Wine with Francis Peel

PUBLISHED: 16:55 18 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:12 20 February 2013

Wine with Francis Peel

Wine with Francis Peel

Wine wisdom

Wine wisdom

I have been writing this column for some years, and I always thought it was just you and me involved: I wrote it and you read it. But someone has been looking over our shoulder! Even as I was writing this months copy, I received an email from Champagne Gosset (in the May magazine, I complained about having a corked bottle) saying that they were sorry that I had had a problem and would like to send me a replacement bottle. Now Champagne Gosset is the oldest champagne house and is situated in the village of Ay, just next door to Bollinger. They make ome of the finest champagnes I have ever tasted: their Grande Rserve just received Frances highest accolade, the Grappe dOr from the Guide Hachette (best wine of the year out of 36,000 tasted); their Grande Ros is constantly rated as one of the finest of all, and last night, for our wedding anniversary, my wife and I celebrated with a bottle of their vintage 1999 a dreamy combination of honeysuckle fruit and freshly baked brioche. If they are still looking over our shoulder, Im hoping for a case this time!

2009 Anne du Siecle?
In the past month, the wine worlds great and good have gathered in Bordeaux for the annual en primeur wine tasting and the general opinion is that 2009 will be a stunning vintage. A word of caution though. The lauded 2005s were wonderfully well-received at the same tasting but somewhat less so when actually bottled and many are still today worth less than was paid for them. The whole point of buying at this early stage is to purchase at a discount so what is the incentive if you gain nothing financially from doing so? Sage counsel comes from Gary Boom, Bordeaux Index founder and one of the leading experts on the futures market: "While there's no question that the 2009 en primeur presents a great investment opportunity, we urge buyers to take expert advice before buying. For every investor that makes a great return on the 2009 vintage and there will be plenty there will be many of others who follow instinct instead of advice and, unfortunately, suffer a loss."

Turning the screw
Regular readers know that if I had my way there wouldnt be a wine bottle in the world sealed with a cork and in the past month one of the trades straightest talkers has come to the same conclusion. Australian winery boss Bruce Tyrrell says screwcaps have been the greatest thing thats happened for sales of his fine wines. Sales of Tyrell's premium Semillons grew 25-30 per cent within six months of the company abandoning natural cork for metal closures. In a speech at the Fine Wine Conference in Spain, he declared with typical Aussie candour that for Semillon the slightest hint of taint on a cork will stand out like a dunny on a ridge.

Peel Estate Tasting

One of our favourite winemakers, Will Nairn, from Peel Estate in Western Australia is making his annual pilgrimage to Europe to do a tasting for us. In all the years that I have been in the wine trade I have never met anyone with a greater love for his vines than Will and it is always a delight to listen to him talk as well as taste his award-winning (Halliday 4 star) wines.
Thursday 17th June 7 pm. Tickets priced 8 can be ordered on 01785 817229, email:

An Alphabet of Wine Terms

F is for:

*First growths:
The four greatest estates of the Medoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux: Chteaux Latour, Lafite, Haut-Brion and Margaux, which were rated in the 1855 Bordeaux Classification as Premier Grand Cru Class. Four became five in the 1970s when, after much campaigning, Chteau Mouton-Rothschild was promoted from a second growth to join the elite group. Needless to say, all these wines are astonishingly expensive.

*Flying Winemaker: A winemaker who travels from one hemisphere to the other to make wine at different times of the year. The term was originally coined for Australian Winemakers who would come to Europe and the USA to make wine in September October normally the quietest time of their year as they harvest in January/February. There are now many winemakers who travel the world, sharing their expertise with others.

*Fermentation: Yeasts sometimes natural, sometimes cultured turn the natural sugars in grape juice and turn them into alcohol. Without this, grape juice would be just that.

*Free-run juice: When grapes are harvested, the initial juice that drains from the unpressed grapes is called free-run juice, and usually constitutes about two-thirds of the
total yield of juice. It is better quality than the pressed juice that is later extracted from the crushed grapes.

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