• Simon Reilly

Brilliant Burgundy + Super Spicy Syrah + Remarkable Romania = Top Tasting

After my experiences with the spittoon at the Liberty Wine tasting last week (see Spit or Swallow), it was nice to get back to a post work tasting tonight, where i could steer clear of the spittoons and just drink the wines.

Despite the warnings to avoid lunchtime and after 5pm, I arrived at a very busy tasting room at about 6pm. Well, I was warned. The location was Vinoteca in Clerkenwell for a tasting of 2014 Burgundy from Mark Haisma, Le Grappin and Jeremy Rechionne, alongside 2014 Rhone from Vincent Paris and Mark Haisma's new Romanian project, Dagon Clan.

There were about 40 wines on tasting altogether and the quality and drinkability of the wines across the board was really striking. There was no spitting out the wines tonight! As impressed as i was by the wines, I must say that the fact that the tasting glasses provided were Zalto did help things along very well. The more I try these glasses the more I am tempted to "have an accident" with my Riedels so i have an excuse to replace them all with Zaltos.

The 2014 white Burgundies

There has been a lot of talk in the last week or so of how brilliant the white Burgundy 2014s are, and on this showing it was hard to argue with that point. There was real interest here, all the whites seemed really precise, efffortless and full of life, all at once. Many of the wines took me away to thoughts of long boozy lunches where I could better take advantage of them. My favourites were:

Le Grappin, Savigny Le Beaune, 2014 - this is the ulitimate "I could drink a lot of this" wine. So juicy and full of fruit flavour but light and refreshing at the same time. I want sun, seafood and lots of this wine now!

Le Grappin, St Aubin, 2014 - this is a new parcel for Andrew Nielsen and wow does this work. Almost Meursault like on the nose. Flavours of almonds and lemon. The finish is really long and complex. Really good stuff.

Mark Haisma, Saint Romain "Combe Bazin", 2014 - Mark does two parcels of Saint Romain, this and "Le Jarron". Both were fantastic, but this was my favourite. While Le Jarron is more at the Chablis end with a tart limey finsh, the Combe Bazin is a rollercoaster of a wine. A sweet apple nose followed by a little fizz on the tongue really makes your eyes pop out. It then finishes with a fine acidity to balance things out. A really exciting wine.

The 2014 red Burgundies

Despite all the talk of the whites, its worth noting the reds are not too shabby either. Mark Haisma's reds I found particularly good. They all seemed really confident in themselves and the best had a real vibrant acidity and freshness which made them really interesting. They all felt multi-dimensional.

Mark Haisma, Bourgogne Rouge, 2014 - this is ridiculous value for a wine that costs £16 a bottle. If you blind tasted this, you'd think it was at least village level and probably double the price. A bit of body and real freshness and acidity.

Mark Haisma, Volnay, 2014 - this is also good value at £25 a bottle. Red fruits on the nose and then crystal clear blackcurrant flavour on the finish. This tastes serious, with smooth but distinct tannins supporting the fruit. Brilliant.

Mark Haisma, Gevrey Chambertin, 2014 - OK this is the last Mark Haisma wine I will mention, I promise. Really perfumed nose and the wine just looks silky and sexy. Lots of spice and tart fruit and a loooooong finish.

Jeremy Rechionne, Fixin 1er Cru, 2014 - quite jammy on the nose, soft and round. Very smooth finish which keeps going on. Really luscious wine.

The rest

Mark Haisma has a new project in Romania, and the wine making team was present to show their wines, one each of white, red and rose. I had heard about this project from Mark's informative mailing group emails and was really interested to try the wines.

The white "Clar" (pictured below) is made from a local variety Feteasca Alba, and I was impressed with the grip and minerality of it. Very interesting wine.

The red, "Jar" is made of Feteasca Neagra (60%) and Pinot Noir (40%). Really jammy, almost porty nose. A full bodied fruity mouthfull followed by a long finish. Not like anything I have had before but very enjoyable.

The rose, made of 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 75% Syrah was really quaffable. Rich nose, nice sweetness but not too sweet and a refreshing finish.

I will come clean here, I love the Northern Rhone's wines and I love Vincent Paris, so i did enjoy tasting his 2014s. I was a little underwhelmed by the "Granit 30" and the "Granit 60" was a little backward but the St joseph and the Reynale, his top cuvee, I could drink forever more. Both sensationsal wines.

The St joseph was light bodied but so spicy and peppery, I love this wine. This sits with beaujolais and loire cabernet franc as my go-to restaurant wines. They all have freshness, character and refreshing acidity at affordable prices, which is what you want in a restaurant in London.

The Reynale was an amazing wine. This was our last wine of the tasting so we had a bigger pour and the complexity just grew in the glass. A big wine but still fresh and lots of spice, pepper and tobacco flavours. A great way to finish!