the course of the tasting it really opened up and became the peppery red wine equivalent to a classic gruner veltliner! Then the very good Domaine de la Butte Mi-Pente Bourgueil 2004. Wonderfully ripe fruit notes, very rich and supple on the palate with some leaf characters, so typical of cabernet franc. Very well-balanced and long.
Then two together. First the Charles Joguet Les Varennes du Grand Clos Cabernet Franc de Pied Chinon 2002 (long name, what?). This was made from vines which had been planted on own-roots, but which were dug up some years ago due to phylloxera. It was good but not as good as one would have expected - savoury and slightly dry tannins. The Couly-Dutheil Clos de l'Echo Chinon 2002 was better with riper fruit and tannin balance. Then one on its own, the Chateau Pierre-Bise Sur Schistes Anjou Villages 2001 which had an excellent depth of fruit with some tannins suggesting it needed time. Very good indeed.
The next two constituted one of the best tastings I've ever had - the Couly-Dutheil Clos de l'Echo Chinon 1997 and Couly-Dutheil Clos de l'Echo Cuvee Cresendo Chinon 1997. The same vineyard but the latter getting 100% new oak maturation. I found the former to be good but with a firmness of tannin and fruit which gave the wine a lean edge. The latter had a better colour, with rounder fruit ad better balance of rounded tannin structure. These reminded me of wines tasted in Burgundy in 1994 from tank and various oaks - tank wines come out very firm and lacking a richness that oak ageing imparts. If you want to know why you use oak these two wines really show why. To be fair, the Cresendo had too much oak but was still a very good wine.
 Next up was a triplet of 1996 wines: the Chateau de Villeneuve Vieilles Vignes Saumur-Champigny 1996 - pale garnet colour and savoury with oxtail soup notes - was fully mature; the Chateau de Villeneuve Le Grand Clos Saumur-Champigny 1996 was very good - deeper colour, evolving berry fruits, clean, ripe and with a long finish - a wine with time still to go; then the Domaine des Roches Neuves Cuvee Marginale Saumur-Champigny 1996 which was very good also but just hadn't quite got the same depth of fruit as the Le Grand Clos - ready now and will keep a bit.
Then the star of the show - the really excellent Pierre-Jacques Druet Cuvee Vaumoreau Bourgueil 1990. Garnet in appearance with a complex nose of black fruits and savoury maturing notes underneath. The palate was sweet on entry,with very rich black and red fruits, supple acisity, very good weight on the middle palate, deep and round yet elegant, soft tannins on a long, clean finish. Superb balance with lots of time left to go.
Finally two vintages of the Couly-Dutheil Clos de l'Echo Chinon - the 1990 was tired: pale garnet, spicy lean red fruits on the nose, drying tannins over light red fruits on the palate; the 1989, on the other hand, was super - deeper colour, ripe black fruits still evident on the nose, a supple, rich palate with lovely long finish. Very good indeed.
All in all, an excellent tasting as it was a chance to see some very good wines, wines which would not often be seen here. Many thanks to David for organising a really super tasting.

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