London Branch held its AGM at Corney & Barrow’s premises near Tower Hill. We combined the short AGM with a wine tasting of Corney & Barrow wines, followed by dinner accompanied by fine wines, making a splendid evening.
We tasted the following wines:
Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Brut NV £49.95
~Cellar-aged, this dry wine was light, refreshing, with good acidity, and most agreeable to drink.
Breaky Bottom Cuvée Koizumi Yakumo Brut Traditional Method 2010 £36.95
This English vintage sparkling wine is made from 100% Seyval Blanc, the most popular grape after Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Meunier, for sparkling wine production in England. It had a very nice interestingly complex flavour, including lemon zest and biscuit notes. The wine maker, Peter Hall, focuses on sparkling wines at his estate in Sussex. He named this wine after his great-great uncle, a travel writer from the second half of the 19th century, who is still enormously respected in Japan.
Sancerre Domaine du Nozay 2018 £20.95
The domaine is in the very north of the Sancerre region. The wine, from a single vineyard, is biodynamic. Grapefruit notes on the nose, complex mineral-driven flavours, sharp but a balanced acidity, good finish. A fine example of Sancerre.
Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spatlese Joh Jos Prum 2016 £25.95
An excellent Riesling from the Mosel region. Honeyed, floral scents. Fruit and mild mineral on the palate, clean with lightness and good acidity.
Corney & Barrow White Burgundy Maison Auvigue 2018 £14.25 AOC Macon Villages
Good value Burgundy for easy drinking, blended to Corney & Barrow’s specification. Their brochure notes: “Fresh and lightly creamy Chardonnay, with ripe stone fruit on the palate and hints of almond”.
De la Guerra Chardonnay Hyde de Villaine 2015 £46.45
The winery in the Carneros region in Napa Valley, California is formed by the de Villaine family from Burgundy – Aubert de Villaine is best known for Domaine de la Romanée Conti – and the Hyde family of Carneros. The climate is cooler and more moderate than further north in Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, with coastal mists and breezes, very suitable for cultivating Chardonnay. The grapes are selected from vines 25 years old and more, with some ageing and oak influence. Mineral, refined, concentrated and subtle.
Bourgogne Cote d’Or Rouge Vieilles Vignes Domaine Gilles Jourdan 2017 £20.95
2017 was a high yield vintage generally producing a light fresh style of red Burgundy. The generic wines from this vintage are ready to drink after two years in bottle. This wine was a superb example of an affordable wine with a jammy nose, good fruit, a lot of acidity – highly quaffable.
Corney & Barrow Company Reserve Claret Maison Sichel 2015 £13.95
Merlot-dominant with some toasted oak backing and well structured. Country Life wrote: “Better than a standard “club” claret. ..fragrant and fresh on the nose, a characteristic of the 2015 vintage, and there is good precision on the palate”. This wine got better in the glass.
Il Pino di Biserno Tenuta di Biserno 2016 £43.95
This full-bodied complex, very dark wine from the coastal area in Tuscany is a blend of the Bordeaux grapes of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. A spicy, tobacco, ripe, dark fruit nose, flavours of herbs, berry fruit, sweet spice and well integrated tannins. This wine is lovely now, and will get better over the next few years.
Hermitage Tardieu-Laurent 2011 £55.25
100% Syrah from very old vines, a wine from another talented vigneron. The nose is aromatically mineral, blackcurrant and rich spices. The palate follows through, with a long finish. Drinking now and onwards for several years. A fine wine.
For dinner, we had:
Seared fillet of plaice, potted shrimp butter
Accompanied by Montagny Bonneveaux 1er Cru Olivier Leflaive 2017
The vineyards for this elegant wine are in Meursault and Puligny Montrachet. It has a firm texture, fresh fruit and good acidity, and is drinking very well.
Breast of duck, braised cabbage, trompettes and red wine sauce
Accompanied by Château La Grave à Pomerol 2012
Mainly Merlot, some Cabernet Franc, this was an approachable, elegant light wine, although with a certain rigour, from a fruit enhanced vintage.
Berkswell with quince jelly and oatcakes
Accompanied by Corney & Barrow Sauternes 2017
This was a Sauternes with typically lovely aromas and flavours, ripe fruit and a honey finish.
Finally, coffee and petit fours.
Our thanks to Corney & Barrow, who served us some wonderful wines from their lists, and made us very welcome.